When you open your garage door, you expect it to stay open while you back your car out of the garage, pull out your yard tools, or carry in your groceries. However, your garage door seems to have a mind of its own: it comes crashing to the ground whenever it feels like doing so. Instead of leaving your personal safety to chance, fix your falling garage door by performing or arranging for these maintenance tasks:
Spring Replacement or Adjustment
Your garage door uses a counterbalance system to cycle open and closed. Your counterbalance system consists of springs, cables, and drums that use torsion to handle the weight of your garage door panels. When you open your garage door, your springs begin to wind and pull your door upwards by transferring torsion to your drums and cables. When you close your door, your springs unwind and release the torsion stored in your cables and drums—which, in turn, allows your door to slowly roll closed.
However, years of daily use will place sufficient wear on your springs. When your springs are worn, they'll become unable to create sufficient torsion for the rest of your counterbalance system. When your springs aren't powerful enough to create sufficient torsion, your door will open slowly. Additionally, while your door is open, your springs are highly susceptible to releasing the torsion in your counterbalance system and allowing your door to fall.
Most garage door springs have an expected lifetime of 15,000-20,000 cycles. If you believe your current springs have exceeded their lifetime expectancy, then it's time to replace them. However, if your springs are fairly new, then your springs may simply need to be adjusted.
Unfortunately, you should not adjust your garage door springs by yourself. Even while worn, your springs are under an extreme amount of stress. If you release the cones that hold your springs in place while attempting to adjust your springs, then you're likely to cause severe injury to yourself or damage to your garage. For this reason, spring adjustments and replacements should only be performed by a professional garage door technician.
Replace Worn Cables
Similar to your garage door springs, your torsion cables are a critical component of your counterbalance system. When your springs wind, they spin the drums connected to your cables. As long as they remain intact, your cables will then use the torsion from your springs to lift your bottom panel upwards—which, in turn, raises your entire garage door.
However, if one or both of your cables are frayed or damaged in any way, then they're susceptible to failing while attempting to lift your garage door into the open position. Even if your damaged cables manage to fully cycle your garage door into the open position, they're likely to snap under the weight of your garage door—which will cause your door to quickly fall to the ground when you least expect it.
Since your cables are a component of your counterbalance system, it's best to leave the task of replacing them to your garage door technician. However, if you're especially handy, you can replace your worn cables by yourself as long as you're cautious.
Tighten Your Opener's Chain
Your counterbalance system will only cycle your garage door after your door has been pulled partially open or closed—a task that is typically performed by your automatic opener. However, if your opener's chain isn't properly tightened, then the initial effort required to trigger your counterbalance system may end before your counterbalance system activates--causing your door to stop cycling and fall.
You can tighten your opener's chain with just a ladder and an adjustable wrench. Deactivate your automatic opener by either shutting of the power to its motor or pulling on the rope hanging from your trolley. Place your ladder beneath your trolley and locate the long bolt connected to the end of your chain.
You'll see two nuts separated by a stationary spacer on your trolley's bolt. Loosen the nut closest to your opener and tighten the bolt furthest from your opener to tighten your chain. Perform these two steps until your chain only sags to about the middle of your guide railing. If you tighten your chain until it's completely taut, then you risk damaging your opener's gears.
Inspect your springs, cables, and chain to determine which type of repair your garage door needs. If you're unable to perform the repair by yourself, or if you're not able to identify the type of repair that your door needs, then contact a professional garage door repair technician to handle the job for you. If you delay necessary maintenance, then you risk suffering a severe physical injury any time you walk under your garage door.