Common Causes of Unbalanced Garage Doors

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If you own a garage, then chances are you will or already have experienced a crooked or unbalanced garage door. The door’s unpredictable behavior is a danger to anyone who regularly uses the door. Additionally, an unbalanced garage door can ruin your garage door opener. Several reasons can lead to the unbalance, for instance, rusted and broken springs or misaligned rollers.

What exactly is a garage door balance and what does it mean when a garage door is unbalanced?

To understand the causes of door imbalance, you should first comprehend the concept of garage door balance.

In a garage door where the door is balanced, all its weight is managed evenly through the tension in the system’s springs. The weight management makes leading the door up and down using the opener quite easy. On the other hand, when garage doors are unbalanced, the springs are not giving enough tension or are exerting too much tension to counterbalance the weight of the door effectively. The result is adding strain to the opener.

If your opener is straining to open the garage door, then it’s likely that your door is unbalanced. When left unattended for long periods, the crooked garage doors can cause the opener to fail prematurely or cause the spring and cables to snap.

How to check if your carriage door is imbalanced?

It is important to always pay attention to your garage door’s performance to ensure everything is working as it should. An unbalanced garage door will always show early signs.  The following are the signs of an unbalanced garage door that you should watch out for:

The garage door appears uneven when opening or closing. If your garage door appears uneven or slanted when opening and closing it, there’s a high probability that it lost its balance. The slant is a representation of the bigger internal struggle going on inside its system. The imbalance directly signifies that power is not being evenly transferred to all the garage door parts, causing one of the sides to be higher when you open or close the door.

  • The garage door is making a sound every time it opens or closes. Balanced garage doors are relatively quiet when they travel up and down the door tracks. However, any added strain in the opener causes an unbalanced door to produce noise as it struggles to raise or close the garage door.
  • The garage door is taking longer to open or close. Without the correct amount of push and pull to make the door move, unbalanced garage doors will take a noticeably longer time to open the door. You may notice the same delay every time the door closes.
  • The garage door won’t open at all. When an unbalanced garage door goes for too long without repair, it may get too heavy for its opener to lift or move, leaving you with a door that won’t budge at all.

Why do you have an unbalanced garage door?

Depending on the cause, a crooked garage door has the potential to cause severe damage as it can suddenly come down with someone or something underneath it. If your door shows signs of unbalance, the following are several reasons why your garage door may be uneven.

Frayed or Jumped Cable

Springs and cables work together to lower and lift your garage door. If any of your cables snap, get worn out, or are damaged in any manner, it may result in a crooked out of alignment garage door.  Other times, the breakage of a cable and torsion could occur at the same time.

Breakage of the torsion spring

The most common cause of a misaligned garage door is the breakage torsion spring. Some doors have two overhead springs, while others have springs on the side. The springs are tightly wound metal pieces responsible for the opening and closing of your garage door.

Depending on the action  (whether closing or opening), the springs will unwind or wind to pull the garage door right along its tracks. Your door might still manage to open, but it will run slowly or be crooked if one of the garage door springs broke.

If you have an unbalanced garage door due to the breakage of a torsion spring, do not attempt to tighten the spring. You could fall while at it or even get slammed by the door’s weight. Instead, treat the matter as an emergency and call a professional garage door expert to safely service and replace the garage door springs immediately. Remember, there are great risks and dangers of operating a garage door with a broken spring.

Problem with door rollers

Other parts of the garage door may also fail to work properly, outside the springs and cable, for instance, tracks and rollers. If your garage door has shifted to one side of the door, then it may be related to how well its rollers are running along the tracks. For a garage to operate normally, it needs to retract to your garage smoothly.

A problem with the rollers and trackers may lead to a jammed or crooked garage door. If the rollers completely jumped the track, then the garage door might not work at all. Nevertheless, if the door only pulls to one side when you open it or doesn’t go all the way up and down, then maybe it’s rollers are well aligned with the track.

Damage to the rollers and trackers is often a result of debris in the tracks, warping of the garage door, or damage to the rollers.

How to perform a balance test on your garage door?

Over time, your garage door’s balance will periodically shift with heavy use. You should therefore seasonally check for balance by performing the following steps:

  • Close the door from the inside of the garage
  • Disconnect the garage door from the opener before starting the test.
  • Open and close the door manually. A balanced door should move freely. If the door keeps getting stuck, apply a lubricant on the hinges and rollers, as shown in your owner manual. Then, manually lift it again; if the lubrication does not help, then the garage door is unbalanced. If your door is too heavy for you to move, call a garage door repair company for professional maintenance service.
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