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Repairing Garage Doors.
A smoothly operating garage door is something we too often take for granted. At no time is this more evident than the morning it suddenly refuses to open.
When garage door problems do occur, they usually result from damage caused by moisture or lack of proper maintenance. Moisture some of it unavoidable may have warped the door, rusted its hardware, or even rotted away an entire section of framing members that hold it in alignment. Or maybe you've allowed the door's brackets to loosen or its tracks to become clogged with dirt and grime.
A periodic maintenance routine is your best insurance against garage door difficulties. This consists of nothing more than keeping the track clean, keeping the hardware lubricated, and tightening any nuts or hold-down bolts that may have worked loose. You might be surprised at how these measures head off most overhead door problems.
1 When your garage door binds as it travels on its track, it may be because the track brackets have loosened and the tracks are no longer parallel to each other. You can easily check this by measuring the distance between them with a tape measure at several points. If the tracks are out of alignment, loosen the appropriate track brackets, tap the tracks back into parallel alignment with a couple of good hammer blows making sure that the vertical tracks are plumb, and tighten the brackets.
2 If your door binds just as it starts to open or tries to close completely and its tracks are tight and parallel, check to see whether the edges are rubbing on the inside surface of the trim molding. Sometimes abrasions at the edges of the door's face will indicate this. One way to correct this problem is to remove the outside trim molding and reinstall it slightly farther from the door to provide more clearance. Another (often easier) way is to relocate the vertical tracks farther from the trim molding. If the bracket isn't adjustable, remove the lag screws holding the track brackets in place and reinstall the brackets with wood-block shims inserted between the brackets and the framing members. If yours are adjustable, simply loosen the bolts and make the needed adjustment.
3 Perhaps the simplest garage door adjustment you can make is correcting a bar lock that fails to key.
4 Even a garage door that operates smoothly may need rebalancing from time to time. Indications of this are when the door opens or closes too easily or won't stay in its opened position. A properly balanced garage door should stay open when it's about three feet off the driveway. Above that point it should slowly rise to its fully opened position; below that point it should slowly close. If your garage door fails to open in the way mentioned here, the springs that pull the door open probably have lost tension and need tightening. These springs are fully stretched when the door is closed, and under the least tension when it's fully open. So when you make the following adjustments, open the door fully to relax the springs, and secure there. With some spring tension mechanisms, one end of the spring attaches to one of the holes in a bracket attached to the door jamb. You can increase spring tension by hooking the spring into a higher hole (you may need to remove the cable from the other end of the spring to do this). Adjust the spring on each side of the door equally to keep balanced tension. With other spring tension mechanisms, you can add stretch to the spring by taking up slack in the cable that holds the spring pulley connector. Take up cable slack (on both sides) about an inch at a time until you achieve the right balance. Yet a third mechanism is known as a torsion spring. Unless you've had prior experience adjusting this type of door, call in a qualified serviceman to balance it for you. The torsion spring is under tremendous pressure, and is potentially dangerous if improperly handled.