Why is my garage door so noisy when opening and closing?
Your garage door is large and has many moving parts, including the motor, drive mechanism, hinges, rollers, springs, cables, and the door panels themselves. When all those parts start moving, they can make a lot of noise. Add to that the fact you are usually standing inside your garage when you open or close the door, you can hear all the racket.
Let us look at each component and how it can contribute to the noise level.
The motor is a relatively small electric motor and usually does not add a lot to the total noise level. Unless you hear a whine or squeal from a worn bearing, you have nothing to worry about. Electric motors are very dependable, but sometimes minor things can go wrong. Usually, when things go wrong with the motor the entire door will just stop working all together.
The drive mechanism will typically either be a chain or belt running from the motor to the door, or a worm drive – which is a solid rod with a spiral groove cut in it like a screw. Chain drives and belt drives are more common and have a lot of moving parts that are constantly in contact with the drive gear. Chains and belts must have a certain amount of slack (or looseness) to function, but too much slack means it can hang down, contacting other parts of the drive rail that will create noise. Worm drives create less noise, but are more expensive (yes, even with garage doors you get what you pay for!)
Hinges between the door panels and rollers at the ends of the panels can often be culprits when it comes to noise. All those hinges are connected with screws (possibly several) which can become loose. This allows movement of the hinge, which creates noise. Looseness in the screws can sometimes allow enough movement to cause the door panels to become misaligned and result in very loud banging sounds when they realign during the door operation. The rollers move up and down the tracks at each side of the door. They contain ball bearings and sleeve or roller bearings, all of which move constantly during opening and closing.
The springs (usually located along the top near the center of the door or along the upper tracks at each end) are being stretched and relaxed every time the door raises and lowers. When the springs relax, they can sag and rub against parts of the garage door frame.
Your garage door may have cables at each end that get rolled up onto spools. The cables run down from the top spring torsion rod to the bottom panel, and can rub against the door panels or frames.
The last major player in the noise game is usually the biggest contributor to noise – the actual door panel you have. These typically come in three varieties: wood, metal, and insulated metal. Wood door panels can have dozens of pieces of wood, all with their own joints held together with screws, nails, or glue, and lots of opportunities for rattling and making noise. Metal door panels usually have much fewer parts since the panel is as wide as the door. Insulated metal doors are the same as metal doors, just with insulated panels added to the interior side. Of the three types, metal will usually be the loudest and insulated metal the quietest. The insulation works to dampen a lot of the noise created by the metal panels, but the large metal panels act just like speakers to amplify noise.
So right about now you may be thinking – with all those parts moving, there is no hope of having a quiet garage door function. But there are two considerations to make your garage door operate more quietly – adjustments to minimize loose parts and lubrication of the moving parts. Tighten any loose screws, bolts, and nuts. Grease the rollers, tracks, chains, and worm drives, and spray lubricant on the springs.
Lastly, you might have to contact a professional to adjust the torsion springs or tracks of your garage door. There is a lot of pressure on the springs, and a mistake can be costly and cause injury. Having a professional adjust and lubricate your garage door annually is not expensive and will keep your door running smoothly and quietly. The smoother it operates, the less strain that is put on your motor and drive.