3 Key Components in an Automatic Garage Door

A surprising 45 percent of homeowners use an automatic garage door as the primary means of entering their home. For that reason, automatic garage door openers not only rank among the most convenient home appliances but also the most heavily used. Yet despite the ubiquity of automatic garage door openers, many homeowners fail to understand how these systems work.

Unfortunately, that lack of knowledge can make it hard to diagnose problems as they occur. If you would like to improve your understanding of your garage door and help keep repair costs to a minimum, keep reading. This article takes a closer look at three key components necessary for keeping your garage door functioning smoothly.

  1. Springs

Contrary to most people’s understanding, the majority of the power used to open and close a garage door does not come from the overhead motor. Instead, the motor simply supplies a small amount of power necessary to engage movement. The bulk of the lifting power actually comes from your garage door springs.

A garage door may utilize one of two types of springs: extension or torsion springs. Older systems commonly used extension springs, which generate force by expanding and contracting. Torsion springs, by contrast, generate force through a twisting motion. Torsion springs offer key advantages in terms of life span and safety, making them the most popular choice for newer garage door systems.

You can easily determine which type of spring your door uses by a quick visual inspection. If your springs mount horizontally on either side of the door, you have extension springs. Torsion springs, by contrast, wrap around a bar mounted above the top of the garage door frame.

Both types of garage door springs experience wear and tear as time goes on. Metal fatigue eventually causes a garage door spring to break. At that point, your door may cease to work. Alternatively, the door may only open a few inches. If you try to lift the door manually, it may seem unusually heavy. Contact a repair professional as soon as possible if you notice such symptoms.

  1. Cables

The lifting force provided by the springs acts on the door by mean of the cables. Garage door cables consist of galvanized wires twisted together into fat strands. One end of each cable attaches to the bottom of your garage door. When the spring engages, its force causes the spring to contract, wrapping around a special roller drum.

Cables thus do the actual work of lifting the garage door. In systems with extension springs, cables serve a secondary purpose as well: securing the springs in case of breakage. Otherwise, the spring would fly through the air and could easily cause serious injury to anybody it happened to strike.

Every time your door opens or closes, the cables move. Over time, friction causes individual metal wires to break, leading to progressively more fraying. Cables may also develop corrosion as the result of moisture exposure where they attach to the bottom of the garage door. Eventually, a cable may fail entirely, making it difficult if not impossible to open and close the door.

  1. Tracks and Rollers

Although technically two different components, tracks and rollers work together to achieve a common goal: safely guiding the passage of your garage door upward. Metal tracks reside on either side of the door. Rollers attached to the door itself sit inside of the curved housing of the tracks.

In a well-maintained garage door system, the tracks and rollers ensure that the door enjoys freedom of movement with a minimum of friction. Over time, however, problems often impede smooth functioning. Tracks become dented or bent. Roller bearings may seize up or the plastic heads break.

A large number of components must work together to keep a garage door working smoothly. To learn more about how to keep your door in prime working order, please contact the garage experts at AAA Garage Door Inc.


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