How to Know When You Need Garage Door RepairNovember 13, 2018
Garage doors are some of the most important fixtures of a home — so important, in fact, that 70% of Americans use them more often than their front doors. When these doors stop working, it’s a major inconvenience, so most of us call for a technician to repair them right away.
However, when our garage doors experience more minor trouble, such as odd noises or slower operation, we tend to tolerate these problems for long periods of time. But these issues are often warning signs of more serious garage door problems. Read our guide below to learn about the many minor issues that can occur with garages doors, the serious issues they may lead to, and why they should be dealt with as soon as possible.
If you’ve noticed that your garage door is making more noise than usual, this is a sign that it needs repair. If you can’t pinpoint the source of the noise, walk around looking for broken hinges, cracked rollers, rusty springs, broken door panels, or anything else that looks out of the ordinary. If you don’t notice anything wrong, the nature of the sound may give you a hint:
- Rattling and shaking. If you hear rattles or shakes while opening or closing your door, this often means the nuts and bolts have come loose. Also inspect the tracks for any warping, as this makes it difficult for the rollers to travel.
- Squeaking and squealing. Garage doors consist of many metal parts. If some of these become damaged, you may start to hear some unpleasant, high-pitched sounds. One of the most common sources of these noises is the hinges, which must be well-lubricated to function properly.
- Grinding. If you’re hearing groaning or grinding, this may mean your door is misaligned. Examine the panels to see if they’re damaged or uneven. Also check the rollers, which may be dragging across the tracks, and the hinges, which can cause the panels to shift and fall from the track.
- Banging. If your garage door makes a deafening sound every time it makes contact with the ground, this could indicate a number of problems. The first potential issue could be with the weather stripping. If it’s not in good condition, this can be easily replaced. Another potential source of banging is the door springs. Sometimes they will become less tense over time, causing the door to slam when closed.
- Clinking. If you’ve noticed this sound when your door is opening or closing, it may mean the springs are rubbing against one another. As garages are often humid and cool, the springs may rust over time. However, clinking could also be a sign of an even more serious issue: your rollers are about to fall off.
Even if you do find the source of the noise, it is not recommended that you tackle old garage door repairs yourself. This can be dangerous. Instead, have your door repaired by a qualified technician.
Not Opening or Closing
If your door refuses to open or close, this could mean a number of problems. The most common issues are:
1. Something’s Blocking Your Photo Eye
The majority of garage doors manufactured in the last 15 to 20 years feature a photo eye that senses when a person or object is blocking a door from closing completely. Most photos eyes are located 4 to 6 inches above the ground, and the eye is no bigger than a pea. It projects a laser across the garage’s width that, if interrupted, will cause the door to stop closing or opening. Make sure nothing is blocking this laser.
You should also inspect the cord attached to the photo eye, as it may be damaged. Dirt and dust can also accumulate on the eye and block the laser beam, so if the eye looks dirty, clean it thoroughly with a tissue.
2. The Power Source Has Been Disrupted
Although it may be hard to believe, this does sometimes happen. Sometimes people will unintentionally unplug the power source and never realize why their garage door stopped working. In other cases, the power source will be connected but the outlet isn’t working, so make sure to test your outlet by plugging in another functioning electronic device. It’s also worth it to inspect your fuse, circuit breaker or GFCI.
3. Your Torsion Springs Broke
Did you hear a gunshot-like “boom” right before your garage door stopped working? If so, it probably means your torsions springs snapped. Springs are only designed to last for so many cycles and tend to be the first component of your garage door that breaks. Broken springs are the most common reason for garage door repairs.
If you notice that one of your springs has broken, do not attempt to replace it yourself. Leave this job to an experienced professional with the right tools.
4. Your Cables Are Disengaged
Sometimes, if a torsion spring snaps, the cable will break as well. This can damage vehicles and walls and it can cause serious injury to any person who happens to be nearby.
5. The Sensitivity Needs to Be Adjusted
This can be a problem for both new and old garage doors. If the sensitivity is not properly adjusted, you will not be able to open your door. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions to learn how to reset the sensitivity.
6. The Remote Isn’t Working
Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with your door at all and it’s the remote that’s the problem. Below are the common remote-related issues:
- Antenna. The motor’s antenna might be broken or blocked from receiving a signal. It should be hanging down below the motor.
- Dead battery. If your door is still opening when using the wall switch, changing the battery should solve your problem.
- Out of range. Your remote might just be too far from the door.
If none of these are the case, you should try to reprogram your remote.
7. The Limit Settings Are Off
If you find your door popping open immediately after it closes, you should inspect your limit settings. Limit settings help determine how far the door should be moved for it to close properly. If the settings are not correct, the door will make contact with the ground before the mechanism thinks it should. It will “think” it hit an obstacle and reverse automatically to avoid damage.
Read the manufacturer’s instructions or the buttons found on the motor to change the limit settings. Finding the right settings may require some trial and error:
- Get up on a ladder and locate the knob for the limit switch. Sometimes they have the labels “up” and “down.”
- If your door won’t close completely, adjust it down. If it isn’t raising, adjust it up. For most models, a full turn of your screw is equivalent to around two inches of movement up or down.
- Don’t make large adjustments. If you overdo it, you might end up slamming the door.
8. The Door Came Off the Track
If the door isn’t on the track, it won’t be able to slide. Check the following:
- Look to see if the door is able to roll smoothly along the track.
- See if there are any bumps, bends or gaps on the track.
- See if the door seems to slow down at any point along the track. If it does, you’ll know which part is misaligned.
9. There’s an Obstacle
As a safety feature, when garage doors hit an obstacle, they automatically reverse. If your door mysteriously stops and reverses halfway down, this could mean there is an obstacle in its path. Inspect the track for dirt, rocks, trash and other things that could prevent the door from traveling smoothly. Dislodge any potential obstacles by wiping them down.
10. The Disconnect Switch Has Been Activated
All garage doors come with disconnect mechanisms, which can come in the form of a switch, knob or cord. They allow you to open and close the door manually if the power goes out. Make sure the motor didn’t accidentally get disconnected.
11. The Motor Is Locked
If you hear the motor running but the door doesn’t move an inch, this may mean the motor is locked. Make sure no metal parts have slid down. If they have, find the locking knob and unlock it.
Your Garage Door Is Slow
There are many reasons why your garage door may be opening or closing too slowly. Below are the three biggest ones:
- It’s old. If you’ve had your garage door for a long time, your torsion springs may be wearing out or not working as well as they used to. This may be a good time to have your door replaced completely.
- It’s just programmed that way. Sometimes garage door openers are programmed to operate more slowly for safety reasons. Look through the owner’s manual to find out if there’s a safe, easy method for setting your opener to a faster speed. If it seems difficult or dangerous, call a professional to do the job instead.
- It needs more lubrication. You should lubricate all moving parts, including the track, rollers and hinges, even if your garage door is moving normally. When your system is well-lubricated, it should be able to open and close more smoothly and your opener and other components will last longer and be less likely to break down. When lubricating, make sure not to use WD-40. This can ruin the grease that your garage door requires to work properly. Use a lithium- or silicone-based grease spray instead.
- It’s too cold in the garage. If your garage door began to slow during the colder months of the year, it may be the cold that is affecting its speed. If your garage isn’t insulated, it may have been so frigid that the system couldn’t operate optimally, even when everything was well-maintained and working perfectly before. If this happens, consider insulating your garage before next winter.
If you cannot make your door run faster using the above methods, you should have it inspected by a professional. While a slow garage door may only be a minor inconvenience for most people, it should still be inspected, as it may foreshadow more serious problems to come.
You Want to Increase Your Home’s Value or Sell
Repairing your garage door has more benefits than simply having a working garage door. Since front-facing garage doors can comprise up to 20% of your home’s exterior, an attractive door can significantly boost the curb appeal of your home. According to a report conducted by the National Association of Realtors, homeowners who underwent garage door replacements reported an average satisfaction rating of 9.4 out of 10.
A new garage door offers many opportunities to add more visual interest. For instance, you can:
- Match the color scheme of the rest of your home to achieve a more cohesive look.
- Choose bold colors for your door, which can make a statement.
- Select a distinctive panel style that matches your home’s overall aesthetic.
Damaged or Rotting Panels
Another issue garage door owners face is damaged or rotting panels. While other garage door components are inside and more sheltered from the elements, the panels are on the door’s exterior, which makes them more susceptible to various types of damage.
While over 50% of the damage they experience is a result of general wear and tear, panels can also get damaged by high winds and sunlight, which may cause cracking, warping and decay. Panels can also get dented from vehicle contact or the wrong end of sports equipment. If your panels are damaged, it is critical that you get them repaired as soon as possible.
Damaged garage door panels don’t simply make your home’s exterior less attractive — they can also make your home more vulnerable to the following dangers:
- Theft. When your panels begin to rot, they become easier to break and burglars can more easily gain access.
- Animal break-ins. A rotting garage door won’t just invite human intruders. Animals may find it attractive too, especially if there is food stored in the garage.
Let Us Get Your Garage Door Back Up and Running
If you own a residence or business in or around Houston, come to Halo Overhead Doors for all of your garage door repair needs. We are a family-owned business that has been proudly serving the greater Houston area since 1991. From frayed cables to malfunctioning photosensors, our experienced team can fix virtually any garage door issue.
To schedule a repair, call us at (281) 783-3338 or fill out our online form. Our highly skilled technicians will arrive promptly, assess your problem, and get your door up and running again in little time.
If you’re looking to replace your door completely, we can also help you find a door that suits the style of your home and your personal tastes. Our doors come in, or incorporate, a variety of build materials — including wood, aluminum, steel and glass — and we sell only the most respected brands in the industry.
In addition to garage door repairs, we also provide sales, maintenance and installation services. Our teams are trained to get the job done in a timely manner and to achieve the 100% satisfaction of our customers.