How to Repair a Garage Door: A Beginner’s Guide

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There are a fair few components to a garage door, and that’s exactly why something can go wrong easily. Most of the time, garage door repair is easy, meaning that you don’t need to call a specialist in to take a look. In this article, I will discuss the different components to a garage door, the problems that can occur, and guidance on how to fix them.

Cost:

If you’re opting to get specialist help, the average cost for a garage door repair is about $223. Prices vary but you can expect to pay at least $150 for any job requiring materials and prices can easily surpass the $300 mark.

Different costs can be incurred depending on what is malfunctioning. Here are the common parts of a garage door that may break and how much they cost:

• Garage Door Pulley: $12-$68 per pulley
• Torsion Spring: $40-$100 each
• Extension Spring: $5-$30 each
• Panel Replacement: $150-$250
• Panel Repair: $130-$190
• Opener Repair and Replacement: $50-$350
• Garage Door Replacement: $270-$2000 (average cost: $1000)
• Garage Door Installation: $650-$1000 (average cost: $850)

Costs can also vary wildly depending on the size of your garage door, the bigger it is, the more expensive it will be to fix. It is also worth bearing in mind the service call charges themselves. These can range from about $50-$100 for a garage door repair depending on where you live.

If you’re looking to save money on your garage door installation, check out my article: Garage Door Installation: A Do-it-Yourself Guide.

Components of a Garage Door

Garage doors are more than meets the eye, there’s the door itself, but there are also hardware components and the weather stripping.

The Door Itself:

The main component of the garage door is its panels. These can get quite easily get damaged as a result of the weather or the neighbour’s kid kicking a football too hard at it. Your garage door might also have glass panels that can be smashed even easier if they aren’t properly installed.

Hardware Components:

These are the more nitty-gritty parts that cause most of the issues. Many of these parts will be made from galvanised steel since it prevents corrosion better than regular steel. Higher quality and thicker steel components have a lower gauge rating. Ideally, this is what you’ll want for your garage door. Here are the parts on the backside of your garage door that ensure your garage door opens and closes perfectly:

• Door Rollers: These wheels turn inside the door tracks as the garage door is opened and closed. These are on the sides of the garage door and are usually in the form of small rollers or wheels. If these are galvanised steel, consider replacing them with nylon as this will make them quieter.

• Hinges: These allow each section of the door to bend as the door is opened or closed. Therefore, they are placed between each sectional piece of the door. They also help to keep the door in place. Bear in mind that your garage door may use double hinges, especially if it’s better quality.

• Garage Door Opener: This is a motorised device to automate the opening and closing of the door. It’s attached to the garage door and has its own components and parts, for example, a lifting arm and chains.

• Lifting Cables: These are attached the door’s springs, not every garage door has these, but if yours does, it will aid in opening and closing it.

• Springs: Arguably the most important part of the hardware components. These are used as part of the counterweight system. This system allows you to open your garage door with one hand without the need be an Olympic powerlifter. Very helpful. These are usually in the form of a singular coil at the top of the door, but for heavier doors, you might also see secondary springs located over the door tracks.

• Door Tracks: Finally, these are usually secured to the garage’s ceiling. These are metal pieces attached to the sides of the doors to, you guessed it, help the garage door open and close easily.

Knowing exactly which part of your garage door needs fixing is key as some parts require more time, effort, and expense than others. Now you have a better idea of the hardware components, let’s discuss the weather stripping.

Weather-Stripping:

Weather-stripping speaks for itself; it helps to keep the unwanted rain and any other unwanted water from getting into your garage. If sealed properly, it should help keep other elements out too, such as wind, which will make your garage freezing during the winter months.

This stripping should be on the exterior and interior sides of your garage door. Some higher quality garage doors also include sectional weather stripping for extra insulation. It’s also worth noting that you should have some (ideally rubber) weather-stripping on the bottom of your garage door to prevent water running under the door. This can help to prevent flooding.

Types of Problems and How to Solve Them

Now you know the cost and components to your garage door, it’s time to identify the common ways your garage door can malfunction and the ways you can go about fixing them. These are all the main aspects you’ll need to know for garage door repair.

  1. The Garage Door Stops Halfway: This can be due to the garage door not being level, in this case make sure the door is aligned properly and try again. Lubrication can also be a problem. Make sure all the moving parts of your garage door are properly lubricated to prevent your door sticking. Finally, you may live in an area of high humidity. This can also cause your garage door to not move properly. Using a dehumidifier is the logical solution in this case.
  1. Sticking Rollers: Having your rollers stuck will not only make opening and closing the door noisier, but it can also cause the garage door to come off its tracks. Ideally, they should spin and turn, but if they don’t, they’re stuck. In this case, don’t move your garage door anymore, this may risk the cables and springs also breaking. In most cases, rollers being stuck is the result of insufficient lubrication and/or excess humidity. Therefore using lubrication and a dehumidifier should fix this problem.
  1. Broken Springs: It should be obvious when a garage door spring breaks as it will make a loud noise. Springs are only designed to be used for so long, so wear and tear will eventually cause them to break. Getting higher quality springs will delay this, but it’s still unfortunately inevitable. If the spring breaks, don’t try to move the garage door, broken springs can be very dangerous. So dangerous in fact, that you should stay out of your garage until professional help is called. This is the case since there is still remaining tension in the springs, this can cause personal injures if it snaps, or worse, knock your garage door off its tracks.
  1. Broken Cables: This can usually be identified by one side of the garage door sagging lower than the other side, or one side of the garage door seeming heavier than the other. Again, this can be due to wear and tear, or from your spring breaking. Your garage door may also appear to be angled lower on one side as you open it. If your cables are broken, the door may not stay in one place when it’s opened. It may instead fall down as soon as you lift it up which can be a safety risk, especially if you have children around. To fix this, you’ll want to place the cables back into its grove while using a vice grip to hold the torsion tube in place.
  1. The Remote Opener Doesn’t Work: This could be due to the batteries if the switch itself for the garage door opener still works. If you’ve replaced the batteries and the remote still doesn’t work, it may need to be resynched or replaced. The problem may be coming from the opener itself. This will mean you’ll have to check if the opener is plugged in and that the breaker hasn’t blown. If you’ve checked these things and it’s still not working, it will mean either you have an electrical problem, or the opener will need to be replaced.

The following garage door problems are for automatic garage doors:

  1. Door Closes but Reopens When it Shouldn’t: In this case, the automatic garage door needs to be adjusted. The door openers may require adjustments and resynching on their door limit settings. These settings let the door know how far it should move to be fully closed or opened. If these are incorrect, when your garage door is closed and therefore touches the ground, the sensors will think the door is hitting an object instead and therefore reopen. Either that or your front door sensors are being blocked. Therefore, to fix this problem, make sure the sensors aren’t obstructed and resynch your sensor if you need to.
  1. The Opener is Running but the Door Doesn’t Move: First of all, make sure your garage door isn’t locked. After that, make sure the automatic door disconnect cord has not been pulled by attempting to open and close the door manually. Then, you’ll need to reattach the door to the automatic opener’s lift arm, this should solve the problem.
  1. The Door Opens but Won’t Close: This problem is again related to the sensors. If the lenses get obstructed or dirty, they will prevent the door from closing. In this case, ensure the sensors aren’t obstructed and clean the lenses. If the door still won’t close, call a technician.

Final Thoughts:

Garage door repair can often be done by yourself, saving you some money. The trick is knowing what is broken and you’ll find that fixing it is easier than you think. The main problem can be where springs break as this is dangerous and can cause other parts of your garage door to break such as your cables.

To avoid your garage door breaking, just make sure you treat it with care and install good quality parts that don’t wear and tear as easily. Once your garage door is working fine again, it may be worth checking each of its components to identify any problems before they occur. This may save you time and money in the future. It also means you won’t have to read articles about garage door repair as often.

James Johnson

What started out as an intention to create my dream garage has turned into a mission to share my research, whether that's guides or product recommendations, with as many people as possible. I believe that everyone should be proud of their garage, and by reading my guides, you are in good hands to make that a reality.


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