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Garage door sticking in cold weather
October 28, 2009 7:22 AM   Subscribe

So for the past couple of years when the weather starts cooling I've noticed that our garage door can sometimes become "stuck" when trying to open. This only occurs if the outside temperature is cold (below 40F).

What happens is I click the button to open the door and it starts to go up but after about 6 inches or so it stops for a few seconds and then goes back down. I might have to attempt to open it 2 or 3 times before it finally makes it all the way up.

Because this only happens during cooler weather I assume it's likely due to the metal tracks contracting. Is that a reasonable assumption or am I way off? Has anyone else experienced this before and if so how did you fix it?

Thanks for any help and input you can offer!
posted by covert7 to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
 
I had a similar problem and "fixed" it with a generous amount of wd40 in the tracks and by finding the dial on the opener box that controls the torque (or whatever) and cranking it up.
posted by H. Roark at 7:23 AM on October 28, 2009


WD 40 is probably OK, but don't put anything heavier on the tracks as it will just accumulate dirt and actually make things worse, at least this is what our garage door installer told me. I probably would even skip the WD-40. As H Roark indicated you probably have a torque setting on your opener and just increasing this will likely solve the problem. If your springs are very old they may have lost some of their ability to counter balance the door. Usually there is an adjustment on them. This would be my next step.
posted by caddis at 7:38 AM on October 28, 2009


My installation booklet says use a silicone-based lubricant in the tracks. I do, and found it has the advantage of not flowing down and forming a puddle at floor level. I also (once a year, right around this time) spray lightly across the horizontal gaps between the slats, trying to aim (from the inside) at the points where they are hooked together. And a resounding yes to having the springs checked: nobody told me these doors need regular maintenance and I let it slide 6 years until the door went diagonal and jammed tight on me. The repairman had to replace both springs and said I should have them checked once a year. But then, he was probably exaggerating to get some business.

Fine to up the torque if you have that setting - I don't. But I would wonder seriously whether that might overstrain the system if there's a block or friction somewhere which hasn't been resolved. If you leave the problem in place and simply up the torque to override it, I'd be worried about burning the motor out.
posted by aqsakal at 8:21 AM on October 28, 2009


You can buy a garage door opener service kit from Home Depot for a few bucks. It's basically a can of silicon lubricant to spray on the hinges, and a tube of grease to put on the central track.

You should also increase the torque by turning the dial on the opener motor - on mine there are separate settings for opening and closing torque.
posted by w0mbat at 8:36 AM on October 28, 2009


Thanks for the info so far folks!

Just a bit more info for those interested. About 2 years ago, one of the springs broke on us so we had someone come in and put in brand new ones. Also, the main unit itself is about 5 years old.

I'll certainly check on the lube situation and even up the torque a little bit. Shouldn't require too much I think since the unit works just fine in temps that are over the 40 degree mark. Kinda strange that the problem only occurs in the cold though. Interesting stuff!
posted by covert7 at 8:44 AM on October 28, 2009


There may be old grease somewhere in the works that's starting to harden up a little, and on cold days it gets really stiff. Get the servece kit described above and fiddle with the torque as mentioned; if that doesn't work, see the owner's manual and see if there's something that requires periodic regreasing or servicing.
posted by azpenguin at 10:48 AM on October 28, 2009


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