Proper garage door balance is vital. This will help reduce excessive wear and tear on both the garage door and garage door opener. The International Door Association (IDA) recommends testing garage door balance monthly.

Identifying an Unbalanced Door

Completing a visual inspection is the easiest way to ensure the door, opener, and key components are operating as they should. You should watch and listen to the door as it moves up and down its tracks at least once a month. This can help you identify potential problems before they occur.

Here are some signs that the garage door may be unbalanced:

  • Unevenness: If while opening or closing, the door is visually uneven, this is usually a good indication that it’s unbalanced. This could result from either a broken spring or cable.
  • Odd Noises: Although some noise may be acceptable, especially if you have a chain-drive garage door opener, excessive noise can point to a problem with the springs or another key component.
  • Slow Operation: An unbalanced door may be slow to open or close. If not addressed, the door may eventually become too heavy for the springs to counterbalance its weight, causing it to become inoperable.

DIY Garage Door Balance Test

To test garage door balance, start by closing the garage door. With the door closed, disconnect the automatic opener. This is usually done by pulling straight down on a manual release cord.

Next, open the door by hand. You should only need to open it about 3-4 feet. The door should move freely and remain in the open position once you’ve released it.

Minimal movement is acceptable. However, if the door is quick to close or it shoots open, it is out of balance. Because of the tension garage door springs are under, professional garage door repair is required for an unbalanced garage door.

Watch this video from LiftMaster® to learn more:


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