Whether you still use a manual garage door that is a few decades old or a brand new model installed a month ago, it only takes a minor issue to cause the door to close unevenly. When you notice one side of the door is lower than the other during the closing process, take the time to immediately inspect the door before the problem creates further damage. Check for these five causes of unevenly closing to decide if you need professional garage door repairs or if the problem is easy enough to fix on your own.
Maintain and Replace the Cables
The cables running through both the extension and torsion springs do a lot of heavy lifting to move your garage door up and down as needed. If one cable stretches a bit after installation, you can end up with an uneven door that is only a few days old. Older garage doors are prone to developing frayed cables that let one side go down faster than the other, and those frayed metal bits are sure to snap eventually and drop the door.
Check the length and condition of the cables on a regular basis. If you see rust on the cables, early signs of fraying, or other changes to these supports, replace them immediately to prevent dangerous crashes and to even out the closing process again. You can most likely handle the chore yourself since there is less pressure on the cables than on other parts.
Mount the Hardware Securely
Garage doors, with heavy-duty roller tracks and large automated openers, can weigh hundreds of pounds. This puts a lot of strain and stress on the mounting hardware and bolts holding the entire system onto the ceiling and walls of your garage. Watch out for
- bolts pulling out of the wall framing studs due to years of daily use
- bent or cracked mounting brackets due to a car collision with the door
- mounting hardware anchored in the drywall or paneling of the garage instead of the studs.
When you see the bolts holding your garage door in place are starting to slip out, stop using it and call for immediate repairs. It's impossible to tell how many more times you can open and shut the door before it simply falls off entirely, ruining the entire garage door system.
Get New Extension Springs
Your garage door relies on two different types of springs to move, which are the torsion and extension springs. Both can end up damaged and stretched out, but a garage door that shuts unevenly is likely suffering from bent and worn extension springs. These springs are located along the horizontal track and are under less tension than the heavy-duty torsion springs. However, it's still best to pay for replacement from a professional because all garage door springs can hurt you as you're trying to remove them or attach the new ones.
Invest in New Pulleys
Aside from problems with the springs and cables, the pulleys connecting these parts together also break down over time. Four bad pulleys leave the garage door stuck open or shut, but splitting or sticking of just one side of the setup results in an uneven door. Even if only one pulley is broken, it's best to replace all four at a time since all of them receive the same amount of wear and tear. Leave this repair to the professionals since it involves more risk due to the force trapped in the torsion and extension springs.
Oil the Parts Regularly
Finally, a quick spray of an approved lubricant once a month or so prevents a whole host of door problems, including uneven closing. Grab a rag and clean off dust and other debris before adding a fresh layer of oil to prevent the tracks, pulleys, and rollers from getting gummy.
For more information and maintenance tips, contact a garage door repair company.