3 Problems Causing Your Garage Door's Crooked Cycles

You've used your garage door on a daily basis for the past several years. Whether you're beginning your morning commute, pulling lawn tools out of your garage, or simply letting in some fresh air, you've been able to press a button on your wall and have your door open without a problem. However, your door is now becoming more and more crooked each time you cycle your door. Instead of ignoring this problem, inspect your door assembly for one of these issues:

Failing Torsion Spring

The set of powerful torsion springs at the top of your garage door assembly generates nearly all the power required to cycle your door. These springs are extremely durable, but can fail after they've been in use for 15,000 to 20,000 cycles.

Each time you cycle your door, your torsion springs wind and unwind. During this process, the coils of your springs lose a small amount of elasticity. Although the amount of elasticity lost from each cycle is impossible to notice right away, it certainly adds up over the course of a few years.

Typically, both your torsion springs will require adjustment or replacement at the same time. However, if your door is cycling unevenly, then it can mean that one of your springs has experienced more wear than the other. This typically occurs when one of your springs is installed incorrectly or develops corrosion damage.

Misaligned or Broken Cable

Your counterbalance system (the mechanisms responsible for cycling your door) transfers the power it produces through your cables and into the bottom panel of your door. Just as a faulty spring will cause your door to cycle crooked, so will a misaligned or damaged cable.

Your cables are designed to wind around the drums on each side of your door while your door cycles. If one of your cables becomes stuck, misaligned, or slips off one of your drums, then it will end up being tighter (or looser) than your other cable. As a result, the side of your door with the malfunctioning cable will end up causing your door to become crooked.

Luckily, misaligned or slipping cables can be fixed—as long as you understand how your counterbalance system operates.

Your cables, even while misaligned or out of place, are under extreme tension. The tension from your springs must be released before you're able to rewind your cables around your drums—which can be performed by carefully loosening your winding cones. If you fail to relieve the tension of your springs before adjusting your cables, then you run the risk of having a snapped cable whip around your garage. Even though it's possible to perform this task on your own, you may want to leave it to a professional if you haven't adjusted your winding cones in the past.

Similarly to misaligned or slipping cables, a frayed or stretched cable will create uneven slack on one of your cables and cause it to raise or lower your door at a faster rate than the opposite side of your door. In such a case, the cable must be replaced instead of adjusted.

Seized Rollers

Your rollers rely on bearings to roll smoothly throughout your guide tracks. However, since your garage is a dirty environment, debris will settle in your guide tracks. As each of your rollers glides through your tracks, they'll accumulate debris that ends up getting caught in their bearing cages.

When enough large debris (such as pet fur or cobwebs) becomes caught in one of your rollers, the roller will fail to glide through your track. Instead, it will scrape along your guide track and create a large amount of friction that can be powerful enough to stop your garage door's closing cycle.

If you notice a loud scraping noise while your door settles to a crooked halt, then it's likely you have a seized roller. In most cases, you can use a degreasing agent and a gas duster to blast debris out of a roller's bearing cage. However, if the roller has been seized for an extended amount of time, then it will need to be replaced instead of cleaned. For more info, contact a professional.