An Out-Of-Whack Garage Door May Need A Balancing Act

An out-of-balance garage door puts stress on the entire opening system, whether it's manual or automatic. It can also pose a safety issue because it won't move smoothly and it may close unexpectedly fast, bypassing the safety sensors. Check the balance of your garage door at least twice a year.

Step #1: Disconnect the automatic opener.

If you have an automatic garage door, pull the disconnect cable that hangs from the carriage trolley near the automatic opener on the garage ceiling. This unlocks the door so you can use it manually.

Step #2: Lift the door manually.

Raise the door slowly. Be careful, because you don't want the door to crash down on your feet. If the door doesn't slide up smoothly or evenly, it is out of balance. It is also out of balance if it doesn't close on its own and the opening is less than 4 feet high.

Step #3: Prepare a safe setup.

If the door needs to be balanced, open it up completely. Set an open ladder beneath the door. The ladder acts like a jack, keeping the door up so it won't come crashing down as you work.

Step #4: Locate the spring.

Your garage door has springs that attach it to the track. One end is connected to your door and the other is connected to a bracket with a series of vertical holes.

Step #5: Adjust the springs.

Put on some eye protection and use extreme caution when handling the springs – they are under extreme tension. Adjust the springs downward one hole if the door was stopping when it was only partially open. If the door was unbalanced, with one end opening at a different rate than the other, adjust the slower side upward one hole.

Step #6: Check and adjust.

After reattaching the springs, check the door's balance again. You may need to adjust the springs again until you get the balance just right.

Step #7: Reattach your opener.

Grab the manual cord from the opener and pull it toward the garage door and upward simultaneously. The trolley lock will latch back into place. It may take multiple tries to get it latched in so the automatic opener works properly.

If working with the high tension springs seems dangerous, to you or the garage door, a professional repair technician, like those at AAA Garage Door, Inc., can also help balance your door. If you schedule annual garage door maintenance checks and cleanings, door balancing will be a normal part of the service call.