A smooth-running garage door keeps you moving through your day safely and efficiently. However, it’s natural for your door to experience some problems, including becoming off-balance. When that happens, you must get to the root of the problem to avoid future issues. Our guide will explain how to know whether your garage door is out of balance, test it and fix it.
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What Is Garage Door Balance?
Before learning how to fix an unbalanced garage door, it’s important to understand what garage door balance is and why it matters. Garage door balance allows the door to open and close smoothly without putting additional strain on any parts.
Your door has many moving parts that aid in lifting and lowering. When one piece goes out of commission, the others have to handle the additional strain, which can cause them to break and damage the system. The springs may not have enough tension to lift the door, or they exert too much and lift it too quickly. Either way, the opener will receive a lot of strain, eventually struggling to perform.
If you leave an off-balance door for too long without professional help to fix it, the springs or cables could snap, and you could damage the system and objects in your garage.
How to Know if Your Garage Door Is Out of Balance
Sometimes, taking a good look at your garage is enough to tell you whether your door is unbalanced. If it looks like your door moves at an odd angle or one side moves faster than the other, you’ll want to check your garage door’s balance. However, there are other ways to detect unbalance, as well.
Signs that your garage door is unbalanced include:
- Slamming shut: If the system struggles to raise or release the door, it may slam shut or snap open.
- Slow movement: When you open or close your garage, the response should be automatic, so if you’re waiting for the door to move, it may be off-balance.
- Strange sounds: Any strange noise is usually an indication you have a problem. Scraping, banging and rattling noises are all common indicators of an off-balance door.
- Staying shut: If the door doesn’t open at all, the system may be failing to lift it completely.
How to Check the Balance of Your Garage Door
Some of the above signs could be an indication of another issue. For instance, the door may not be opening because the batteries in the garage remote are dead. You can easily check the balance of the door to determine if the problem is balance:
- To begin, close the door from the inside.
- Then, detach the door from the opener. In most doors, you can do so with the manual release rope.
- You’ll initially open and close the door manually.
- If this works smoothly, open the door again, but stop halfway up.
- When you release the door, it should stay where you left it. If the door slams shut or snaps open, the system can’t hold the door, and you have a balance issue.
How to Fix an Unbalanced Garage Door
Knowing how to level a garage door involves determining what part of the system needs adjusting. The first involves adjusting the springs. You either have torsion or extension springs in your garage. If you have extension springs, you’ll need to adjust both springs evenly. When you adjust a torsion spring, you have to be sure the door is completely closed.
Adjusting Extension Springs
Extension springs are placed on either side of the garage door. Before you attempt to fix the door, you must open the door the entire way and prop it up with clamps or a ladder to hold it in place. This step will release the tension in your springs and allow you to adjust them safely.
After taking that first step to remove the tension from the springs, follow these steps to adjust extension springs:
- Remove the safety cables attached to the springs.
- Adjust the springs to a different hole in the bracket, making the same adjustment to both sides.
- Replace the springs if one or both are broken.
- Remove the clamps and test the balance.
If the door is closing on its own, you’ll want to move the springs up a hole in the bracket. If your door is opening on its own, you’ll want to move the springs down a hole. This method will provide more or less tension and help the springs raise or lower the door accordingly.
Adjusting Torsion Springs
Torsion springs are located above the door, and to adjust them, you’ll need a screwdriver, c-clamps and a winding bar, which is a tool specifically meant for adjusting torsion springs. If you don’t have these tools, you can easily purchase them, but you’ll need to measure the diameter of the springs to ensure you buy the proper size.
Steps to adjust torsion springs:
- Close the garage door entirely.
- Tighten a c-clamp on both sides of the door to prevent the door from opening.
- Place the winding bar inside the hole of the spring.
- Hold the bar in place as you use a screwdriver to loosen the screw.
- Make minor adjustments without completing a full turn each time.
- Adjust the screw in the adjustment collar while holding the winding bar.
- Remove the bar once you’re finished.
- If you have more than one torsion spring, adjust the other way the same way.
- Test the door and make additional adjustments as you need.
Regardless of which springs your garage door features, always remember to start small and wear safety gear such as gloves and glasses. You can always make more adjustments, but you don’t want to damage the system or injure yourself.
Benefits of Hiring a Professional
Although you can adjust your garage door on your own, it’s always best to contact a professional because these springs can become lethal projectiles or fall unexpectedly and injure you or others. Your door could snap shut and damage objects underneath it, as well.
Completing a DIY repair can be a lengthy multi-day project with risks. You’ll need to be sure you have the right tools, know how to use them and take safety measures to protect yourself from broken parts. On the other hand, hiring a professional ensures safe and adequate repairs or installation. Instead of taking hours to balance the door and risk your safety, contact an expert to repair it.
A few reasons to hire a professional include:
- Saving time: Experts know what they’re doing and how to do it quickly. They come prepared with the necessary equipment and begin working as soon as possible. Instead of spending hours in your garage, you can dedicate your time to other tasks around your home.
- Avoiding injury: Your garage door can injure you or your loved ones if it snaps down when someone is crossing underneath. Additionally, the springs can become lethal projectiles if they snap and hit someone in the area. A professional will repair the garage door using the proper safety measures so no one gets hurt.
- Saving money: When you keep your door maintained, it lasts longer and helps you avoid future problems. Routine services can help ensure everything functions properly and save you replacement costs in the future. Additionally, you don’t need to purchase your own tools when hiring a professional.
- Providing durability: When you routinely care for your garage door, it becomes more durable instead of breaking down over time. This effort helps protect your belongings from the weather, dirt and intruders.
Schedule Garage Door Service With R&R Doors
R&R Doors is a family-owned garage company that has been operating since 1986. We take pride in everything we do, as we always want to deliver quality products to our customers. We offer quick turnarounds because we value your time. Our expert team members are ready to serve you with any garage door problems you have.
For garage door repair for your Wisconsin home, schedule a service with R&R Doors. Trust us to put your needs first and deliver you quality service and repairs.