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How to Repair a Garage Door

Woodrow Aames | Improvement Center Columnist | December 13, 2011

Trying to repair a garage door on your own can leave you feeling unhinged. It's frustrating when parts warp or buckle. Most modern garage doors and replacements have a long life and are relatively maintenance free. But not always. If you've sat in your driveway waiting for the remote to work or, worse, been trapped inside your garage when the tension springs or chain failed, you'll appreciate help in getting it repaired and pronto!

According to Robert Rayfield of Northern California's Chaparral Builders, many older doors require routine servicing to lube the bearings, check the chain and tension springs and align runners. A maintenance service call, he says, runs between $150 and $200 depending on the garage door and system. That's still lower than the $450 charge he says contractors will charge for installing a new system, not counting materials.

What can go wrong with a garage door?

Newer systems have a composite cable that requires little maintenance and provides longevity from seven to ten years. Sectional doors may cost a little more than tilt-up ones, but they offer greater safety, service life and ease of operation, Rayfield says. However, if your door and system isn't the latest and greatest, you can experience these breakdowns:

  1. Broken springs
  2. Damaged sections
  3. Rollers off track
  4. Worn-out hardware
  5. Cable off the drums

Sometimes, a door is just too noisy to tolerate or it opens in fits and starts. Unless you have direct experience in troubleshooting, lubrication, ordering parts and fixing your system, consider calling in an expert.

Finding a professional that knows how to fix a garage door

Not all garage door companies or building repair contractors are alike. Rayfield suggests that you research companies at your local Better Business Bureau or state department of licensing. Check on the company's reputation, licensing, bonding and any complaints filed by consumers.

Check what each company offers, too. For example, Precision Garage Door Service in Seattle offers same-day and 24-hour emergency service without an extra charge for evenings, weekends and holidays. Does the prospective company provide certified technicians, haul-away service for used parts and lifetime warranties on parts and labor? If the environment is your concern, is the company EPA certified?

You should not have to pay for an estimate. Most professionals don't work that way. Do your homework and you'll find that a little research can go a long way in getting your garage door fixed properly.