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Is my Garage Door Unbalanced?

Identifying and Troubleshooting an Unbalanced Garage Door

Troubleshooting DIY / February 9, 2021
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Do you have the signs of a garage door that is unbalanced?

An unbalanced garage door can be a significant problem for your garage door operator. For those who regularly use the door, this can be an unpredictable danger that lies ahead.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for by reading our troubleshooting tips, give us a call, and we’ll come out to diagnose and fix the problem. If you’re a Huntsville or North Alabama homeowner whose door has the symptoms of an unbalanced garage door, reach out and contact Overhead Door Company of Huntsville/North Alabama™. Our technicians know exactly what to do to get your door back working as it should.

What makes a garage door balanced or unbalanced?

A garage door is balanced when the weight of the door is evenly supported by the tension of the garage door springs. When a garage door is unbalanced, it’s because the torsion springs or extension springs are providing too little or too much tension and, therefore, not properly counterbalancing the weight of the garage door.

In a garage door that’s considered unbalanced, either the springs aren’t providing enough tension to counterbalance the weight of the door, or they’re exerting too much. In either of these situations, the added strain gets placed on the opener. When an opener is forced to lift more weight than it was designed to, over time its drive gears, carriages, sprockets and couplers get stripped eventually causing the operator to break down prematurely causing a spring or cable snap.

Symptoms of an Unbalanced Garage Door

The garage door takes longer than usual to open or close.

The garage door won’t move at all.

The garage door makes unusual sounds when opening or closing.

The garage door looks uneven when opening or closing.

The garage door is slanted or sags when fully open.



How to Perform a Garage Door Balance Test

As the symptoms of an unbalanced garage door can be subtle, it’s a good idea to perform a balance test periodically.

Step by Step 

1. Close the door from inside the garage.

2. Detach the door from the opener.

For a belt- or chain-driven opener that operates on a square rail or screw-driven opener, pull the manual release rope straight down.

For a belt- or chain-driven opener that uses a T-shaped rail, pull the manual release rope straight down and back toward the motor unit.

3. Move the door manually to the open and closed positions.

It should move freely. If the door sticks, apply lubrication to the rollers and hinges as indicated in your owner’s manual. If this doesn’t correct the issue, or the door is too heavy to move, seek the help of a garage door professional.

4. Manually lift the door to the halfway point and carefully release.

The door should remain in place, supported by the springs. There may be gentle movement in one direction or the other.

If it slams shut or opens forcefully, the door is out of balance.

5. If the tested door is balanced, reattach the door to the opener.

If you have a belt- or chain-driven opener that operates on a square rail or screw-driven opener, pull the manual release rope down and back toward the motor unit.

If you have a belt or chain-driven opener that uses a T-shaped rail, pull the manual release rope straight down and activate the opener. Your door will reconnect automatically.

An unbalanced garage door usually means there is a problem with the spring, we strongly advise against trying to tackle the problem on your own. Garage door springs can be dangerous, therefore we recommend calling a trained and certified garage door professional.

For more troubleshooting tips visit our Troubleshooting Guide! 

Reach Out To Us to Schedule a Service Call


Safety Precaution 

Before going any further, we want to be clear. Garage doors can be dangerous, and it’s not uncommon for people to get injured while attempting any garage door repairs. Even experienced technicians with years of experience should work with caution, as it is in the highest insurance classification for a work-related injury. This is not a garage door safety guide and cannot account for every garage door situation. Always proceed with caution. When in doubt, leave the job to garage door professionals. They are familiar with the dangers of working with a garage door, hardware, and all of its moving parts.

If you decide to operate the garage door manually, we recommend that you either close or brace the door before pulling the release cord and that nothing is in its operating path. If you attempt any adjustments, do not loosen or remove any part of the door or hardware that is under spring tension or the weight of the door. Make sure the door is not jammed. Check that its path is clear and unobstructed before operating the motor.