Garage Door Repairs : A Practical Guide

garagedoorGarage doors are built for a lifetime, perhaps even more, depending on the materials used and the sturdiness of their construction. However, there are some instances when garage door repairs are needed, such as when you buy a used home that has a malfunctioning garage door, or if you bought a second-hand garage door.

Of course, you can always buy a brand new door, but that will cost you several thousand bucks. Why part with your hard-earned cash if you can do something that costs way, way cheaper? Besides, garage door repairs, when done on your own, not only saves cash, but saves the environment as well. Imagine reusing a 300-pound door instead of dumping it away? Green living enthusiasts will love you for it and so would Mother Earth.

But how would you know if you should decide to take on the garage door repairs all on your own or if you need to call an expert?  The answer, of course, will depend on the extent of the damage and your confidence on your own ability when it comes to tasks involving garage door repairs. The general advice when it comes to addressing issues with garage doors is to keep a habit to always inspect it and its components, repair simple issues if you can, and if the situation calls for it, contact an expert.


Garage Door Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting garage doors becomes easier if you know the type you have. Here’s an article that discusses these doors in detail. As with any other product, these doors have their particular strengths and weaknesses. Some doors are designed with extension springs while others make use of torsion springs.

But one thing remains the same, whatever type of door you have, no matter how durable or well-constructed it is – it won’t last forever. There will come a time when your door won’t function as it should. If you want to keep your home safe and secure at all times, inspect your garage door regularly and if necessary, do repairs immediately.

But how do you do it? It is important to have, at the least, a basic knowledge about garage door repairs. You can start by educating yourself about the  common issues as well as some tips on how to perform basic garage door repairs.


The Most Common Garage Door Issues

Never ignore your door when it squeaks or makes scraping sounds because these are initial signs that something’s wrong with your door. Many expensive garage door repairs started with minor issues such as squeaky door which was simply ignored. Unattended, your door’s torsion spring may just snap at the most inopportune times, like when your car is entering or exiting or worse, when your pet or child suddenly crosses under it. Can you imagine how much damage a 300-pound object that suddenly lost control can do to your car, pet or child?

To avoid such accidents, it is best to repair your garage door at the first sign of malfunction. Remember though, that there’s a limit to what a DIYer can do. For you and your family’s safety and security, we suggest that you call in an expert when you need garage doors repair that involve torsion springs.


When garage door won’t open

When a garage door wont open, it is usually caused by a bent track or a broken torsion spring. If you have a bent track, all you have to do is straighten or adjust it. If this doesn’t work, it will be best to replace it. You can check DIY sites on how to fix garage door issues like this. But, if what you have is a broken torsion spring, it’s time to call the experts. Unless, of course, as previously mentioned, you have what it takes to replace it. However, do not overlook the possibility that the real problem is in the control system. In such cases, the process of troubleshooting should start with the most obvious components such as malfunctioning garage door keypads as shown in this page.

When garage door spring broke

If this is your case, the first thing to do is to identify the type of spring you have. Are they extension springs or torsion springs? The first type runs along both sides of your garage door while the second type is located overhead. Their use depends on the design of your garage door.

Next, you have to replace those springs; otherwise, your door won’t be able to function. Extension springs are easier to deal with if you have the right tools and skills. Here’s a good article that teaches you how to replace extension springs. But no matter how good a DIYer you are, replacing torsion springs can be a tough act to handle. Not to mention that replacing this type of springs can threaten your safety. Thousands of accidents have already been linked to this task. So if your problems stem from torsion springs, we recommend that you hire an expert.

Having second thoughts about hiring an expert? Think of it this way- spending a hundred dollars for repair fees is more economical and far wiser. Plus, it gives you the peace of mind that comes with the knowledge that you’re far from being hit by springs that might even render you unconsciousness, necessitating costly hospitalization and medications.

When door makes squeaking sounds

A squeaky door may not threaten your safety, but it may threaten your sanity. Just imagine hearing that teeth-grinding sound each time you have to use your door! This ear-piercing sound is usually caused by clogged or dirty rollers. You can easily solve this by cleaning those rollers with strong dishwashing liquid or any dirt-dissolving substance. For best results, apply some lubricant to the rollers after cleaning.

brokengaragedoorWhen door doesn’t close completely

There are three things to check when this happens: the spring, the cable and the pulleys. Did you hear a loud, banging sound just before you had difficulty in operating your door? Chances are, the torsion spring is broken. Or maybe the cable doesn’t move as it should? Check the pulley – something might be blocking the cable from passing through. But, if that pulley already looks worn out, it’ll need a replacement.

When door makes a scraping sound

That eerie, scraping sound that you hear might be caused by tilted end bearing plates. You can remedy this by replacing the bearing and filing the shaft. It can also be due to wrong alignment of the reinforcing strut. If this is the case, you have to even out their spacing on the sections. It’s also recommended to check the cable pulleys, as they might have already weakened from frequent use over a long period of time. Or the culprit might be a worn-out torsion spring or extension spring. For this, as we’ve mentioned earlier, you’ll need a pro, just to keep on the safe side.

Garage door opener is having a hard time lifting

Actually, it’s not the garage door opener that does the lifting, but the torsion or extension springs. These are designed to lift as much as 300 pounds. No wonder they’re called the workhorses of garage doors. So if the opener seems to have a difficult time, check your springs because they might be broken. It will require more complicated garage door repairs thus, setting an appointment with a professional who can do the job safely is necessary.


Should You DIY?

garagedoorrepairtoolsYour capability to successfully perform garage door repairs depends on four factors:

  1. The model and brand of your garage door. Although garage doors serve the same purpose, each of them has distinct features that are unique to a specific brand or model. Knowing these data will make it easier for you when the time comes that you need to buy garage door parts. You’ll be skipping the tedious process of measuring and recording.
  2. The condition of your garage door. How does your door look like? Does it bend on one side? Does it fail to close completely? Or garage door won t open? List down your observation and search the net for troubleshooting tips. You might be surprised to know that some of the most common garage door repairs involve nothing more than the simple task of tightening or realigning the brackets or hinges.
  3. Your available tools. Basically, the tools needed for garage door repairs are the common ones found in a DIYer’s arsenal – electric drill, different types and sizes of wrenches, tape measure, screwdrivers and hammer. In some cases, a hacksaw, stud finder or wire stripper may come in handy. Do you have all these?
  4. Your skill set and experience. Are you adept at handling the tools mentioned above? Have you tried and successfully completed any task related to garage door repairs in the past? If not, then we suggest that you hire a pro, observe or better yet, jot down the steps as he repairs your door.


Where should you buy garage door repair parts?

Once you’ve identified the reason for your door’s malfunction, and if you believe that you can do garage door repairs efficiently and safely, your next step is to buy replacement parts. Where should you buy these?

You can always buy from the nearest store in your area, but that might limit your choices. Our suggestion is to search the World Wide Web first and compare products and prices. It is ideal to look for and print out a reference from a trustworthy Garage Door Parts Guide website. You might also want to check out product reviews so that you can get honest opinions from actual users. Such reviews allow you to learn not only the pros but also the cons of the product you are searching for. They also offer valuable tips and advice on how to repair or prolong the life of your garage door. With the prices of garage doors going nowhere but up, repairing and maintaining your existing door is indeed, a very wise idea.