Every Garage Door Problem Ever

Garage door repair is something no one really thinks about if they don’t have to. Your garage just quietly (well, relatively quietly) does its job faithfully so much that you take it for granted. When it finally needs some attention, you are sometimes left not knowing exactly what the problem is. A consequence of not putting much thought into our garage doors is the fact that we often miss opportunities to prevent or mitigate damage by performing some regular maintenance. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!” is an old saying for a reason; it is true. With today’s blog post, we will go over the major components of a typical garage door system. This is primarily applying to residential garage doors since some commercial garage doors may use different components.

Panel

The garage door panel is a part of the actual “door”. In the past, most garage doors were either one very large panel, or two carriage styled doors that swung open horizontally.

There are some disadvantages to these setups, namely the weight of these doors is all supported by few hinges, and the doors need a wide clearance in order to fully open. The single door also meant you could not save money on repair. If there was something seriously wrong with the door, you were better off just replacing the entire door at full cost. With a sectional garage door, you can replace any single panel that is damaged, saving you lots of money. However, a general rule of thumb is that the replacement of two panels is almost equivalent to getting a new garage door.

One thing you will have to do is make sure the color and finish of the new panel is a perfect match with the existing panels. Even if you get the color right, the “luster” of the door may clash. You can try polishing the old panels so they look shiny and new again. You can also just repaint the old panels.

Garage door panel replacement is not the easiest thing in the world to do. The bottom panel is connected to the spring system, so there is some added mechanical complexity that needs to be addressed. If you do not handle that properly, at best you may have a door that does not close all the way, and at worst you may have a dangerous situation due to the spring snapping or coming loose.

  • buckling or sagging of the panel (length of panel dictates need for extra support)
  • dents
  • corrosion of metal panel

Track

The garage door track is where the rollers go in a garage door assembly. Once the door is in motion, the track is what guides the rollers. If the track is in some way warped in its shape or its pathway obstructed, normal use of the garage door will be in jeopardy.

Modern steel garage door tracks are galvanized to protect them from corrosion. Your typical vertical garage door track will be six feet, four inches high but some are taller. They tend to get taller in one-foot increments. There are three widths of track that are common: one, two, and three inches. The one-inch width door track is usually used in doors for tractor trailers, while the two-inch door track is the more common residential garage door track. Three-inch width garage door tracks are for larger residential garage doors and commercial garage doors. The steel of the tracks has been getting thinner over the years with improvements in manufacturing technology. In the past, it was common for every garage door manufacturer to make their own garage door tracks. Today, only a handful of companies do that. Regardless of the make of your garage door, your tracks probably came from Arrow Tru-Line, Napoleon, Raynor, Overhead Door or Wayne Dalton.

Garage door tracks keep a little more complicated; there are multiple garage door track lift types! There are three common lift types: standard, high and vertical. The standard door track is about 6 feet, 4 inches tall where it then curves into a horizontal direction. This allows for the door to be moved up and away from the garage doorway.

So what are the reasons you might need to repair garage door tracks? Garage door tracks don’t seem to fail on their own very often. Really it seems something else goes wrong and then impacts the garage door track. Here are a few common garage door track problems:

  • damaged rollers
  • corrosion of the galvanized metal (road salt, moist environment, etc.)
  • collision-based dents damage (vehicles, forklifts, etc.)
  • metal fatigue of the horizontal portion of the track (heavyweight doors)
  • broken cable causing sideways movement and bending of track

Spring

The garage door spring is an incredibly important component. It bears the weight of the garage door and assists either a person or the automatic opener with moving a heavy door up and down in a safe and controlled manner. Because of this, the garage door spring is always to be seen as potentially dangerous. Amateurs should not attempt to replace garage door springs. A mishap with a spring that is under tension can even be fatal. Call your local Los Angeles garage door spring repair experts for assistance!

There are three common garage door spring types: “Torquemaster”, torsion and extension.

Wayne Dalton manufactures the Torquemaster brand of garage door springs. These springs are encased in a tube and use torsion for the action. The older version of the Torquemaster can be wound and unwound with a power drill. Both Torquemaster and torsion springs are mounted above the door. Extension springs are mounted above the horizontal portion of the garage door track.

How to choose a Torquemaster spring:

  1. Determine spring style (there are two styles of these springs)
  2. Door height (if your door is between 6.5 and 7.5 feet, choose a 7-foot spring)
  3. Door weight (you can use a bathroom scale)
  4. Torquemaster upgrade kit (old style parts are not always available)
  5. How to choose a torsion spring:
  6. Identify inner diameter (measure or see it printed on the spring)
  7. Determine spring wind direction
  8. Determine wire size
  9. Measure the entire unwound length of spring, round up to the next whole number
  10. How to choose an extension spring:
  11. Door height (if your door is between 6.5 and 7.5 feet, choose a 7-foot spring)
  12. Door weight (you can use a bathroom scale)

Verify the proper color; extension springs are color coded:

  • Blue > 40, 140, 240
  • Red > 50, 150, 250
  • Brown > 60, 160, 260
  • Orange > 70, 170, 270
  • Gold > 80, 180, 280
  • Light Blue > 90, 190, 290
  • Tan > 100, 200, 300
  • White > 110, 220, 320
  • Yellow > 130, 230, 330

It is not hard to know when you need a new spring since they tend to just break. If you know how many cycles your spring is rated for, you can have a good guess when it is time to change the spring before letting it break. Many springs will give you a good decade of use. Check each spring’s information to be sure.

Cable

These fairly thick and strong metal cables run through the garage door assembly, keeping certain parts together, and in the case of the garage door spring, the cable prevents a broken spring from jumping out of place. The different types of garage door springs mean your garage will also have a matching cable to go along with them. Torsion springs have a loop at one end and a crimp at the other. Extension springs have a cable running through the center of them. The cables go through a pulley system and into a drum. They are constantly being wound and unwound.

So what can malfunction with garage door cables? If they become wound up the wrong way in the drum, the garage door will catch and get stuck, most likely. The pulleys may be worn as well. Old age may simply cause the cable to snap one day. You may even notice it becoming frayed. It is best for you to just take care of that before the cable breaks.

Garage door cables are purchased according to the weight of the door and the length of the cable. Heavy garage doors, especially wooden doors, will need thicker cables. Torsion springs will require shorter cables. The extension system involves two springs along each side of the door, so a cable is needed to run the entire distance between the two springs.

Make sure you inspect the cables periodically. If you do notice the cable is frayed, inspect its path. You will probably be able to identify what is causing the damage.

Opener

The garage door opener is the kind of thing that can go wrong for a multitude of reasons. Some of the some of those reasons are external, others are contained within the device itself. You will have to watch out for all kinds of things that can make your opener perform less optimally or just not perform at all. The opener is the part of a garage door assembly that has the most complicated parts. It is a combination of motor and computer that needs to operate the same way in changing weather. Weather may not be such a big deal for LA garage door opener maintenance, but elsewhere, the weather can really beat up the device.

There are some painfully obvious things that go wrong with garage door openers. Like any electronic device, you first must eliminate the user as the source of the problem when troubleshooting. Sometimes the batteries in the remote are dead, or the device is not plugged into a power source. You should always begin by testing to see if the controller on the wall works, and then if the remote the homeowner uses works. If the wall controls work, then you know you have a remote problem. If this is the case, replacing batteries, changing frequencies, syncing, or just replacing the remote unit are the likely solutions and any homeowner can perform that by themselves.

Other times the sensor eyes are either dirty, damaged, or are not aligned properly. Since 1993, any garage door opener will have a safety feature that does not allow the garage door to close if there is an obstruction in its path. It achieves this by having two sensors, one at each end of the garage doorway, that send a beam of light that must remain unbroken. If the sensors are not lined up, this will also prevent the closing of the garage door. If the door opens as usual, but stops a little before it is fully closed, the sensors are probably your problem. It is also very likely that you can fix the sensors on your own if nothing is majorly damaged.

If your garage door closes and then eases back up a bit, it could be the limiter of the opener is poorly adjusted.  This is another fix that is relatively easy to do since trial and error will get it done.

If you notice the door is not budging at all while the motor is running, maybe the disconnect switch was enabled? If so, just reattach the motor to the door and the problem is solved!

Manually locking the garage door will of course cause the opener to not be able to open your door for you. You have to check to see if it is locked with a key. If this is the issue, you will probably notice the motor shutting off after a brief run-time.

Your garage door springs or cables may be broken. The spring is the real workhorse, so when it is no longer helping to move the weight of the garage door, the motor will not be able to move it on its own.

That’s All, Folks!

So we have covered all the major components of a garage door and some of the most common ways those parts can go wrong. Many of these problems can be fixed by you, but there is no shame in getting some professional help. You can always call on Open & Shut Garage Door Service in Los Angeles, California to take care of all your garage door service needs.

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