In most modern households, the garage door and its electric opener are the largest mechanical systems on the property. Like any mechanical device these appliances need servicing and maintenance to ensure their efficient and safe operation. Unfortunately however, even with regular maintenance, garage doors and electric openers do sometimes fail.

The following list is a guide to some of the more common repair jobs that our technicians are called out to attend to. This will hopefully assist in diagnosing common problems with doors and openers, and there are some simple tips to aid with keeping you door running smoothly.

Repairing Broken Springs

Broken springs on Sectional or Tilt Doors. This is a common problem, particularly on cold winter mornings when the metal in the springs is “tighter” and more “brittle” than it would be on a warm day. Most of the time when a spring breaks its simply a result of wear and tear – eventually, over time, all garage door springs will break as they work under constant tension throughout their life. Regular lubrication will help to ensure smooth operations and inhibit rust build-up on torsion springs and this can prolong their life. When a spring breaks the only solution is to replace it with a new one. Trying to use an automatic opener whilst the spring is broken can do serious and lasting damage to the opener.

Most doors will have more than one spring (some have 4 or more) which work together to open and close the door. If one spring breaks, you can be sure the others will be worn too, and will be failing in the not too distant future. We would normally recommend replacing all springs when one breaks.

Re-tensioning Loose Springs

Springs losing tension over time – this will happen with all types of door including roller doors. All metal springs will lose tension naturally over time. They do need re-tensioning periodically. If your garage door opener seems to be straining, or if the auto-reverse feature on your motor is kicking in regularly, this could be a sign of incorrect spring tensions. Springs can be tested by putting your motor into manual mode. The door should be moved into the half-open position by hand, and it should stay there. If the door wants to close by its self, or if it starts moving upwards by itself, the spring tensions on your door are probably incorrect.

Replacement or re-tensioning of springs is a potentially hazardous task and should not be attempted by inexperienced people.

Damaged Drive Gear Assembly

Broken or stripped gear assemblies in the electric opener. This can happen to any brand of opener, but is a common fault in certain brands. Thankfully, spare parts are available for most of the current models, and it is a relatively inexpensive job to replace the gear assembly. When this occurs, the electric motor in the opener will continue to operate as normal (i.e make all the normal operating noises), but the door will not open or close due to the drive gears not engaging. In some sectional and tilt door motors that are chain or belt driven, the chain or belt will look loose and sag when the gear assembly shaft is broken.

We stock gear assemblies for the major brands, and our technicians are equipped to replace broken gears.

Overall age and general condition of an automatic opener should be considered before any repairs are effected. Sometimes it would make more economic sense to replace, rather than repair an opener, even if the financial outlay for the replacement motor is greater than the repair. In situations where a faulty opener is aging we may recommend replacing the whole unit, as an alternative to repairs, as new openers often have attractive warranty terms.

Lifting Cables Tangled And Wheels Out Of Tracks

These 2 events normally occur together. It can be the lifting cables coming off the drums that cause the wheels to come out of the tracks, or vice versa. If the tension of the cables on the drums is too loose, the cables can become tangled on the torsion pole and this will cause the door to jam, and the wheels will come out of the tracks. Similarly an obstruction in the tracks can cause the same problem. Typically when this happens, the door will be partially opened or closed, and will be jammed at a non-uniform angle (i.e. one side of the door will be higher than the other). Once the cause of the fault is diagnosed, it can be addressed. The cables can be then refitted or replaced, and wheels can be returned to the tracks.

Ballooning And Coning Of Roller Doors

Ballooning occurs when the curtain on the roller door does not roll up properly and bulges out and away from the central drum when the door is operated. This can be caused by the door being “too light”, and often the addition of weight bars to the door are all that is needed to address the problem. However, the door may not have been correctly pinned when manufactured or installed, or it may be coning (movement along the axle) that is causing the ballooning. These issues can be easily addressed by one of our service technicians.

Impacted Or Bent Panels On Sectional Doors

One of the most common call outs we get is for bent or damaged panels on a sectional garage door. Whether this occurs due to storm damage, a case of bad driving or even malicious damage, bent panels will obviously have a detrimental effect on the efficient operations of the Garage Door, and can be an eyesore as well. In most cases, the damaged panels will need to be replaced with new ones, which need to be manufactured according to the size of your door. In some cases where panels cannot be matched, a complete new door may be needed.

Most household insurance policies will cover the cost of repair or replacement of impacted or storm damaged doors. We are often able to do a temporary fix on the door, and get it operating satisfactorily by bending and bracing the damaged panels, whilst the new panels are being manufactured.

Manual Mode

We always suggest that our customers check that they have properly re-engaged their automatic openers after they have been put into manual mode, before calling out a service technician. It’s not uncommon to be called out to attend to a “faulty” garage door opener only to find that the gearing on the motor has been put into neutral, and then not re-engaged. Most openers have a red chord hanging down from them. A sharp tug on the chord will disengaged the gears, and then another sharp tug will re-engaged the gears and get the opener back into automatic mode.

Here are a few more simple guides to promote trouble free operation of your door.

  • Regular visual inspections – every couple of months, make a point of checking over the garage door for signs of wear and tear, rust or damage. Run the motor through its cycle and listen out for unusual sounds, or for anything that sounds rough and “clunky”.
  • Check over the tracks. Tracks should not be greased, but they should be kept clean and shiny.
  • Cables should be inspected for any signs of wear and tear such as fraying, kinking or rusting. They should also be kept clean. If damaged, they must be replaced.
  • Hinges, rollers and springs on the door should be lubricated. One of the most common faults we see is dry and rusted springs. This causes spring coils to stick together during the opening or closing cycle, and your springs will break prematurely.
  • Test the auto reverse feature of the motor regularly. This a safety mechanism on the motor, which ensures the motor will stop closing the door if the door hits an obstruction in the closing cycle. The auto reverse feature can be tested by placing a piece of wood on the floor in the centre of the door opening. Close the door. When the door strikes the piece of wood, it should reverse its cycle automatically, and open.
  • If you have safety features such as eye beam, these should also be kept clean and tested regularly.