When Does A Faulty Garage Door Become A Safety Concern?

Unless you've spent your whole life living in brand-new or meticulously maintained houses, you've probably experienced many garage door issues. For many homeowners, garage doors can be as much of a nuisance as a blessing. Faulty garage doors can create numerous annoying issues, from rattling and creaking to frustratingly slow operation.

However, not every problem with your garage door is a minor issue you can live with until you get around to fixing it. A typical garage door weighs around 100–200 lbs, with some weighing even more. With so much weight suspended in the air, garage doors can be potentially dangerous. If your door is experiencing any of these three issues, you may have a safety problem requiring immediate attention.

1. Damaged or Missing Safety Cables

Most garage doors use large springs along their horizontal tracks. These springs are known as extension springs, and their primary purpose is to make lifting the door much easier. Since garage doors are so heavy, lifting one can be arduous, requiring a lot of muscle power or a strong motor. Extension springs reduce the effort required by storing energy as you lower your garage door.

However, extension strings are under a huge amount of tension in the lowered position, and a snapped spring can cause deaths, serious injuries, or major property damage. Safety cables running through these springs help minimize damage should they fail. If your safety cables are missing or broken, repairing them is essential to keep your garage doors as safe as possible.

2. Failing Extension Springs

Because they expand and contract when you close and open your garage door, your extension springs will eventually wear out. Since most garages aren't climate controlled, the metal in extension springs can also wear out over time due to corrosion and changing temperatures. Without working extension springs, your garage door will be difficult and unsafe to operate.

The signs of failing extension springs can be numerous, but common warning signs include an unbalanced door, erratic movement, or, in extreme cases, sudden drops. A faulty extension spring can be dangerous for numerous reasons, so it's important to replace them if you notice these signs or if they appear severely rusty. Working with springs is extremely dangerous and always requires a professional.

3. Severely Misaligned or Damaged Tracks

Your tracks help guide the garage door as it moves up and down, but they're also an important safety element. Without correctly aligned tracks, your door could come down at an angle or drop unevenly, potentially becoming a hazard to anyone nearby. Tracks can fail due to rust or physical damage from bumps and other impacts.

It can sometimes be hard to determine if your tracks are to blame for issues with your door, but jams, loud noises, and slow operation may be indications of a misalignment. While these symptoms aren't always dangerous, allowing a professional to investigate before the problem worsens is usually a good idea.

Contact a garage door repair service to learn more.