If your garage door is slow to open and close, don’t panic. In many cases, a slow garage door can be fixed on your own for a few bucks or even nothing but a few minutes of your time in some instances. Of course, depending on the severity of the issue, you may find yourself running to the hardware store or utilizing the services of a reliable garage door repair company to get you what you need. Unfortunately the world of garage door repair can be a dangerous one and it’s certainly not an exclusively DIY club (but we’ll get into that later).
A normal-functioning garage door should raise and lower at the rate of about seven inches per second, which means it should take approximately 15 seconds to fully raise or lower (assuming the size of your garage door is in line with that of the average residential home, of course). Now, do we expect you to get outside with the clicker and a stopwatch to conduct garage door time trials? Of course not. Chances are, if your garage door starts to slow down, you’re going to notice. If this is the case, here are a few of the most common explanations (as well as how to deal with them).
Let’s start off with the simplest explanation (which also just happens to be the easiest to fix). Depending on the model and brand of your garage door, you may be able to change the speed settings by way of a switch, button, or screw in the opening mechanism itself. Generally, a new garage door opener will come out of the box programmed at its slowest setting by default. So if the unit is new or fairly new, and you don’t suspect wear and tear to be a viable explanation for its sluggishness, you may be able to increase the open and close rate by adjusting this setting. Keep in mind, the procedures for altering garage door speeds are not universal and not always intuitive. You may need to consult your user manual or seek out an additional online resource that addresses your specific unit.
Your garage door operates by way of springs, pulleys, wheels, and tracks. When they’re working together as they should, your garage door will operate smoothly, quickly, and without issue. But as time goes by, friction (especially on the metal components) can become a major issue and cause extra strain on your motor. This is why proper lubrication is key in sustaining the life of your garage door opener. Lubricating your garage door’s springs, hinges, and rollers is not a terribly involved process. But you’ll want to make sure you’re using the right products. We recommend using a non-silicone lubricant like Clopay Pro Lube which comes in an easy spray canister and can be purchased at your local hardware store. Though you might have it handy, DO NOT use WD-40 or comparable products on any part of your garage door. Rather than a lubricant, WD-40 is a cleaning and anti-rust agent that will not help, and may even harm, your garage door’s moving components. Along those lines, avoid the temptation to use grease or oil you might have laying around. For a project of this magnitude, you will certainly want to spend a few bucks and purchase a product designed specifically for garage doors.
As far as the actual lubricating process, try to spray a dab or two of lubricant on each pivot point on the garage door itself; basically any metal hinge that opens and shuts as the garage door raises and lowers. From there, get a ladder and spray a bit on the pin that connects the trolley to the curved arm as well as the pin that connects the curved arm to the door itself. While you’re up there, you can also spray a generous amount on top of the spring itself. Lastly, spray a good line of lubricant along the top of the rail for good measure. Keep in mind, you don’t have to be perfect or cover every nook and cranny in this process. As long as you’re hitting each pivot point to some degree, the lubricant will work its way in simply by opening and shutting the garage door a few times.
Like anything else in your home, your garage door opener is not going to last forever. If your unit has a few miles on it and is starting to show signs of age, it may be time to consider replacing it. You certainly have the option of contacting a trusted garage door repair company to confirm your suspicions. They may discover the problem is related to something else entirely. Or you can skip that step and head straight to your local hardware store to invest in a new unit. New models can run between $150 and $300 on average, depending on the features and accessories you’re wanting. As far as installation goes, unless you have a decent amount of experience in this arena, you’ll want to consult a professional garage door repair company to handle the dirty work. Trust us, the installation instructions that accompany your unit will make the process look much simpler than it actually is.
Your garage door operates under a tremendous amount of tension, and if there’s a problem with the springs responsible for doing the heavy lifting (literally), this could also contribute to a delay in opening and closing speeds. Generally, springs are designed to last around 10,000 cycles (or around seven years at an average of four cycles per day). Eventually, even the finest springs will succumb to the effects of rust, corrosion, and general wear and tear. If your springs are weathered and visibly on their last legs, it might be time for a replacement. DO NOT ATTEMPT A SPRING REPLACEMENT OR ADJUSTMENT ON YOUR OWN! Messing with your garage door springs is incredibly dangerous and there are a dozen or more ways you can severely injure yourself in this process. With as much tension as these torsion springs carry, you do not want to be close by should they decide to fall or break. If you suspect you might be due for a spring replacement or adjustment, contact a reputable garage door repair service and let the experts handle it
Of course we’ve outlined only the most basic and common diagnoses for slow-moving garage doors. In reality, there are plenty of viable explanations why your garage door isn’t opening and closing as quickly as you’d like (and we’ve seen them all). If it’s apparent that your door’s problem is not one that can be fixed on your own, or if you simply cannot figure out what the problem is to begin with, your best bet is always going to be to contact a team that can offer their own insights, recommendations, and solutions. If you find yourself in this boat, contact our Anco Overhead Door team and we’ll happily provide you with information and the services you need.