Why Your Garage Door Won't Stay Open
Rest assured, your garage door will likely operate smoothly for a number of years without any kind of issues. Trouble is, everything has its lifespan. Components aren’t immune to malfunction, wearing and age, so it’s always good to know about, and prepare for, the kind of troubles you could encounter.
Usually, strange noises and a loss of ability to properly open and close the door are the first signs that you’re dealing with some form of damage. Your doors might have become misaligned, you could have a few broken components to take care of, or you may just need to oil up some hinges. As you can see, garage door problems are quite diverse – and could be difficult to identify if you don’t have the proper training and technical expertise.
That being said, things tend to be quite clear-cut when you’re dealing a door that won’t stay open:
- If your door doesn’t stay open and automatically reverses on its own volition, you’ll need to call a technician to adjust your garage door’s close limit switch. This mechanism is meant to get the door to stop at the right height – if yours is opening too far or not far enough, it can become very dangerous to operate as well as being quite damaging to the door itself.
- But if your issue is solely concerned with a door that won’t stay open at all, you’re definitely dealing with malfunctioning or broken garage door springs. There are some ways to inspect the damage, but we strongly advise against trying any repairs or replacements yourself.
With that in mind, let’s move on to the crucial details that you need to know about your garage door’s springs – and why they can cause your door to lose its ability to stay open.
Garage Door Springs: A quick overview
The springs are essentially the support system of your entire door. They’re designed to enable the door to be safely raised and lowered as needed. A broken or malfunctioning spring could make your door very volatile – in some cases, it could easily collapse under stress if mishandled.
Torsion and extension springs are the most common types fitted in a standard garage door. They’re both tightly wound in position, though their locations differ slightly:
- Torsion springs run along a door’s frames, directly above the door. Because of their positioning, you should never try to conduct any kind of torsion spring repairs yourself.
- Extension springs are attached on each side of the door frame, on the upper tracks, with safety cables connecting them to the ceiling. Loose extension springs can be tightened up if you have strong DIY skills and a couple of vice grips handy – but, once again, actually repairing them can be quite dangerous.
Now you know more about the most common types of springs, here’s what you can do to troubleshoot your situation.
Visually inspecting your door’s springs for damage
This is more of a “look, don’t touch” procedure that anyone can do themselves. You’ll be able to spot a broken extension spring right away – the most common sign of damage on these is that the two safety cables are visible on the outside.
As for torsion springs, you should check for any gaps running between it. Also, listen out for any noises your garage door makes when it’s closed: torsion springs are notorious for making a racket when they’re trying to release excess tension.
Now for the hands-on troubleshooting
Don’t feel obligated to take the next steps if you’re not confident with home repairs. A qualified garage door technician will be more than happy to inspect your issues for you.
The first step is simple enough: If it’s safe to do so, turn off your electronic opener and see if you can manually lift the door open. You don’t need to pull it all the way up – halfway should be enough to give you an indication of damage. Your door should be light enough to be lifted with ease – if it isn’t, that’s another sign that your springs might need to be repaired or replaced.
Remember what we said about being able to adjust a loose extension spring yourself? If you’re confident enough to give it a shot, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:
1.) Fully open up your garage door. Get a couple of vice grips and clamp them below the door’s vertical track to hold everything in position.
2.) Look at your door’s horizontal tracks. You should be able to see a cable clip attached to an s-hook.
3.) Once you’ve found that hook, you’ll need to disconnect it from the track.
4.) Use one hand to untie the cable from the clip, without removing it completely, by pulling it forward until the spring begins to resist the pressure.
5.) Once you’ve applied the right amount of tension, tie the cable back to the clip and re-insert the s-hook. Pull the cable until you’re able to fit it into one of the track’s holes.
6.) Repeat these steps on the other side, ensuring the same amount of tension is applied on both springs.
7.) Release the vice grips to check if the door holds. If it does, slowly close it halfway to test whether it’ll stay in place, then close it completely to check if everything is properly aligned. Keep readjusting your springs until each of these steps are performed seamlessly.
No luck? Then it’s time to contact a qualified repairs technician. They will be able to inspect, repair and replace your garage door’s springs and components quite quickly. Make sure to hire a locally-based expert with a verifiable address, license and insurance details and a list of client references in the area. A credible business won’t balk at you for asking for those details, and they’ll give you a full price quote upon request (make sure to ask about product warranties and minimum callout charges when you’re making your inquiries).
Are you based in Peachtree City, GA? Then allow us to help! Peachtree City Garage Door Repair has all the credentials, tools and abilities to bring you full peace of mind about your garage door issues. Whether your door isn’t staying open or you think you might be faced with another problem, consult with our technicians and we’ll get things sorted out fast.
We hope this blog post has helped you understand what could be one of the most common garage door issues around. Now you know exactly why a garage door won’t stay open, and how to get the right help from a good repairs professional.