Bringing Your Garage Door Back Into Balance

Posted on: 31 March 2016


The pulleys, springs and cables on each side of your garage door must work in synchronization with one another in order to open your garage door smoothly. Over time, ordinary wear and tear can cause these parts to fall out of sync, resulting in an unbalanced door that's hard to close or open.

This in-depth guide not only outlines the risks of operating an unbalanced garage door and what tell-tale signs to look for, but it also offers helpful steps on how to correct the issue.

The Risks of Having an Unbalanced Garage Door

It's not just the inconvenience of having a hard-to-open or hard-to-close garage door that makes balance problems worth correcting. There's also a significant risk of injury involved. For instance, the stress placed on an unbalanced garage door could cause the springs or cables to snap, resulting in serious injury or property damage. A door made heavier by balance problems can also represent a crush risk for anyone caught between it as it closes.

Warning Signs

If you come across the following, there's a good chance that your garage door is unbalanced and in need of adjustment:

  • Your garage door looks crooked, especially while it's opening or closing.
  • Your garage door starts closing by itself if it's opened manually.
  • Your garage door opener has a hard time opening or closing your door.
  • The door starts making strange noises as it opens or closes.

If you want to know for certain that your garage door is unbalanced, here's a relatively simple test you can perform on your own:

  • Pull the overhead emergency release cable to disconnect the garage door opener from the garage door.
  • Position yourself at the middle of the garage door and then raise the door up to its halfway point.
  • Let go of the garage door and make sure your feet and arms are clear of the door as you release it.

A perfectly balanced garage door should remain in place as you let go. If your garage door sinks shut, you'll need to increase the tension on the garage door spring. If it rises upward after you've let go, you'll need to decrease the spring tension.

How to Readjust Your Garage Door

In order to bring your garage door back into balance, you'll need to adjust the extension springs on each side of the garage door. To begin, place a short step ladder near the middle of your garage door. If you haven't done so already, pull the emergency release lever to disconnect the garage door opener and open the door manually. Slide the step ladder underneath the door and rest the door on the ladder.

Place C-clamps underneath the last roller on the garage door track on each side. Examine the extension springs and make sure they're not deformed or rusted. Do the same for the safety cable that runs through the extension springs.

Locate the extension spring pulleys on each side of the door and trace the cables from the pulley to the door frame. At the end of the cable should be an S-shaped hook attached to the door frame. This is what you'll use to adjust the tension on the garage door. Moving the hook towards the door frame will add tension, while moving it back will remove tension. Adjust as needed and test the garage door to ensure it's working properly.

If your garage door uses torsion springs instead of extension springs, you may want to step back and have a trained professional adjust the door for you. Torsion springs are under a greater amount of tension than typical extension springs, and the possibility for serious injury is much greater as a result. For more information, contact a local garage door company like AAA Garage Door, Inc.