When a garage door stops opening, it can be annoying (to say the least). But if you’re lucky, the problem is easily fixed.
Examine the vertical sections of your garage door tracks to look for crimps, folds or dents. Standing on a ladder, you can often use a hammer and block of wood to pound out serious dents.
Check the Springs
Your garage door has springs that play a critical role in opening and closing. They are located above the door and work in tandem with cables to counterbalance its weight. The springs store energy when they are retracted and release that energy when they are extended. Over time, these springs can tap out and need to be replaced.
You can tell if your springs are starting to tap out by manually lifting the garage door. If you lift it to waist height and it stays firmly in place without drifting downward as soon as you release it, then your springs are fine. However, if the garage door drifts downward as soon as you release it, then the springs are no longer holding a charge and are heading for failure.
The torsion springs are the most important components in your garage door. They are the large springs that run above the garage door and help to counterbalance its weight. If the torsion springs start to go bad, you will likely hear loud bangs when you operate your garage door. You will also notice that the garage door moves slower than normal and may even sag.
Over time, the hinges that connect the garage door to the track can become loose or misaligned. This can also cause the tension on the spring to become uneven. If the hinges are misaligned, you can usually correct the problem by re-aligning them.
If the springs in your garage door are starting to wear out, you should contact a professional right away. Attempting to replace the springs yourself can be very dangerous and could result in injury. If the springs snap while the garage door is in operation, it can slam down on your vehicle or cause harm to someone else.
If you are considering doing a DIY spring replacement, you should make sure that the path of the garage door from the bottom to the floor is clear and free of any objects or obstructions. You should also make sure that everyone in your home is aware of the potential dangers and that they stay away from the garage door while it is in the up position.
Check the Cables
The cables that align with each tension spring are responsible for a good portion of your garage door’s weight. When they break your garage door will no longer be able to lift itself. The weight of the door will shift to the bottom track and cause it to sag. This will make the door extremely hard to lift and may even cause the tracks to bend or warp putting additional stress on the cable.
It’s important to check the cables regularly for fraying and kinks just as you do with the springs. This is because they are under the most stress for the longest period of time. Also be sure to clean them from dirt and other debris that can cause them to become weakened. It’s also a good idea to inspect the drum that they wrap around for cracks and other issues.
While you’re checking the cables, it’s also a good idea to ensure that they are evenly stretched. One of the biggest reasons a garage door cable will break is due to uneven tension on each side. This can be caused by installers not ensuring that the cable drums are set at the same level. This can lead to one side of the cable being tighter than the other and eventually unwrapping from the drum.
The cables can also be broken if the torsion springs fail. This puts a lot of strain on the cables and they can easily snap as a result. If the cables break with the door in the open position it could come crashing down and damage your vehicle, furniture or other items stored in the garage. This is why it’s best to leave the repair of a snapped cable to a professional. They can quickly and safely replace the cable for you. In some cases it’s also a good idea to install a second extension spring as this will balance the tension on each side of the door and prevent the first cable from breaking. This is something we often recommend to our customers.
Check the Tracks
The garage door’s tracks are often overlooked and can cause big problems when they are not in good shape. When the track is damaged or misaligned, it will create a rubbing point that can cause the door to get stuck or not open and close at all. You may also hear a loud squeal each time it hits this spot.
The good news is that you can easily correct this by adjusting the tracks. You’ll need a few tools to do so: a screwdriver (or wrench) loosen the bolts that hold each track bracket, then move it left or right until there is about a 1/4 inch gap between the track and your garage door stop molding. Once you’ve got the track in the correct position, tighten the screws and check its positioning with a spirit level.
If you find that one of the tracks is significantly lower than the other, loosen the bolts again and adjust it so that both of the tracks are equidistant from the wall of your garage. This is the easiest adjustment that you can make to your garage door. Just be sure that the door is down when you do this work and never try to work on the tracks while they are still up!
It’s not uncommon for the metal tracks that your garage door runs on to get knocked out of alignment. This can be the result of accidents or even just normal wear and tear. Sometimes a large object like a bicycle or car can hit the track, and if the impact is severe enough, it could break the rails in several places or even bend them. Fortunately, this is something that you can easily fix yourself by loosening the bolts and then tapping the track back into place with a hammer or rubber mallet. This should only take a few minutes and will restore the proper alignment of your garage door. Once it’s in the right position, tighten the bolts and check that your garage door is working correctly. Hopefully, this will help you avoid costly repairs in the future.
Check the Motor
The garage door motor is essentially the brains of the entire system. Just like a healthy human brain, it regulates everything from opening and closing to power settings and coded remotes. If the motor isn’t working properly, it can cause the system to malfunction. This is why it’s important to perform a basic inspection of the major parts.
If the motor isn’t turning on when you press your interior wall-mounted switch or remote control, check to make sure it isn’t simply out of battery power. You can also check to see if the photo-eye sensors are blocked, which will prevent the door from shutting. Simply cleaning the lenses on these sensors can help.
In some cases, you may be able to fix this problem by resetting the circuit breaker or fuse that powers the opener switch. Occasionally, the wires that connect this switch to the opener itself can become damaged. This is often due to pest infestation, weather conditions or simply age and wear. Replacing these wires is a quick and easy project that can get your garage door up and running again in no time.
You might notice that your garage door opens and closes much more slowly than usual. This is an indicator that the tracks and rollers aren’t in great shape. You can use a brush to clean the tracks and rollers and lubricate them to restore their movement. This can keep them from getting worn down or rusting faster and slowing the movement of the door.
You can also replace the pulley cables if they’re frayed or worn out. To do this, you’ll need to loosen the bolt that holds the pulley with a wrench and let it drape down. Then, untwist the safety cable and remove the bolt. You can then slide the new bolt through the pulley and tighten it with a wrench. You can also replace the extension springs, which are usually color-coded by tension level. You can find a replacement online or at your local hardware store. Just make sure you are replacing the old extension springs with the same level of strength as the originals.