A garage door is more than just a utilitarian device that allows homeowners to park cars indoors. For houses large and small, a garage door offers security and insulation for household members and belongings. As the largest part of a home’s facade, the garage door needs to be maintained for practical and aesthetic reasons. Read on to learn about the various symptoms that indicate when it’s time to have your garage door repaired or possibly replaced.
1) Problems When Opening or Closing
A telltale sign that you have a broken garage door is when it fails to open and close properly. Perhaps the door responds to control prompts irregularly? Or maybe it moves up and down in an awkward, inconsistent manner that lacks the smoothness you’ve come to expect? In the worst of all scenarios, it might just fail to operate altogether.
Ideally, the door should take no more than a second to respond once you’ve pressed the activation button. If it doesn’t, it’s probably due to one of the following problems:
- Irregular garage door: If your garage door responds inconsistently to switches or buttons, it’s likely due to a faulty connection with the electrical circuitry that synchronizes with the remote control prompts.
- Awkward garage door: If the door moves in an awkward manner, it could be coming off its tracks or have faulty wiring. If such is the case, the door should be fixed immediately.
- Broken garage door: If your garage door simply refuses to open or close, it could be a case of broken garage opener wires, which would render the circuitry dead and in need of replacement.
A faulty garage door can be annoying, but the problem will only get worse if you let it be for too long and procrastinate having it serviced. Likewise, a door that moves awkwardly due to worn tracking is only liable to present more challenges as weeks and months go on. Ultimately, either problem could lead to a broken garage door that fails to move, period. In any event, a malfunctioning or broken garage door should be immediately serviced by a licensed professional.
2) Garage Door Shakes When Opening or Closing
A garage door is meant to move smoothly and steadily, with no tremors or odd tremors along the way. If you have a shaky garage door, there’s probably something wrong with the tracking, belt, rollers or lubrication. In any case, a garage door that shakes should be serviced quickly before the symptom escalates into more serious problems.
If you have a shaky garage door, one of the following components could be at the root of the problem:
- Tracks: A garage door opens and closes along surrounding tracks, in which the rollers at each end slide up and down as the door is in motion. If the tracks are broken or corroded, the garage door could shake as a result. Broken or rusty tracks should be replaced right away, before they completely collapse.
- Belt: A garage door is moved by a belt, which is activated by control prompts to pull the door up and release it back down as desired. If the belt gets weak or loses its tension, shaking might occur with each movement of the door. A failing belt should be released as soon as possible before it snaps and sends the door crashing down.
- Rollers: As the belt pulls and releases the door, rollers keep the sides of the door aligned to the tracks. If you have a shaky garage door, but the belt and tracks are fine, it could be due to a problem with the rollers, which can erode, corrode and crack over time. Unless you know how to replace garage door rollers yourself, it’s best to have this problem serviced by a professional.
- Lubrication: Perhaps all the aforementioned components are in good shape, but the garage door still shakes. This could be down to poor lubrication, which needs to be replenished every now and then for smooth running in the bearings within the rollers and pulleys. If lubrication is allowed to go stale, not only will the door have trouble moving, certain parts could erode and crack due to excess friction.
A shaky garage door could ultimately become a broken garage door unless the problem is fixed sooner than later. That is why you need to take action and call a garage door repair company if your door starts to shake for any reason.
3) Noisy Garage Door Operation
The smoothness of a fully functional and optimal garage door is supposed to be characterized, in part, by its quietness. If you have a noisy garage door, it’s should serve as a red flag that something has gone awry within the overall mechanisms. After all, sound and appearance go hand–in–hand, just like a shaky garage door would indicate something wrong with one of several parts that bring the door up and down, the sound too is indicative of the health — or lack thereof — of certain parts that make the door function.
A noisy garage door is typically due to one of three culprits:
- A bad spring: Springs are the nerves of non–sentient moving parts. When they get pinched or strained, it’s a pain for the body of the garage door.
- Worn opener bracket: The bracket needs to be strong and optimal in order to fulfill its role in the door–opening process, free of shakes or creaking noises.
- Worn rollers/lubrication: As with the smoothness of a garage door, quietness can also be compromised when bearings become dulled or loose in either the rollers or pulleys. If the sound is particularly bad, it could be a matter of both problems simultaneously. In any case, lithium–based grease should be reapplied on the bearings each year.
If a garage door gets exceedingly noisy, it could be a warning that something is about to snap. In other words, today’s noise could become tomorrow’s failure or collapse. Before any of these scenarios play out, garage door replacement or repairs should be scheduled if you to hear strange, unsettling noises in the movement’s of your door.
4) Sagging Garage Door
When it comes to garage door abnormalities, sagging is not one of the first things to cross the minds of most homeowners. Strange noises and shaky movements are disconcerting, but when an open garage door slowly drops by a couple of inches, it’s generally viewed as a benign quirk. In truth, it is a big mistake to overlook the condition of a sagging garage door, the likes of which might indicate a bigger problem that could ultimately cause danger to children, pets and vehicles if left un–remedied.
A sagging door could be indicative of several problems:
- Worn tension spring: If the spring gets strained, it might lack the contractibility it once had, and therefore be ill–equipped to hold the door at the correct height.
- Dulled rollers: As the door goes up and down on a daily basis, the edges of the rollers can dull over time. This is especially true of rubber rollers, which are meant to be replaced every few years. Once dulled, the rollers can lose their fitting within the tracks and sag under the weight they carry.
- Dulled tracks: Sooner or later, tracks give way to the ravages of time. Along certain lengths of the tracks, the edges might bend slightly outward and lose their ability to hold the door in place. Also, dulled rollers can wear at the inner tracks through repeated friction.
There’s also the chance that your door could be improperly balanced within the tracks, which would cause it to rise and lower at a crookedly. In order to see whether you really have a sagging problem, disconnect the door from the remote controller and manually lift the door halfway off the ground. If it slowly sags by a few inches, there’s something wrong with its holding mechanisms. However, any further maintenance work should be done by licensed garage door repair professionals, whether they need to replace the garage door rollers, tracks, springs or install a new door altogether.
5) Garage Door Hesitates
Whether you’re heading out or returning home, a hesitating garage door can be an annoying cause of delays. When you simply want to pull out or drive inside, even a 10–second delay can seem to take forever. Thing is, your garage door shouldn’t even take a fifth of that time to respond to your commands. If more than a second passes between the press of the control button and the door’s response, there’s something wrong with your door.
A hesitating garage door could be the result of mechanical or electrical shortcomings, including the following:
- Broken garage opener cords: When the cords responsible for lifting and releasing become strained and unreliable, you won’t get any smooth performance from the garage door.
- Corroded pulleys: If the bearings corrode, come loose or can no longer turn the pulleys properly, the door is liable to hit some snags going up and down.
- Bad rollers: Once again, rollers don’t singlehandedly make the garage door move as planned, but they can certainly cause hindrances if they’re not in adequate shape.
It could also be that the circuitry in the remote control box has worn down, impairing its ability to receive signals when you push the remote control button. In that case, it’s definitely time for a new control system. Otherwise, the problem could be one of the parts having worn or corroded to the point where the whole door fails to move properly. Whatever the cause, call a garage door repair professional to inspect the door and fix the problems before it gets more serious.
6) Chipped or Broken Areas of Garage Door
Out of all the sections of a house exterior, the garage door is second only to the roof in the amount of abuse it winds up taking from the world outside. Though the garage door doesn’t bear the direct brunt of rain, snow, hail or falling objects, it does get plenty of objects thrown its way due to the playground function that driveways often serve for children. Furthermore, the garage door is a ripe target for the teeth and claws of canines, who might just smell something savory seeping out from inside.
As a consequence of all this abuse, a garage door can chip away and slowly come undone in the following places:
- The panels: This is an obvious target. Whenever a child throws a ball or hail tilts sideways, the wood gets pecked and paint gets chipped. If the driveway features a basketball hoop, hits to the door are inevitable.
- Bottom rubber lining: Though its serves as a buffer for the bottom panel, the constant touch–downs of the door upon the concrete eventually take their toll on the rubber, which can fray or come loose in certain places. Rubber lining is also a ripe target for clawing dogs.
- The edges: Wood is not invincible, and it can start to wear at the edges through constant movement along the tracks as busy days turn into years.
Window panels along garage doors make an especially inviting target for the slow ravages of light and heavy impact. Regardless of what gets chipped or cracked, however, these slight bits of damage do not amount to a broken garage door. That is, of course, providing you have the damages rectified before they spread and render the door unsalvageable. Don’t wind up with a broken garage door, have a garage door repair professional touch up yours every few years.
7) Loose or Broken Garage Door Cords and Wires
A garage door doesn’t simply start defying the law of gravity the moment it’s prompted to rise off the ground. Whether it’s merely a foot off the ground of fully open, it’s being supported by cords and powered by wires every inch of the way. When cords become frayed, the support grows weak. If the cords or wires snap, everything fails and garage door replacement is the only viable option.
The following problems are often responsible for the popularity of search strings like “garage door broken” and “replace garage door” on Google:
- Broken garage opener cords: The weight and mass of a garage door is supported by cords. When cords fray, the door can sag, when cords snap, the door can come crashing down on vehicles, animals and people.
- Broken garage opener wires: The mechanisms that make it possible for a door to automatically rise and come back down are powered by electrical wires. If a wire gives out, the circuitry dies and the remote control system has to be replaced.
Broken garage opener cords can be especially dangerous, because you never know when they might go completely. If your door is showing signs of unreliability, the cords should probably be inspected and replaced if needed by a garage door repair professional. Likewise, broken garage opener wires can render your remote control useless, and force you to manually raise and lower the door each time you come and go from your house. For obvious reasons, these problems need to be corrected before they get out of hand.
8) Bent or Broken Garage Door Track or Hinges
In the overall makeup of a garage door, the tracks are responsible for keeping the door aligned properly along the edges as it moves up and back down. This way, the cables can pull the door in a convenient, 45 degree angle that aligns to the garage ceiling when open, without the needed for double the height to accommodate the raised door. Hinges are also important in this process, because they allow the door to fold over the angle between the front and ceiling of the garage.
Broken garage door hinges and tracks can lead to the following problems:
- Uneven garage door: If the door has a slight dip at one end when it raises and lowers, the tracks could be dented on one side, and therefore incapable of supporting the door properly. You might also need to replace garage door rollers along that side or both, since bad tracks can wear at rollers and vice versa.
- Garage door not folding: If the hinges corrode, they could have trouble contracting, and thus make it difficult for the door panels to fold over the angle. Rusty or partially broken garage door hinges can also cause creaking or squeaking noises as the garage goes up and down.
Broken garage door tracks and hinges can make it impossible to fully open or close the door, whether mechanically or manually. Even if the problem causes only a slight bottom gap when the garage door is shut, you’ll still want to get it fixed. A cracked garage door creates an entryway for coldness and other elements, not to mention rodents and snakes.
9) Rising Utility Bill
When a garage door is neither open or in motion, it’s supposed to seal the garage as tightly as a solid wall. This is important, because the seal of a garage door keeps out the cold during winter months, which affects the entire house. Simply put, the garage door — as the largest moving part of the house — plays an integral role in household insulation. If there’s even a slight gap at the bottom or edges while shut, the door is not doing part of its job properly.
A garage door that fails to be air–proof comes with the following consequences:
- Colder winters: During the months of wind, rain and snow, the house should be as snug as possible. Nothing can undermine this more than a garage door that’s loose or insufficiently sealed, because these factors cause warm air to leak out and coldness to seep inside.
- Higher utility costs: When a garage door compromises — rather than secures — the insulation of a house, you’re forced to turn up the heat as a means of compensation. This, of course, leads to higher heating costs, which can add up over months and years.
Timely maintenance of your garage door can keep it optimal for a number of years, but eventually various parts will erode and need to be replaced. If your garage door is compromising the insulation of your house, it could very well be time for a complete garage door replacement. This is especially true when you consider that newer garage door models are designed with better insulation than doors made a decade ago.
10) Increase Curb Appeal
A garage door is the most prominent feature on a house to people on the outside. Consequently, the appearance of a garage door can affect the value of a home on the resale market. In terms of curb appeal, a modern and fully optimal garage door can render a house more valuable in the following ways:
- More attractive: A prospective home buyer wants a house that looks attractive in all areas, including the largest section of the outside front.
- More modern: While everyone wants an attractive house, most people also want it to have features that look modern. By opting for a garage door replacement, your house can have a modern look, whether or not you resell.
Nothing lasts forever, including the look and style of an old garage door. If your house could use a facelift, a new garage door could revitalize your property. Even if you’re happy with your current garage door, it should still be inspected every year or two by a licensed repair expert.
For garage door installation and repair in the Phoenix area, Cookson Garage Doors provides impeccable service at reasonable prices. Learn more about our garage door repair and installation services on the web or by calling (480) 377-8777.