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I have a 7 year old, 4-section automatic garage door that has been working fine until recently. When I open it, the second section (the one beneath the uppermost section) is catching on the upper (horizontal) door frame and resisting travel. So far not enough to cause the motor to disengage but enough so that it hangs, then quickly releases.

The door has had nothing run into it, no accidents or anything which would cause the door to bow. My gut feeling is that age has cause the present linkage to go out of adjustment, but I'm not sure.

Is this a common problem and can it be rectified??

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A picture showing exactly where it's catching would be very helpful. –  The Evil Greebo Dec 3 '12 at 18:56
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First thing I'd try is to get a can of garage door lubricant (there is a specific product for this) and liberally spray all of the tracks, hinges, springs, etc. - basically anything that moves –  Steven Dec 3 '12 at 19:13
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Get a ladder a verify there is no debris sitting in the horizontal section of the track. With a permanant marker mark each of the guide wheels and make sure they are rolling in the track not just sliding along as the door opens. If they aren't rolling then try the lube. –  mikes Dec 3 '12 at 21:42
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2 Answers

I would think the most likely candidate would be weakened springs. The springs that support the door are ridiculously strong, but do loose their strength over time. If they have weakened, the motor of your door opener has to lift more weight. The heavier the load, the more likely it will be to hang up on something. I would start by yanking the release rope on the door opener and lifting the door manually. Does it hang in the same place? Lube is definitely one thing to try. I would also check all the hardware connecting the guide wheels to the door and make sure all the screws are tight.

If the lube doesn't help and all the guide wheels are tight and it still hangs when opening manually, it's either a problem with the track or the springs. You could inspect the track itself for debris or call a pro. If you decide it is a spring issue, definitely call a pro. Even a weakened spring is still very strong and can cause injury if not handled properly.

If the lube doesn't help and all the guide wheels are tight and it does not hang when opening manually, there is probably an issue with the automatic garage door opener. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to install.

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If you disengage the garage door opener and lift the door up by hand, is it an effort to lift it? If you let go of the door in mid-air, does it stay there? if not, then you probably need the springs re-tensioned.

I recently had my springs re-tensioned on my garage door which is quite large (14'x11.5') and heavy. The door wouldn't stay up on its own and I recently striped the drive gear in the opener (the gears are only plastic). I do not recommend re-tensioning the springs yourself, they can be quite dangerous! I would recommend getting someone out to look at that.

To check your alignment take a level and check to see if the door is level (horizontally along the top edge and vertically along the side). My door was out of alignment and needed to be brought back to true. The repairman fixed that in the process of re-tensioning the springs. The process looked simple, but if I would have done it on my own, without first seeing what he did, would have probably made things worse :-)

In addition to lubing the wheels and hinges, spray a light oil coating onto the springs themselves. I was told that rust forming on the springs causes friction and makes the automatic opener work harder then it should. This should be performed on a periodic basis probably twice a year to keep everything in good working order.

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