5 Warning Signs You Have a Broken Garage Door

Justine Harrington
Updated April 27, 2022
white brick house with white garage
Photo: marchello74 / iStock / Getty Images

Highlights

  • Inspect the springs for signs of wear-and-tear.

  • Check the tracks and rollers for damage and obstruction.

  • You should hire a pro to repair or replace your door. 

  • Lubricating all metal parts of your door could fix the issue.

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Uh-oh, you just got into your car to leave the house, only to discover that your garage door isn’t working properly. A broken garage door isn’t just inconvenient; it also presents a security problem. It’s important to know how to inspect your garage door, so you can catch small issues before they become serious problems. 

That said, garage doors certainly don’t last forever. If your garage door isn’t working, there are a few red flags to watch for that could indicate a broken garage door.

1. The Garage Door Takes Too Long to Open

Most garage doors have one of two types of springs: torsion and extension. Because we use our garage doors multiple times a day, every day, it’s normal for these springs to lose their tension. If your garage door is taking longer than a few seconds to open, inspect the springs for signs of wear-and-tear. If they’re corroded or worn down, it may simply be time to replace them. 

It’s also normal for other parts of your door to become worn over time. Try lubricating all tracks, hinges, and brackets, as well as the springs (if they’re not visibly damaged, of course). If this doesn’t do the trick, it’s time to call a professional.

2. The Garage Door Won’t Open or Close

opening garage door with remote
Photo: mirsad / Adobe Stock

If your door won’t open or close, the culprit could be worn-out or broken springs, but there are a host of other reasons why this issue arises. Here are some ways to troubleshoot your garage door if it’s not opening or closing properly:  

  • Check the sensors to make sure they’re in proper alignment and nothing is blocking them.

  • Check the tracks for damage or obstructions. 

  • Inspect the rollers and lubricate them as needed. 

  • Make sure the batteries in your remote aren’t dead.

3. The Garage Door Opens or Closes—on Its Own

Creepy, right? If your garage door opening and closing all by itself, it’s (probably) not haunted. But rather, it’s likely due to one of the following reasons:

  • Your door is picking up wireless signals from a neighbor.

  • The circuit board is malfunctioning.

  • You need to adjust the limit settings. 

  • The control buttons are stuck.

While it’s not a foregone conclusion that you’ll need a new door if it’s opening and closing on its own, this could very well be the case. It’s worth consulting with a garage door professional to help you troubleshoot the issue.    

4. You Hear Strange Sounds Coming From the Door

cable operated garage door
Photo: Octavian / Adobe Stock

First, try to identify the type of noise. Is it squeaky or grinding? If so, you can probably silence the squeaks with some lubricant—make sure your rollers and tracks are well-greased.

Do you hear a loud popping or rattling sound? This could be because a nut, bolt, or screw has become loose, in which case you can tighten this hardware yourself. However, the sound could be coming from your garage’s spring system, and you should never try to repair or adjust the springs yourself. 

Especially if you’ve already tried lubricating the metal parts of the door and it’s still making loud noises, it’s likely time to contact an expert.

5. You Can See That the Door is Uneven and/or Off Track

If your garage door looks crooked or off track in any way, it’s very possible that you're dealing with a broken spring assembly or worn-out cables. As covered in the previous section, you shouldn’t try to fix a broken spring on your own (especially torsion springs). This could cause serious injury, so it’s a job that’s best left to the pros. 

Hire a Garage Door Professional

man repairing garage door
Photo: mokee81 / iStock / Getty images

It’s best not to try to DIY repairs if you have a broken garage door. Door repair and replacement is tricky and requires professional knowledge and expertise. Wondering who to hire to repair garage doors? A garage door repair person near you can help fix the issue. 

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