Common Garage Door Noises: A Homeowner’s Guide to Identification and Repair

Garage doors are impressive pieces of engineering. Thanks to modern advancements, garage doors operate much more quietly and efficiently than in the past. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t occasionally make noises.

While many homeowners don’t pay too much attention to their garage door, it may be trying to tell you something when the noise becomes troublesome or out of the ordinary. While some noises, such as the occasional hum from the garage door opener, can be normal, grinding and scraping noises can indicate a malfunction. In this article, the garage door specialists at Action Garage Door review common garage door noises, their potential causes, and what homeowners can do to ensure their garage door is cared for properly. Here is what you need to know.

Identifying Common Garage Door Noises

Homeowners who hear a hum from the garage door opener or soft clicks as the panels move into place can breathe easily. These sounds are normal for a garage door and indicate that everything is working correctly. 

As your garage door ages, you may notice louder noises that are harder to ignore. These noises often come from the garage door’s aging system as the moving parts wear down. Worn-down parts have to work harder to open and close the garage door, creating unwanted noises and the risk of garage door failure. Here are the most common garage door noises that mean your garage door has an issue:

  • Grinding
  • Squeaking
  • Rattling
  • Squealing
  • Slapping
  • Vibrating
  • Clunking
  • Clinking
  • Banging
  • Straining
  • Scraping
  • Rumbling
  • Rubbing
  • Popping

These sounds are not safe or normal—they indicate that your garage door system isn’t operating correctly. If you hear any of these noises, you should look into maintenance or repair services to fix the issue. The cause of the noise you are experiencing will determine which of these services you need.

Decoding Different Garage Door Sounds

A home with two garage doors in The Woodlands, Tx

Wondering what each of the above sounds mean? Here is a quick overview from your trusted garage door specialists.

  • Grinding. Grinding noises are typically associated with the chain or belt on a garage door opener.
  • Squeaking. A squeaky sound when the garage door is raised or lowered may indicate that the weatherstripping has dried out. However, squeaking can also be caused by an issue with the rollers, which allow the garage door to move smoothly on the tracks.
  • Rattling. Rattling sounds often indicate a loose nut or bolt. Other issues that cause rattling noises include moving parts grinding against each other or the garage door coming off the tracks. Loose chains or support rails can also be a cause.
  • Squealing. If you hear squealing, it is often a sign that some parts of your garage door are poorly lubricated. If the parts have been lubricated but are still squealing, it could mean that the garage door is out of alignment.
  • Slapping. Slapping sounds are caused by a loose chain slapping against the garage door opener.
  • Vibrating. Vibrating sounds can come from one of two sources: either the garage door’s nuts and bolts are loose on the track, or the rollers need to be replaced.
  • Clunking. This sound often occurs when the garage door opener struggles to do its job, either because of bad batteries or because the opener is dying.
  • Clinking. Clinking is another common noise that indicates the garage door springs or coils are rubbing together. A defective roller is another possible cause, but this is less common.
  • Banging. If you hear banging noises while the garage door is moving, one of the garage door panels needs to be replaced, or the garage door has come off the tracks.
  • Straining. If your garage door is struggling to close, the garage door opener doesn’t have enough power. This often warrants a garage door opener replacement.
  • Scraping. Scraping sounds signal that the garage door is out of balance and rubbing against the walls as it moves. 
  • Rumbling. Rumbling sounds often indicate that the coils need to be adjusted or there is a loose spring.
  • Popping. Popping sounds are serious and indicate that a torsion spring has snapped. If this is the case, stop using your garage door immediately and call a professional.

DIY Troubleshooting: Simple Fixes for Common Garage Door Problems

The sounds you hear from your garage door can indicate when you need routine maintenance— such as lubricating moving parts—or if it’s time for a garage door repair. While significant repairs should be left to the professionals, you can lubricate and tighten some parts yourself. Here are the issues you can resolve before calling in the experts.

How To Lubricate Garage Door Parts

If your garage door is making squeaking, squealing, or vibrating noises, it could mean that you need to lubricate its moving parts. To do this properly, follow these steps:

  1. Close your garage door. This will give you access to the tracks and other moving parts.
  2. Unplug your garage door opener. This ensures that the door will not accidentally open while you are lubricating the moving parts. It is also essential to protect yourself from getting pinched or caught in the door.
  3. Clean out the tracks with a damp rag. The garage door rollers ride on tracks when your garage door opens and closes. You don’t need to lubricate the tracks, but you do need to ensure that this area is free of dirt and debris. Frequently, dirt and debris can cause the rollers to get stuck or cause them to slow down significantly.
  4. Use a lithium-based grease to lubricate each of the hinges. You must use a special lithium-based lubricant from your hardware store to lubricate your garage door’s parts. Do not use WD-40, as this can harm these parts, making them rust faster or gunk up. When you spray the hinges, manually lift your door and spray each hinge where it meets the bed in the track. This will ensure that the hinges move smoothly. One or two sprays should do it.
  5. Lubricate the rollers. The rollers are the circular moving parts attached to each hinge on your garage door. Inside the rollers are small ball bearings that must be routinely lubricated to help the door open and close smoothly. The thin hose attachment that comes with your lubricant will help you reach these areas. Wipe out excessive grease to prevent the door from slipping and becoming unbalanced.
  6. Spray the outside of your springs and bearing plates. The springs are located at the top of your garage door. You want to spray the outside of the springs near the center of the bearing plates, which are the moving circular parts on both sides of the springs. Next, manually open and close the garage door to help spread the grease. You may need a step ladder to reach these parts.
    1. Warning: If you notice that your garage door springs are damaged, bent, or not moving smoothly after lubricating them, stop all work and call your technician immediately. Broken garage door springs are extremely dangerous and should only be handled by a professional.
  7. Spray the lock and armbar. Lubricating the lock will make locking your garage door much easier and help prevent rust. Point the lubricant toward the lock’s keyhole and spray it once. Once you have done this, spray grease on the large armbar at the top of the door.
  8. Lubricate the top of the rail. The rail is the portion of your garage door that the chain rides on. It should run along your garage’s ceiling. The top part of the rail, where the chain rides, needs to be lubricated periodically. Spray it, then wipe the excess with a rag. 

How To Properly Tighten Loose Garage Door Components

garage door opener

The natural movement of the garage door causes vibrations that loosen screws and bolts over time. These components must be tightened periodically to ensure that the garage door doesn’t become too loose or unbalanced. 

Before you begin, assess the condition of your garage door. Check the panels and other moving parts for signs of rust or damage. If you notice rust on a panel or broken rollers, allow a garage door specialist to aid you in repairing your garage door. While tightening screws can be a DIY project, it is important to remember that garage doors can be dangerous. Any signs of more serious damage need to be addressed by a professional to avoid injuries or further damage to your garage door.

Once you have inspected your garage door and are confident that there is no major damage, you can set to tighten the screws. Start with the hinges, then move to the brackets, rails, and the garage door opener. Ensure not to overtighten them, which will cause more harm than good. Turn the screws until they are just snug. 

If you notice missing screws, replace them as soon as possible. Missing screws can put strain on weakened areas of your garage door, leading to a higher risk of damage or breakdowns. Make sure you purchase the correct type and size screw for your garage door. 

If a screw is stripped, the entire part will need to be replaced. Often when one screw is showing severe signs of aging, the other ones are not far behind it. 

When To Call the Pros: Signs Your Garage Door Needs Professional Repair

As mentioned earlier, garage doors are an incredible modern marvel but can be extremely dangerous. It is estimated that there are an average of 20,000-30,0000 garage door accidents annually in the United States. These accidents can lead to severe injuries, such as lacerations, broken bones, and even being crushed beneath the garage door. 

Garage doors that are making the following noises need to be seen by a professional as soon as possible:

  • Clunking. This indicates a bad garage door opener or a broken torsion spring.
  • Clinking. This sound occurs when the springs and coils are rubbing together or when the roller needs to be replaced.
  • Banging. A banging sound indicates that your garage door has panels that need to be replaced or the garage door has come off its tracks.
  • Straining. If your door is straining, the garage door opener needs to be replaced due to insufficient power.
  • Scraping. This sound means the garage door is out of placement and needs to be rebalanced by a certified technician. 
  • Rumbling. A rumbling noise indicates that a spring is loose and needs tightening.
  • Rubbing. Hearing rubbing sounds indicates that the tracks are bent or too tight and need to be realigned or adjusted.
  • Popping. This is extremely serious and indicates a snapped torsion spring. Call a professional immediately for assistance. 

Garage Door Repair: Finding the Right Experts

Garage doors installation

There are many garage door repair specialists across the state of Texas. It may feel like they are on every corner, from the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex to the Austin area. Knowing how to choose the right garage door specialist is extremely important to ensure that your garage door is getting the care it needs and that you receive the best quality for your investment. Here are some tips for selecting the best garage door repair company.

  • Ask these important questions:
    • Does the company offer 24/7 service?
    • What warranties do they offer?
    • How long has the company been in the business?
    • Do they do the work, or do they use a subcontractor?
    • Do their technicians undergo a background check?
  • Get multiple bids. This is a crucial step whenever you have work done to your home, but for garage doors, it helps you get a ballpark of what the going rate is in the industry. Remember, the cheapest option is not always the best option.
  • Check to see if the company has the following:
    • A physical address
    • A website that lists their services
    • Great reviews on Google, Yahoo, or Bing
  • Ask if the company has any references.
  • Check their Better Business Bureau ratings.

Are There Any Red Flags to Keep in Mind?

Yes! To avoid scammy companies that are more interested in taking your money than giving you the best services, watch out for the following:

Excessive advertising. While all garage door companies advertise their services, reputable ones won’t put their name on every street corner with cheap signs. These kinds of companies often look for a lot of business quickly before splitting town. They will offer low prices, but their workmanship will cause more harm than good.

They go by multiple names. If a company uses many different names on its advertisements, websites, and customer service lines, they are likely evading something. You want to see consistency across these lines.

You get a weird feeling when talking to them. Always trust your gut. If you feel uneasy when speaking with their technicians or representatives, they are most likely not legitimate or honest. A trustworthy garage door repair specialist will make you feel at ease about the work they propose to do. 

Keeping Your Garage Door Silent and Smooth

Ready to silence those bothersome garage door noises? Contact the expert garage door repair technicians at Action Garage Door Repair Specialists for service in Dallas–Fort Worth, Austin, and Houston, Texas. Our dedicated technicians undergo ongoing training, so they are up-to-date with the latest advancements and practices in the trade. We know how important it is to have a safe and reliable garage door for your home. Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our technicians.

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