So you are experiencing trouble with your garage door system, when should you call a trained garage door technician? If you do not feel comfortable working on the garage door- Do Not Do It! There are a few things you can do easily in order to secure your garage door or get your car out, but in some cases it can be dangerous to move the garage door.
The bottom line is safety! What is safe to do and what is dangerous to do?
If your garage door is missing rollers, has a broken spring, or has a cable broken or off-line—STOP! IF for any reason the door will not move by hand normally—STOP! To that point, check the balance of your garage door 1-2 times per year to get a feel for what the door should move like under normal conditions. We have a how-to video describing how to check the balance here.
It can be very dangerous to operate a garage door if it has rollers out of the track. If you can easily get the roller(s) back in the track, try moving it up and down. If a spring is broken, the door will be considerably heavier and you definitely DO NOT want to run the garage door with the opener. Another situation that can be dangerous is when a cable is off the drum. Often times the door will get stuck at an angle in the opening, as the side with the cable still on the drum will pull up- and the other side without the cable on the drum will slide down. In these cases, you definitely want to call a technician.
If you cannot get the garage door closed and secured, you would also want to contact a garage door repair service. I recommend using a company that doesn’t charge extra for after-hours calls! There are plenty of them out there. You should expect a garage door technician to arrive at your home prepared to complete the work. If you cannot afford the cost of the necessary repairs, you may end-up paying for the technician to make the necessary efforts to get the garage door safely on the ground and secured.
When your garage door opener malfunctions, you can open and close the door manually (assuming the opener is not malfunctioning because of the door) by pulling the red-handled emergency release cord. Then move the door up and down by hand and determine if the garage door itself is causing the problem. Garage door openers usually have preset force limits that, when exceeded, will cause the opener to stop working in order to save itself. IF the garage door is running rough, or is too heavy, the garage door will not open or close it. IF you can get the door on the ground, it can be secured by preventing the rollers from moving upwards. Try a pair of vise-grips on the track, one on each side of the door, preventing the roller to move up. Under normal conditions, your opener is responsible for locking the garage door in the closed position. IF you disconnect the door from the opener, you will need to find another way to secure it (unless you can reconnect the door to the opener again because it malfunctioned in the down position).
Many service companies will be happy to answer questions over the phone, but it can be difficult to diagnose problems over the phone. They should be able to help you decide whether or not it is safe to try to work on yourself. You can also submit questions to our blog and we can help!