Troubleshooting A Faulty Garage Door

Posted on: 11 September 2015

The moderate temperatures of autumn offer the perfect opportunity to address exterior home improvement projects. And temperamental garage doors certainly qualify. If your garage door is noisy, won't open, or otherwise looks or performs badly, now is the time to make those repairs. The trick is finding out exactly what's causing your problem. If you're ready to conquer this project on your own, familiarize yourself with the most common garage door problems.

Your Garage Door Shimmies 

A vibration or shimmy is typically the result of dirt or debris building up on the tracks. But it could be something so simple as an object impeding the door's movement. First, check to make sure nothing has fallen into or is leaning against the garage-door track. If nothing is causing an obstruction, then you likely have debris. If so, it's an easy fix. Simply clean the tracks using a brush and mild detergent and then apply a simple spray lubricant. In many cases, this will fix a garage door that shimmies more than usual. If not, then you may have a more serious problem that requires calling in a professional. 

The Door Won't Open or Close

A stuck garage door -- especially one that's jammed open -- is an invitation to intruders and wildlife alike. It may also allow precious heat or cooled air to escape from your home. This is one repair that needs your attention right away. The first task is to check that your garage door opener is working properly. Try changing out the batteries and cleaning the sensor. If these are fine, try to raise or lower the door manually. This should help you find any obstructions that could be blocking the path. If you can't find a glaring issue, it's time to call a service person to take a look. Your door could be hanging unevenly for an unknown reason. 

Your Garage Door Descends Too Quickly

This problem poses a severe safety hazard to children and pets, considering many garage doors are quite heavy. It's likely due to a faulty or broken garage door spring or even a broken cable. Both of these issues can be a dangerous chore to fix. So if your garage door suddenly decides it wants to crash down instead of gliding gently into place, call a repair person right away. Only a professional should try to replace broken garage door springs or cables. 

The Door is Suddenly Noisy

While they're rarely silent to operate, your garage door should never sound especially squeaky or loud. If yours is suddenly given to loud squealing, incessant grinding or another unfamiliar noise, it's time to take a look. Again, this is likely a problem that's related to how well the tracks are operating. Check for obstructions, a build-up of dirt or leaves, or anything else that could be caught up in the tracks or around the wheels. Cleaning and lubrication are in order in this instance as well. One or the other will likely fix your problem of a garage door that makes too much noise. 

The cost of allowing a faulty garage door to linger is more than you can afford, says the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. According to the CPSC, garage door injuries account for at least 20,000 emergency room visits annually. While these are mostly hand- and finger-related, a small percentage are caused by entrapment. And these are the ones that can result in death, especially in children. Take care when maintaining your garage doors that they're inspected regularly and that children aren't permitted to play with garage door openers. And when faced with a tough repair that's beyond your own skill set, don't delay in calling on the help of a professional in garage door repair.  You can also go to sites like the one linked to in this sentence to get assistance with your garage door repair.