There’s nothing more dissatisfying to look at than an uneven garage door, is there? But although dealing with an unbalanced garage door is aesthetically annoying, as a homeowner, you should know that your uneven garage door is symptomatic of technical damage that shouldn’t be ignored. For this reason, repairing that garage door and fixing the imbalance should be a #1 priority. Being proactive in this way spares you the hassle of bigger, costlier problems with your garage door and reduces possibilities of injury.
But First, What Causes an Uneven Garage Door?
Well, before we get into unlevel garage doors, it’s fair that we discuss the mechanism that keeps garage doors balanced in the first place.
Opening and closing most types of garage doors rely on the torsion springs on either side of the door. In a balanced garage door, the weight of the door is evenly distributed to each side spring, making the tension in them easy for the springs to handle. This is basically how you can comfortably open and close your garage door.
In an unbalanced garage door, however, the weight of the door is supported by one torsion spring more than the other, making the tension in the springs on either side unequal. This, in turn, causes your garage door to be unlevel.
Since each spring has a maximum weight capacity it can support, leaving your uneven garage door like that for a long time will eventually cause it to stop opening and closing altogether! And this is a point you absolutely don’t want to reach! The damage might end up being so bad that the only solution, in that case, is to install a new garage door, which is obviously a much pricier endeavour.
So, how Can You Balance a Crooked Garage Door?
Before you get started, you need to have these three tools:
- Vice Grips
- A 7/16’’ Socket or Wrench
- A Winding Bar
DISCLAIMER: WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND YOU USE THE TOOLS ABOVE TO AVOID A SERIOUS INJURY.
Step 1: Manually Release the Garage Door
Prior to doing anything with your garage door, you must relieve all tension in it by pulling the release rope all the way down. This is to prevent the door from sliding up or down as you work on it. You might want to have a ladder handy.
Step 2: Loosen the Tension in The Garage Door Springs
Use the 7/16’’ socket or wrench and winding bar to loosen the door springs. In this step, you don’t need to release all the tension in the springs. You can simply loosen enough tension for the springs to rest against the garage door struts.
Step 3: loosen the Garage Door Cable Drum at The Hiked Side
The side of the garage door that’s hiked up has more tension than the other side. So in this step, completely release the tension in the raised side of the garage door by loosening the cable drum. Now, the cable in the drum should be fully released and this side should be resting evenly on the ground.
Step 4: Restore the Tension in The Damaged Side
Once you’ve stripped the tension in the working side of the garage door, place tension on the cable drum on the relaxed side by clipping the vice grips onto the torsion tube. This tension on the drum should not be any more than the tension on a guitar string.
Step 5: Tighten the Cable Drum You Loosened in Step 3
Keeping the vice grips on the torsion tube, tighten the cable drum on the working side of the garage door.
Step 6: Tighten the Torsion Springs Again
Retighten the tension in the torsion springs that you loosened in the first step while still maintaining the vice grips on the tube. Don’t tighten them too much, though. Tighten them manually first, then two rotations using the winding bar and 7/16’’ should be good enough.
Step 7: Release the Vice Grips from The Tube
Remove the vice grips from the torsion tube, and there you have it! Your garage door is even again.
A handy homeowner can follow the steps we’ve listed above to fix their uneven garage door. If you’re willing to DIY the job, we advise you to proceed with caution. However, we must stress that repairing your own garage door can be very dangerous, so if you’re unsure about repairing your unbalanced garage door, we highly recommend you contact a Garage Door Specialist.