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Troubleshooting Common Wintertime Garage Door Problems

Those of us that have celebrated quite a few birthdays sometimes have a tendency to become a bit creaky, cranky and slow-moving during the chill of winter. And the same is often true of our garage doors.


If you’re going to have a problem with your garage door, odds are it will happen during winter. That’s because the frigid air of wintertime can be detrimental to both man and machine.

Below are some of the garage door problems more commonly encountered during wintertime, and some tips for fixing them.

Whining and Complaining

When you hit the open or close button, does your garage door vigorously protest? Does it generate a cacophony of groaning, moaning, creaking and shrieking as it opens or closes? These are the most common causes:

Improper lubrication. Though you may keep your door well lubricated, it might be that you’re not using the right kind of lubrication for winter. Cold temperatures cause many types of lubrication to thicken and become less effective. Shop for a lube that is labeled for cold weather. Generally a lighter weight oil will be better for winter.

Contraction distraction. Sometimes a loudly protesting garage door has been thrown slightly out of alignment. Frigid temperatures can cause metal to contract. When that happens, the rollers can become slightly misaligned in the tracks. Unfortunately there’s not much you can do about this particular problem, unless you want to make multiple adjustments throughout the year for seasonal changes.

Door Won’t Open

Lots of whining and complaining as the door opens and closes is distracting and annoying, but at least it’s not a showstopper. But when you hit the open button and the door responds with sullen silence – that’s obviously a major problem. And it seems to occur more frequently during winter than at any other time.

Here are the most common weather-related reasons for stubborn garage doors:

Improper lubrication. Yes, again. As noted above, thickened lubrication can be responsible for noisy operation. But thickened lubrication can also cause non-operation. That can happen if the lubrication is thick enough to trip the switch that’s designed to stop the door if it’s hitting something. Replacing the lube, or a combo of swapping lube and adjusting the sensitivity of the stop switch may be required.

Frozen shut. If your door refuses to open during frigid weather, it might simply be frozen in place. It’s not uncommon for an ice bond between the door bottom and the floor to be too much for the opening mechanism to overcome. The immediate solution, of course, is to thaw the ice. To prevent the problem from reoccurring, look for ways to eliminate or reduce the amount of water standing where the door meets the floor.

Zapped electronics. Extreme cold weather can sometimes cause problems with electrical wirings or circuitry. Hiring a qualified professional is the wisest course of action for addressing electrical problems.

Winter can be a Challenging Timeā€¦

Winter can be a tough time of the year for both people and machines. For both, making a few adjustments to accommodate the cold can help to ease the inconveniences of that time of year. And that applies to garage doors.

So when it comes to planning and preparing for winter, don’t leave your garage door out in the cold – so to speak.

This entry was posted on Monday, February 3rd, 2014 at 6:50 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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