When it comes to garage doors most people know about the opener, the panels and the remote. That’s about it. But a typical garage has dozens of components and if any one of them goes wrong it could spell trouble. Should a spring fail it can affect the way the door opens and put excessive force on the tracks, rollers, cables and more. Should the opener fail you’re back to opening and closing the door by hand. But among all the things that could go wrong, few people give much thought to the hinges. You know, those small metallic objects at the bottom and top of the panels that make it possible for the door to turn the corner from vertical to horizontal. Below we’re going to take a close look at the hinges as well as some of the common problems that can befall them.
Some Common Garage Door Hinge Issues
There are a surprising number of things that can and do go wrong with garage door hinges. Let’s take a look at five of the most common problems we encounter on a regular basis.
- Squeaky hinges - We might as well start with the most common problem affecting garage door hinges. And that’s squeaky hinges. People are often aware of the sound of squeaky hinges but they mistake it for squeaky rollers. Fortunately, squeaky hinges is not just the most common type of garage door hinge problem, it’s also the easiest one to fix. All it takes is a little WD40 applied to the hinge and your squeaking problem will be history in a matter of minutes. If you need you can remove the pin and apply the lubricant directly to the pin. If you don’t have any WD-40 you can use petroleum jelly. Petroleum jelly has the added benefit of not creating a runny mess.
- A stuck hinge pin - The stuck hinge pin is a common source of the squeaking we just discussed. But more than that it can impede smooth action of the door and put undue stress and strain on the motor and chain (or belt). If the door has been in place for 10 or 15 years or more stuck hinge pins actually become a pretty common problem. Removing them can be a major hassle. So if you’ve tried to remove them but haven’t had any luck your choices come down to A) replacing the entire hinge or B) calling the pros from A Better Garage Door. We’ll have someone there in a jiffy to set things right.
- Loose hinges - As hinges age, one of two things usually happens. Either they begin to corrode, swell up and get tight or they get loose and the door starts to rattle and roll as it rises and falls. There are several reasons why doors might begin to loosen up. For instance, in a place like Colorado where the temperature can be scorching hot in the summer and bitterly cold in the winter the metal in the hinges expands and contracts. Over the course of years, all that expanding and contracting can cause the hinges to loosen. Also, if the door was involved in some type of accident (say the car accidentally backed into it before it was completely open) this can result in the hinges coming loose. Finally, if any modifications were made to the door (say panels were replaced) the screws may not have been reset properly.
- A skewed jamb - If the garage door jamb isn't level it can cause the entire door to rise and fall at an angle. Allowing the door to run while out of whack like this can put an enormous unnatural strain on the hinges. The hinges, remember, are the only thing holding the panels together. So if the force exerted on them is not straight up and down vertical then it’s going to create problems. The hinges themselves may warp, screws will come loose and more. The uneven forces will also create stress and strain on the rollers and tracks. Some people would say that the only way to deal with this type of problem is to remove the door, level the jamb and then re-hang the door. But while there are certainly times when that might be the only option, you may be able to effectively address the problem in a less drastic way. If the jamb is less than about ½ inch out of level you may be able to correct the problem using a shim. If the jamb is more than ½ inch off though, you’ll likely need to remove the door and reset the jamb.
- A broken hinge - Perhaps the car made accidental contact with the door and broke a few hinges and panels as a result. Or maybe a branch fell and hit the door during a twister or a blizzard and broke some hinges. In either case, replacing garage door hinges is not typically a big deal. Any reasonably competent do-it-yourselfer can replace garage door hinges pretty quickly. But if you don’t have the time or inclination just call the pros from A Better Garage Door. We’ll send someone right over to set things right.
Garage door hinges are small, discrete parts of the door assembly. But it’s crucial that they’re always properly lubricated, securely fastened and operating effectively. If you have any questions about the hinges on your garage door talk to the pros at A Better Garage Door. We’re here to help.