Why My Garage Door Opens Crookedly and Unevenly? | How to fix it?

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It can be quite irritating when your garage door doesn’t open or close smoothly. If you notice one side of the garage door sagging lower than the other side, this likely means your garage door is uneven. An uneven garage door is usually caused by issues with the door balance, tracks, cables, springs or rollers.

Understanding what’s causing the uneven movement and taking the proper steps to adjust the door is important for restoring smooth operation and preventing further equipment damage or wear and tear. This guide will discuss the common reasons for uneven garage doors and the steps you can take to get it opening evenly again.

Understanding the Problem Why My Garage Door Opens Crookedly and Unevenly?

Before diving into fixes, let’s first look at why garage doors become uneven in the first place.

What causes crooked and uneven garage doors?

There are a few main culprits that can lead to a garage door that opens crooked or uneven:

  • Loose, broken, or worn-out springs and cables
  • Misaligned tracks
  • Improper balance or tension adjustments
  • Roller and hinge issues
  • Opener motor problems

These issues affect the proper balancing and movement of the door, causing it to sag and bind on one side.

Signs of uneven or sagging garage doors

How can you tell if your garage door is uneven or sagging? Here are some key signs:

  • One side of the door is lower than the other when closed
  • The door doesn’t sit flush or even with the ground
  • It binds or drags more on one side when opening or closing
  • Uneven gaps between the door panels or along the edges
  • The door veers off-track or shifts to one side

Potential risks of an uneven garage door shifted to one side when opening

It’s not just an inconvenience when your garage door operates unevenly. There are safety and equipment risks including:

  • Added strain can damage opener and hardware
  • Cables may snap under excess tension
  • Springs can break from imbalance
  • Rollers can get pulled out of tracks
  • Door sections can bend or crack
  • The door could fall rapidly if springs fail

Having an uneven garage door repaired quickly helps avoid damage and hazardous failures.

Common Causes of Uneven Garage Doors

causes crooked and uneven garage doors 1

If you notice your previously straight and even garage door now opening in a crooked, uneven manner, what might be the cause? Here are some of the most common reasons garage doors become unbalanced:

Improper Cable Tension

The cables running along either side of a garage door play an important role in balancing the weight of the door. If one of the cables has become loose or slack, it can cause that side of the door to sag. Cables may stretch and loosen over time from use.

Or if a cable was improperly adjusted during a repair, uneven tension can occur. Tightening cables so they share the load evenly again helps realign the door.

Worn Out Torsion Spring

Large torsion springs mounted above the garage door lift and counterbalance the door to allow smooth operation. But springs wear out over time and begin to break. A broken spring prevents the door from lifting properly on that side, causing an uneven appearance. Replacing worn springs restores proper lifting.

Misaligned Tracks

If the vertical or horizontal tracks become bent or misaligned, it can cause the rollers to bind in the tracks unevenly when opening or closing the door. Bent tracks need to be straightened and properly aligned to restore even tracking.

Issues with the Garage Door Opener

Problems with the opener motor or carriage assembly can also lead to an uneven door. If the trolley connecting the opener rail to the door is damaged or broken, the opener won’t lift the door evenly. Opener motor issues need to be repaired by a professional.

Uneven Weight Distribution

Improperly distributed weight on the garage door can cause it to operate unevenly. If heavy objects are hanging on the door, added to one side, or the panels are damaged, the weight balance will be off. Inspect for damage or additions to the door that may be unevenly weighting one side.

Steps to Fix an Uneven Garage Door

If your garage door is uneven, here are some steps you can take to troubleshoot and realign it:

Inspecting and Cleaning the Tracks

Close the garage door and inspect the metal tracks along both sides. Look for dirt buildup, damage, or obstructions that could be causing uneven rolling. Clean the tracks thoroughly with a rag to remove debris. Make sure the tracks are straight, intact, and securely fastened.

Adjusting the Cable Tension

Examine the cables on either side of the door when closed. Adjust any loose cable tension by tightening the winding cone at the bottom until the slack is removed. Tighten evenly on both sides so the cables share the weight load.

Aligning the Tracks

Check that the vertical tracks are plumb and parallel using a level. Make sure the horizontal track is straight and slightly tilted down toward the back. Loosen any out-of-alignment track brackets and straighten the tracks. Re-secure tightly.

Tightening Loose Parts

Go over all the mounting brackets, pulleys, rollers, and hinges to check for any loose hardware. Tighten any loose nuts, bolts, and screws that may be causing extra play and uneven movement.

Replacing the Torsion Spring

If your torsion spring is broken, the door will be uneven until it’s replaced. Never attempt repairs on your own. Have a professional garage door technician inspect and replace any worn or broken springs to properly rebalance the door.

Preventing Future Uneven Garage Door Problems

Here are some tips to help prevent uneven operation problems in the future:

Regular Maintenance

Regular Maintenance

Inspect your door and hardware regularly. Lubricate moving parts, tighten loose fasteners, and clean tracks to prevent uneven wear and operation.

Proper Weight Distribution

Make sure objects are centered on the garage door and avoid adding lopsided weight that can throw off door balance.

Timely Repairs

Address any minor issues promptly before they worsen and cause alignment problems.

Professional Inspections

Have a garage door technician do periodic tune-ups and maintenance checks to fix minor problems before they become major.

Working with a Reliable Garage Door Company

Find an experienced local company you can rely on for quality garage door repairs and services. They can help tackle any imbalance issues right away before added wear and damage occur.

When to Call a Garage Door Technician

In some cases of severe imbalance or malfunctioning parts, it’s best to have repairs done professionally:

  • Broken cables, springs, rollers, or opener parts
  • Bent tracks that won’t realign
  • Trolley issues with the opener assembly
  • Door sections that are badly dented or damaged

Garage door technicians have the expertise to diagnose issues, replace broken parts, and safely adjust doors for smooth, even operation. Rely on a pro whenever DIY efforts are unsuccessful restoring proper alignment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my garage door shifted to one side when opening?

If the garage door veers to one side or seems off-track when opening, this is usually caused by misaligned tracks or an imbalance in the door springs and cables. Check that the vertical and horizontal tracks are straight, parallel, and secured properly. Also inspect the torsion springs above the door to see if one is broken or loose cables are causing uneven lifting on one side. Adjusting the spring tension and realigning the tracks can help center the door.

How do you rebalance the garage door?

Rebalancing a garage door involves adjusting the cable tension and torsion springs so the door lifts evenly and smoothly. Check for any loose, broken, or uneven cables and tighten until taut on both sides. Make sure the torsion springs are tightened equally with matching tension. Lubricate rollers and hinges for easy travel. Realign any crooked tracks. Adjusting these components can restore proper balance and operation.

How do I know if my garage door is misaligned?

Signs your garage door is misaligned include the door not sitting flush with the ground, uneven gaps between panels, the door binding or scraping as it operates, and one side of the door sagging lower than the other. Using a level tool to check the horizontal track and vertical tracks on both sides will confirm any misalignment. If the tracks are crooked or door sits uneven, realignment adjustments are needed.

Conclusion

It can be aggravating dealing with a garage door that suddenly starts opening unevenly. But some diligent inspection and adjustment of the cables, tracks, rollers and torsion springs can often realign the door and get it opening evenly again. Call on the expertise of professional garage door technicians if significant hardware repairs or replacements are needed. With proper maintenance and care, your garage door can once again open and close smoothly.

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