How to Repair a Garage Door
Did you know the average garage door is opened and closed more than 1,5000 times yearly? Without regular upkeep and repair, garage doors can become worn out, leaving you vulnerable to theft, weather, and other hazards.
Luckily, DIY garage door repair solutions and professional services for more complex problems are available to homeowners. In this blog, we explain common garage door problems and how you can fix them.
Garage Door Repair Guideline
If your garage door is currently functioning optimally, you can maintain that performance for a long time, provided you regularly inspect and maintain it. The tips below may also help resolve any issues that have just started to arise.
Phase 1. Visual Inspection
Inspecting and maintaining a garage door every six months is essential to keep it operating smoothly. Catching and fixing minor issues prevents them from becoming costly problems.
Look for signs of wear and tear, like:
- Damage to door panels
- Broken pieces in the metal tracks
- Wear and tear of springs,
- Fraying and corrosion of cables
- Cracks and gaps in weatherstripping
- Loose nuts and bolts in the hardware
- Proper operation of locks.
Identifying the issue is the first step toward knowing how to fix a broken garage door.
Phase 2. Level Tracks Up
Begin by locating the adjustment screws on both sides of the door. Using a wrench, loosen the screws until the tracks are slightly loose. Place a level along the tracks, and adjust the screws until the level indicates the tracks are level. Then, tighten the screws to secure the tracks in place. Test the door to ensure it works.
Phase 3. Clean Tracks and Rollers
Vacuum the tracks and rollers to remove dust, dirt, or debris. Then use a damp cloth to wipe them down, especially areas with grease or grime. Lastly, use a dry cloth to wipe away the remaining moisture and a stiff brush to scrub away stubborn residue. Be sure to wear protective gloves.
Phase 4. Tighten and Screw
You can quickly and safely complete this task with the right tools and knowledge.
- Begin by inspecting the hardware components of your garage door. Replace any damaged, worn, or rusted pieces.
- Secure the rollers at the top of the door to the header bracket.
- Tighten the bolts that connect the lift arm to the track. This ensures the door moves smoothly up and down.
- Check the tension on the torsion spring. Adjust it as needed.
- Lubricate the roller tracks and hinges with a high-quality lubricant.
- Tighten the screws that hold the hinges and weather stripping in place.
- Check the alignment of the door and make any necessary adjustments.
- Tighten the screws that hold the door handle and lock it in place.
- Finally, test the door to ensure it opens and closes properly.
Top Garage Door Problems
Identifying the cause and finding a solution to a malfunctioning garage door can be a challenge if you don't know what to look for or how to fix a broken garage door. Below are the most common garage door problems.
If your garage door won't open and it's clear of obstructions, it might be beneficial to contact a professional to diagnose the issue.
Possible causes include:
- A broken spring or sensor
- Snapped cables
- Misaligned tracks
- A stripped gear
- Needing new remote batteries
- A burned-out motor.
Slow Response Time
A worn or broken motor, a lack of lubrication, frayed power cables, misaligned tracks, worn out brake or gear assembly, or a faulty electronic sensor can cause a slow response time. If your garage door opener is older, it may also be outdated.
Excessive noise from a garage door could be worn-out rollers, hinges, or tracks, loose mounting hardware, or worn-out springs, all of which need to be replaced or adjusted, preferably by a professional.
Broken Garage Door Springs
Torsion springs last roughly 10,000 cycles. If broken, you'll notice the following:
- The garage door opener won't open the door.
- When you disconnect the opener and manually raise the door, it immediately moves toward the garage floor.
- A gap in the spring.
Because torsion springs are under a lot of tension, repairing or replacing them puts you at risk, as broken springs and pieces may fly out with great force. We recommend leaving this repair to professionals.
Severe Operation Issues
There is a potential for serious harm if a garage door detaches from its track. It could fall or become detached from its frame if a car collides with it, the rollers are damaged, a cable snaps, or its alignment is uneven. These garage door problems warrant professional repair.
DIY Garage Door Repair
Before doing a DIY repair, you'll want to set time aside to familiarize yourself with how your garage door system works and its repair safety precautions. Equally important is having the right tools and materials to complete the job correctly and safely.
Wall Switch and Wires Replacement
If the remote works but the wall switch does not, you may need to replace either the switch or the wires. To determine which is faulty, unscrew the switch from the wall and touch the two wires together (the wires are low voltage and won't shock you).
If the opener runs, the switch is bad. If the opener does not run when you touch the wires, use a small wire to jump the same two wires at the opener terminal. Should the opener run after this, the wire connecting the opener to the switch is faulty. Sometimes, the staples that hold the wire to the wall pinch the wire, causing a short. Install wire of 18- to 22-gauge to fix it.
Remote Battery Replacement
If changing the batteries doesn't solve the problem, you may have to purchase a new remote. Many local home centers offer a selection of models. You can buy one online if none are compatible with your garage door opener.
Install the receiver by plugging it into an outlet near the opener and connecting the two wires to the same terminals as the wall switch. This upgrades your opener with rolling code technology, making it much more difficult for unauthorized individuals to gain access to the code.
Safety Sensor Alignment
Start by unplugging the garage door opener from the electrical outlet to fix misaligned garage door safety sensors. Then, inspect the sensors to see if they are out of alignment. If so, adjust the sensors, so their lenses align, and the beam of light is uninterrupted.
Finally, plug the garage door opener back in and test the sensors to see if the door opens and closes properly. Note that the small light on each sensor should be on when nothing is between them. You may need to replace the sensors if no light shows.
Circuit Board Replacement
If the wall switch and remotes do not turn on any lights or make any noises when power is present, it is likely that the circuit board is damaged, which is often a result of lightning strikes.
Circuit boards are entire plastic enclosures containing a lightbulb and wire terminals. Replacing a circuit board is a surprisingly simple garage door repair that takes no more than ten minutes and only requires a 1/4-inch nut driver.
The procedure for replacing the board includes the following:
- Removing the light cover.
- Taking out the lightbulb.
- Disconnecting the switch and safety sensor wires.
- Removing a few screws.
- Unplugging the board.
- Replacing it with a new one.
A circuit board typically costs around $80, but one can buy an individual outlet surge protector for less than $10 to protect it from future damage.
Light Socket Replacement
If the lightbulbs appear okay but still won't turn on, the issue is probably a faulty light socket. To replace it, you must first remove the circuit board, following the same steps as above. Push the clip keeping the old socket in place to take it out, then disconnect the two wire connections.
Make sure to use the correct wattage of the lightbulb in the socket. Using a bulb with a higher wattage than what the socket is rated for can cause the socket to fail and be a potential fire hazard. If the light cover has a yellowish tint, it may be a sign that you are using a bulb with too high a wattage.
Trolley Carriage Replacement
If the trolley carriage moves but the door does not open, the likely culprit is a defective trolley. A trolley replacement garage door is typically needed when the existing garage door opener has worn out, is failing, or has reached the end of its lifespan.
A replacement is also necessary if you wish to upgrade your existing system to a more advanced model. To repair, clamp the chain to the track - this keeps it on the sprocket and speeds up the assembly process.
Once the chain is secured correctly, detach it from the two sides of the trolley. Then, pull off the track from the header bracket and put it aside. After that, slide off the old trolley into the new one. Lastly, reconnect the chain and adjust the tension.
Main Gear Drive Replacement
The main gear driver needs replacing if your garage door opener is stuck or makes a grinding noise but doesn't open all the way. This is a complicated repair for an average DIY-er, so you need to be 100% confident you can successfully fix your broken garage door, or else it's best to call a professional.
You can remove the gear from the shaft with a punch or a kit with a new shaft. Lubricate all the parts once you've replaced the gear, especially where the rail comes in contact with the motor or trolley carriage (do this regularly).
For best results, use a lubricant such as silicone spray that does not attract dirt. If you have a screw-drive opener, be sure to grease the gear rail a couple of times a year, especially in colder climates.
Check the tension of the chain drive opener to make sure there is 1/4 in. to 1/2 in. of slack from the rail to the chain. Too much stress causes excess wear and tear on the shaft and gears, while too little makes the chain skip off the sprocket and fall off.
Door Travel Adjustment
Two knobs on the opener control how far the door travels up and down. The door should fit snugly against the floor and not be too low, or the rail will bow and pull it upwards and cause wear and tear to the gears and shaft.
Raise the door until the bottom is almost at the same level as the doorjamb. Usually, a door stop will prevent the carriage trolley from crashing into the opener; make sure it stops just before it reaches the bolt.
Garage Door Repair Cost by Type
Maintaining your garage door is the most efficient way to avoid spending money, time, and energy on repairs. So, how much does it cost to repair a garage door? As you can imagine, citing exact costs is nearly impossible, given the variables. Below are rough estimates based on hardware.
Repairing a door panel ranges from $400 to $2,400, averaging $1,200. If the garage door panel is custom, it may be necessary to replace the entire door.
Replacing a garage door opener will cost between $200 and $500, which depends on several factors, such as the type of opener, the brand, the size, and the labor.
A glass garage door can range from $4,000 to $15,000+. It depends on the size of the door and type of glass, i.e., Low-E, tempered, double or triple-pane, etc.
Replacing the cables, including the cost of labor, will typically cost between $100 and $400. The garage door can run off the track if cables are left unrepaired.
Realign your garage door at least once a year to ensure proper operation and prevent any unusual noises or lack of smooth operation. The cost of realigning a garage door depends on the complexity of the work and the material costs, but you can generally expect to pay around $100 to $300.
Depending on the roller type, replacing garage door rollers ranges from $50 to $75 + labor cost. It's recommended you replace rollers every 7-10 years.
If garage door sensors don't work correctly, it can prevent the door from closing or opening all the way, or it could cause harm to people or vehicles if an obstruction is not detected. Repairing a damaged sensor costs between $150 and $250.
Additional Factors Affecting Garage Door Repair Cost
Certain door styles can be fixed fairly quickly due to their uncomplicated mechanisms and newer materials, while others require more effort. Older garage door models may take longer to repair, especially if having to replace any parts.
When repairing the garage door itself, the most important factor is the material required to fix or replace it, rather than the individual components that make it work.
Homeowners often select the material for their garage door based on their local climate or the look they want, which also impacts the cost of repairs.
The three most popular materials used in garage doors are wood, metal, and fiberglass, each of which has its own benefits and cost range for repair or replacement.
Although metal is solid and long-lasting, it still occasionally requires repairs, which costs anywhere from $150 to $500. Minor repair work on steel garage doors is usually inexpensive, although replacing individual panels can be costly.
Fiberglass is a great choice for a garage door due to its ability to withstand temperature changes and its lack of cracking, splitting, denting, or rusting. Repairs are much less expensive than those of wood or metal panels, ranging from $100 to $400.
Fixing or changing a wooden garage door is usually the priciest because it's vulnerable to rotting, cracking, splitting, and bending and is hard to repair. If a wooden panel breaks, it has to be replaced. The average cost to fix a wood garage door is around $200 to $300, but it could be much more, depending on the wood type and design.
The repair expense for a garage door is also determined by its design. Basic designs with fewer components are cheaper than more intricate ones with ornate embellishments.
A tilt-up garage door comprises one large panel instead of many smaller segments. Generally, replacing the entire door is more cost-effective than fixing it, and replacing a spring can cost anywhere from $150 to $300.
One-panel garage doors are prone to replacement because they consist of one piece of wood, which becomes worn or damaged over time. The cost of replacing a one-panel garage door can vary depending on the size and material used but typically runs between $500 and $2,000.
A sectional garage door is one of the most popular styles available, but its many parts are prone to breaking. Fortunately, repairs are not too costly, with a single part needing to be fixed or replaced costing only a few dollars. However, replacing an entire panel can be expensive, ranging from $800 to $3,000.
A carriage-style garage door typically has fewer parts than other types of garage doors, making repairs more affordable. However, it is usually made out of wood, which, as we've mentioned, is more expensive to repair. Generally, these types of repairs include hardware or window replacement. In some cases, a complete replacement may be necessary, ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.
Installing and replacing a custom garage door will be more costly than a standard builder-grade door because they are made to order and require more intricate work. Additionally, custom roll-up garage doors often require specialized parts that may not be readily available, adding to the repair cost.
The cost of repairs for garage doors can vary from $75 to $150 per hour, depending on the job. A more straightforward repair may warrant a flat service fee of $50 to $75. Please note that labor rates in urban areas are higher than in rural areas, and some professionals may charge more if they travel to a distant location.
The price of repairing a garage door may differ depending on where you live due to changing costs and varying labor needs in the area. Moreover, some areas may require garage door reinforcement to meet state or municipal building codes. Hiring a qualified local contractor aware of all relevant building codes is important.
Garage Door Repair: DIY vs. Hiring a PRO
When it comes to garage door issues and repairs, it is best to leave the task to a professional. Garage doors can weigh up to 400 pounds, and if a door is off its tracks, it can fall and injure you. Additionally, garage door springs are under considerable pressure, and replacing them without the correct knowledge and experience can be fatal!
Poor repairs may also cause the door to break and lead to additional expenses. Also, some garage door part warranties are invalid if a homeowner fixes them. Although you can do essential maintenance like lubricating hinges, tightening screws, or cleaning the door track, all other repairs or replacements should be done by professionals like Safety Garage Door Repair & Installation - we know how to repair a garage door, and get the job done right the first time!
Hire Professionals to Fix a Garage Door
If you're a seasoned DIY-er, installing a new garage door yourself may be tempting, but there are many reasons to call a local pro for this project.
- Warranty: Your new garage door comes with a manufacturer's warranty, offering protection if something goes wrong during the warranty period, provided it's installed by a professional. (We've had a few clients who repaired their garage doors only to be disappointed their warranties were no longer valid!)
- Speed: Professional garage door repairers are faster because they have the training and experience to diagnose the problem quickly and make the required repairs. They also have access to specialized tools and equipment to help them complete the job faster.
- Safety: Unless you feel confident in dealing with electricity and installing a garage door, it is best to hire a professional. A garage door installer in your area will have the expertise and understanding of local and state regulations to ensure the repair is done correctly.
- Competence: When you hire a garage door expert, you can be sure your garage door will operate correctly. A local garage door service technician knows how to install a garage door properly, so you will have fewer issues.
Get Your Garage Door Repaired
Planning for the cost of fixing your garage door can be difficult since malfunctioning parts can be a safety risk, requiring immediate repairs. The cost of repairing the door is usually not too high, but if the entire door needs to be replaced, the price will increase. If you are not confident in your ability to repair a garage door, it is best to hire a professional.
Safety Garage Door Repair & Installation has the expertise and equipment to get the job done quickly, safely, and effectively. We also provide valuable advice on maintenance and preventive measures that will help you avoid costly repairs in the future. Contact us today to repair your broken garage doors!