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How to Fix a Garage Door: Five Common Problems and Solutions

garage door opener

Automatic garage doors are a common modern convenience. When they’re working properly, they open with the simple press of a button. Over time, however, these doors may become stuck, make too much noise or operate too quickly, among other problems. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering how to fix a garage door, here are five of the most common solutions:

Noisy DoorA stuck garage door may point to a cable or trolley problem.

Your automatic garage door opens and closes just fine, but it is noisy to the point where your neighbors are complaining. Inspect the tracks and look for debris that may be interfering with the door’s movement. Once you’ve cleared any detritus from the tracks, apply a lubricant, such as 3-in-1 garage door lube, directly to any hinges or pulleys in your system. Open and close the garage door two or three times to verify that the problem has been resolved.

A Sticky Situation

A garage door that fails to open or close could point to a number of problems. Follow these steps to determine the issue:

  • Check the garage door opener battery and replace if aged or corroded.
  • Examine the sensors to ensure that nothing is obstructing them. Remove visible hindrances.
  • Investigate the wheel track for blockage and extract any foreign objects.
  • Verify that the cables and springs have even slack. If not, adjust accordingly.

Trolley Triage

If you activate the garage door and only the trolley carriage moves, you’ll likely need to replace your carriage assembly. You can install your new carriage by separating the chain, sliding off the old trolley and affixing the new trolley. Attach the chain and adjust its tension. When you’ve completed the installation, open the garage door to ensure that everything is in order.

Wobbly Woes

If your garage door shifts side-to-side while moving, examine the tracks to ensure that they are free of debris and lubricate if necessary. If the problem continues, examine the springs to see if they need to be replaced. If your springs seem to be intact, the motor may be defective, which will require either repairs or a new motorized unit entirely.

Slow Down, Speed Racer

If your garage door closes with unnatural speed, it’s likely that one of the cables has broken or the springs are loose. This problem should be addressed immediately by a professional repairman, as it is a safety hazard. Garage door springs store an immense amount of energy and should only be serviced by trained professionals.

Understanding how to fix a garage door isn’t just about convenience — it’s about safety as well. A twice-annual lubrication of your garage door’s hinges, wheels and bearings can help keep your automatic garage door in top working condition. One final tip: If your garage door refuses to open even after you’ve already replaced the battery, check the circuit breaker box for a tripped breaker. It could be that simple!

Check out all the tools & equipment available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on garage door repairs, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Matthew C. Keegan View All

Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.

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