If you're unfortunate enough to have an issue with your garage door, the result is often a dramatic, intimidating experience. Cables are often hanging loose, the door itself can slant and stick, and things generally appear catastrophic. Also, the door itself is often too heavy to safely manipulate, even with a partner.
The good news is that garage door problems are often easier to fix than they appear. Understanding what could go wrong with your door won't help you fix the problem yourself--DIY is the third leading cause of injury caused by garage doors. It will, however, give you peace of mind before you call your garage door repair shop.
Common Problem #1--Broken Springs
If you look up at the top of your garage door from the inside, you'll see two coils that meet up in the center of the door. These are the springs that help facilitate the raising and lowering of the door. Without these springs, the average garage door that weighs approximately 280 lbs would be impossible to lift safely.
These springs have a tendency to go bad or even break over time. You'll be able to see right away if the springs are damaged or not with a simple glance. The good news is that this repair is a simple job for a professional and won't end up costing you a great deal of money. This is in spite of the fact that the door can look completely messed up and feel jammed when this happens.
Common Problem #2--Door Moves Unevenly
When you press the opener for your garage door, you expect the door to raise smoothly and evenly. Sometimes, due to specific issues that pop up, this stops happening. Instead, you're greeted with a door that moves shakily and wobbles when it lifts and closes. Often, this will make you feel uncertain about the safety of the door itself.
Just like with broken springs, this isn't typically a major issue. The first thing you should do is check the track for the door. That said, do not try to clear any debris yourself. You'll want a professional to properly brace the door and clear the track safely.
If the track is clear, you could be dealing with a faulty motor. While this part will cost more than springs to replace, it's still a relatively simple and inexpensive job when compared to the cost of replacing your door. The average price is usually between $100 - $250 to complete.
Common Problem #3--Door Falls Too Fast When Closing
If your door is opening and closing properly, you'll notice a slow, even pace on both operations. Sometimes, instead of that slow, even movement, you'll find that your door drops quickly when it closes. This is unsettling, particularly in homes when children or pets are present.
The most common cause of this issue is broken cables. Again, like most issues with your garage door, this one is easy to spot. You'll see a loose cable hanging in your garage where there was none in the past. Also, most repair professionals have these cables on their truck, so your repair will be simple and inexpensive.
If you don't see a loose cable, you could be dealing with faulty springs. As you can probably see by now, the springs are very important to the functioning of a garage door. However, you won't be able to see every problem with your springs with the naked eye. The good news is that spring replacements are simple and inexpensive.
The moral of the story is this--most repairs to your garage door are simple and cost-effective, even if the door looks like it's in a sorry state. That's why there's no reason to risk serious injury to save a few dollars. Survey the damage, then make the call to a licensed professional. You'll be glad that you did.