October 27, 2017

5 good reasons not to attempt your own garage door repairs

Broken Door

Your garage door isn’t performing quite as well as it once did, and it’s also making some pretty odd noises. You’re wondering why that should be, and you decide to investigate. Be careful, though! Sometimes, trying to identify the problem and fixing it yourself can be dangerous. Here are five situations that are best left to the pros.

Stretched or broken springs

The basics:

  • In your garage door, the springs work to counterbalance the door’s weight. This is true of all garage doors, regardless of size, dimensions or materials.
  • A properly balanced garage door should weigh about 8 pounds, and no more than 10. It should be easy to open using just one hand.

Causes of garage door malfunctions:

  • Torsion or extension springs typically perform properly for anywhere from five to seven years, or 10,000-12,000 cycles (a cycle being one opening, and one closing).
  • Every year, you can expect a torsion spring to lose 10% to 15% of its tension. It might seem tempting to tighten the spring to get more tension, but there’s no point in doing so. Once the spring reaches the end of its natural life, it’s bound to break, and then you’ll hear a sound like a gun going off – the spring has broken.
  • With extension springs, they’re more likely to stretch than to break. If there is a break, it’s more likely to happen in the loop at the end of the spring. Then, the spring won’t perform the way it should. The door may still open and close, but it will usually shake – that’s what makes the strange noise.
A broken TORSION spring
Stretched Extension Spring
A stretched EXTENSION spring

Worn rollers

The basics:

  • There are all kinds of rollers on the market, and they are not all created equal. If the rollers have ball bearings, then the more bearings, the longer the life of the roller.
  • Nylon rollers don’t have ball bearings. Instead, they work by means of corrosion-resistant, galvanized cylinders.
  • When it comes to double garage doors, it’s always best to use long-stemmed rollers that are installed in double hinges.

Causes of malfunctions:

  • It’s essential that the rollers roll in the tracks. If they slide, they can become damaged or break.
  • Breakage is more likely on double doors that are not equipped with double hinges and long-stem rollers at the ends.
  • Garage doors that are equipped with single rollers will wear out faster if they’re kept open. This is because of the constant weight on the rollers.
Worn Out Roller
Worn-out roller

Slack, frayed or broken lifting cables

The basics:

  • Between the spring system and the bottom of the garage door, you’ll find lifting cables. They wind around a grooved drum, and need to be properly positioned.
  • This system is under high tension, corresponding to the weight of the garage door. It’s a very bad idea to try to remove the lifting cable on your own – if this has to be done, bring in a pro who knows how to do it without getting hurt.

Causes of malfunctions:

  • A misaligned or improperly positioned drum will fray, and can result in a very dangerous situation.
  • The cable has to be the proper diameter for the weight and size of the door. Otherwise, it can break.
Broken Lifting Cable
Broken lifting cable

Misaligned horizontal tracks

The basics:

  • Metal, right-angle brackets are used to attach the tracks to the ceiling of the garage.
  • These brackets always have to be solidly attached by means of screwing them into the rafters.

Causes of malfunctions:

  • If the brackets are not properly attached, there will be vibrations whenever you open or close your garage door. This causes the tracks to go out of alignment, and the door could fall.
  • If this happens, under no circumstances should you try to fix the door on your own. Call a garage door technician right away.
Broken Door
Misaligned horizontal tracks

Stripped or broken door opener gear and sprocket

The basics:

  • Some garage door openers have plastic gear parts. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since plastic won’t rust or corrode, but if the drive chain exerts too much pressure on the plastic components, the gear in the motor can break.

Causes of malfunctions:

  • Broken springs can result in the door becoming unbalanced, and very difficult to lift by hand.
  • Not all door openers are of equal quality. Some are simply not meant to lift heavy weights, so if it sounds like your door opener is working too hard (perhaps emitting a grinding sound), you might have a broken spring.
  • If this occurs, you’ll have to pull down on the emergency cord and open the door manually.
  • Some low-quality door openers are not made to lift heavy weights. If you hear a grinding sound coming from your door opener, like it is working hard, check that you don’t have a broken spring.
Worn Out Gear
A door opener gear that needs to be replaced

The Final Word

Garage door repairs are almost always best left to the pros – it’s simply not sensible to risk your safety. If you need garage door repairs, contact us anytime at 705-721-7909.

If your garage door opener needs to be changed, we’ll be happy to come to your home and explain the products that are available to you. If you need a quotation by email, we can do that as well. And if your garage door needs to be replaced, you can get a good idea of what it will look like by using our design center. Our image gallery is also a great source of inspiration.

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