Top Causes of Uneven Garage Doors

For most of us, the garage door isn’t something we think about very often except to make sure it is closed when we aren’t home. We expect our garage door to work as we come and go, to keep our cars and belongings safe as well as to make entry to our homes convenient. When a previously balanced garage door becomes nonoperational, it creates inconvenient problems. 

Is your garage door uneven? If the answer is yes, don’t wait for it to worsen or fail before seeking help. Contact the professionals at Garage Door Medics garage door repair in Orange County. 

Common Garage Door Problems

The most common garage door issues involve the door not being level or the door sagging from the top and hanging lower than it should. Both of these conditions can lead to a nonoperational garage door if unresolved promptly. 

Why is the Garage Door Uneven?

There could be a few reasons why your garage door is uneven. Problems that could leave your garage door uneven include:

  • Poor weight distribution by the spring tension
  • Worn or sagging cables
  • Broken torsion spring 

Consequences if Your Garage Door is Uneven

You don’t have to wait until the gap in the garage door is noticeable from the street before it can cause a problem. The slightest shifting of the door can be an issue. Problems will occur while the door is still functional, including:

  • Unwanted insects, bugs, or rodents entering the property
  • Water damage from excessive rain or storms that filter through under the gap
  • Unwanted strangers being able to manipulate the door and gain access
  • Debris from weather and storms getting into the mechanism

Ultimately, when a closed garage door is uneven, it will move unevenly as well. This irregular movement adds work and strain on the rails and springs. 

The springs are what balance the weight of the door. Excessive tension on the string can cause a break. Over time, leaving the garage door uneven leads to complete failure of the garage door opener. 

Early Signs of an Uneven Garage Door

  • Able to see that the garage door is uneven from a distance
  • Slanting or sagging from the top when in an open position
  • Loud sounds when opening or closing
  • Slow to open or close
  • It doesn’t operate at all

Garage Door Sagging

Sagging happens when the top of the garage door, in an open position, bows, buckles, or sags between the rails, looking as though it will fall through. While sagging can occur from uneven door issues, it isn’t always the problem. Sagging can also arise from the old age of the equipment or warping. 

The only fix for a sagging door is to upgrade it. It is essential to distinguish problems in the door to determine if repairs are possible before purchasing a new one. 

Do-It-Yourself Inspection and Diagnosis 

A quick inspection of the garage door mechanisms will let you know right away whether this might be a simple fix or one where you need the help of an expert. 

  • Flat or damaged areas along the roller tracks can make it easy for the door to jump the track. These dull or damaged areas are repairable with a set of pliers. 
  • If the brackets holding the rollers are loose, they can cause uneven rolling and movement of the door. This issue is removed by tightening the screws and brackets on the rollers.
  • Hinges can come loose. If that’s the case, tighten the bolts holding the hinges in place. If the hinges fail, you can find replacements at a hardware store. 
  • Grinding or scraping during operation indicates movement issues. A standard door should operate relatively quietly, so additional noises require checking. Lubricating with lithium or silicone-based greases can often smooth out any rough or grinding motions. 

Dealing with an Uneven Garage Door the DIY Way

If none of these problems are visible when you inspect your garage door, then age and sagging may not be the issue, and it is more likely that the garage door is uneven. Another do-it-yourself balance test can diagnose this problem, and it is a simple three-step process:

  • Close the garage door.
  • Pull the manual release rope to separate the door from the garage door opener.
  • Manually open the door to the halfway point and let it go. 

If the door stays in place, it is not a balance issue, and if it moves or creaks unevenly, then it is most likely a balance issue. 

If the garage door is uneven, you may be able to fix it yourself with the following steps: 

  • Turn off the power to the garage door opener. 
  • Measure the drums on either side of the door and the gap at the top and bottom. 
  • Check the cabling to make sure that there is no fraying or tearing. 
  • From the drum opposite the gap, turn the set screw to adjust and raise that side of the door. 
  • Move to the side with the gap to mark the shaft and the drum. 

If the gap in the door is less than an inch, you will make an initial mark on the drum and subsequent hash marks approximately 1/8th of an inch apart on the shaft until you match the size of the gap. 

If the gap is more than an inch, you will make an initial mark and subsequent hash marks approximately 1/4th of an inch apart on the shaft. 

  • Using vice grips to hold the shaft in place, turn the set screws slowly until the hash marks align. 
  • Check to see if the door is level. If it is not, continue the leveling process until it is. Once level, turn the set screws another ¾ turn past where they aligned to secure and tighten everything in place. 

These are essential steps to help resolve minor issues. If these steps work to resolve your problems, consider yourself lucky and consider adding the inspection and balance test to your regular home maintenance routine to avoid similar issues in the future. 

When to Call in the Experts

A garage door repair professional should handle anything beyond tightening screws or leveling. Problems requiring a professional include:

  • Worn or broken garage door springs
  • Worn or frayed cabling
  • Worn rollers or bearings
  • Stripped or damaged moving parts 

Cables and springs in an automated door system are not do-it-yourself repairs due to the door’s weight. 

Garage doors typically weigh hundreds of pounds. When the garage door’s weight is not even across the spring supports, it causes tension on one side. Too much, or even too little, tension can affect the counterbalance. A heavy garage door that is not maintained and balanced is hazardous. 

Equipment such as tension or torsion springs and cables can snap when worn and degraded under the weight of a heavy door. Just because they haven’t snapped yet doesn’t mean they won’t at any time. These repairs can be complicated and dangerous. Let the certified garage door professionals handle everything from here. 

Once the garage door is level, there should be no problems with the lower seal on the door. However, if it does need replacing, click here for information on replacing the garage door’s bottom seal. 

Trust Garage Door Medics to Handle Your Repairs

Although unassuming, gaps of less than an inch thick can still cause problems. Don’t let a little gap in the garage door turn into a more significant one. If your garage door is uneven and the repairs require more than what you can handle following the do-it-yourself guides, contact the Garage Door Medics at (888) 997-2423 for an evaluation today.