Roller shutter sticking when lowering, what to do?

Your roller shutter does not lower correctly? You may engage the mechanism, it remains motionless or goes down but not all the way down? The good news is that this annoying problem can sometimes be solved easily, without being a DIY whiz! The first step to unlocking the shutter will be to try to identify the fault. Thus, you will be able to resolve the malfunction effectively. So, without waiting, discover what to do to unlock a roller shutter that gets stuck on the way down?

Why does your roller shutter get stuck when descending?

When your roller shutter gets stuck and does not manage to go all the way down, it may be due to different components :

  • The wings that are clogged or insufficiently greased
  • The blades that are damaged, misaligned or broken
  • One of internal components to the failing or broken trunk (tulips et winding axis particularly)

In rarer cases, the problem can also come from the motor, the crank or the strap. Nevertheless, generally, when one of these elements is incriminated, the shutter does not lower at all.

How to unstuck a roller shutter?

When your shutter gets stuck when lowering, you will have understood that several factors may be involved. To be able to identify the origin and thus effectively solve the problem, we advise you to follow our troubleshooting steps in order.

You have been warned! :- Never force the stuck roller shutter otherwise you risk damaging the mechanism. - Risk of irreversible damage to the flap. If you are not competent for the manipulations, call a professional. - Risk of electrocution. If you repair an electric shutter, always switch off the current when you carry out operations in the boot. - If your roller shutter, which does not lower correctly, is under guarantee, call on the after-sales service of the project manager or the manufacturer because the manipulations can make you lose your rights, whereas you will certainly have the right to the intervention of a technician without or at a lower cost. 

Clear the backstage of the shutter which no longer descends correctly

When your roller shutter gets stuck when lowering, the problem usually comes from behind the scenes. The two slides allow to guide and maintain the apron during its descent and its ascent. The latter, very exposed to the vagaries of the weather and the repeated friction of the blades, can end up become clogged, clogged, damaged or deformed. In this case, the sliding of the slats will no longer be optimal and the shutter will no longer lower correctly. You will therefore have to check their general condition, then clean them to finish by lubricating them.

1 – Check the general condition of the backstage

If the shutter seems to always hang in the same place, then you will obviously have to focus your attention on this part. In particular, make sure that no screw of the slide is slightly protruding or broken. You can run your finger along the slider to see if the screws all look level. If not, tighten it or remove it. If one or more screws appear damaged, replace them.

Then check that the slides are in good condition : make sure they are parallel, straight and fixed to the wall. Otherwise, you will have to reattach them because their arrangement or their spacing may no longer allow the flap to pass through, which will then jam during the descent. Finally, check to see if the slides are warped, swollen, or excessively damaged. If this is the case, they must be replaced to unblock the shutter.

2 – Clean the slides of the shutter

It may also be that the roller shutter gets stuck when going down because the guides are too dirty (accumulations of dust, debris, insects, etc.). The flap may see this as an obstacle. To clean it, here is how to proceed:

  1. Raise the flap in the trunk to leave the slides accessible
  2. Using a toothbrush or a vacuum cleaner, remove the dirt present along the rails
  3. If dirt remains encrusted, wipe with a damp sponge to remove it

3 – Lubricate the slides

If your shutter has trouble lowering, the problem may also come from a lack of lubrication of the slides which then creates abnormal friction, and eventually blocks the mechanism. Once the rails are well cleaned, proceed to lubricate them:

  1. Raise the roller shutter to release its slides
  2. Spray all along both backstage one small shot of silicone lubricating spray
  3. If your shutter manages to lower, raise and lower it several times so that the product is distributed correctly

Attention, it is imperative to use a silicone lubricant spray. You can get some in a DIY store or in the DIY section of a large supermarket for around ten euros. Other lubricants/greasers are not suitable for joinery.

We recommend that you clean and lubricate the slides of the shutter at least once a year to avoid the appearance of friction, squeaks and/or that they are damaged. 

Clean, reposition or replace blades

When your roller shutter gets stuck on the way down, the problem may also come from blades out of alignment, too dirty or too damaged.

1 – Clean the blades

If the shutter slats are very crowded (dirt, leaves, rust, etc.), this may jam the roller shutter mechanism. If that is the case, clean the blades following the cleaning advice specific to your shutter model (available in the instructions). In the majority of cases, cleaning an aluminum or PVC shutter is done as follows:

  1. Dampen a sponge by dipping it in soapy water (mild soap: Marseille soap or black soap)
  2. Swipe all of the blades making sure to be gentle and not pressing too hard
  3. Rinse everything with a sponge dipped in clean water
  4. Dry off the bulk of the water using a soft, lint-free cloth
We recommend that you clean the shutter blades at least once a year to prevent them from becoming clogged and damaged. 

2 – Reposition the blades

If your rolling shutter hangs on the descent, it is also possible that the problem comes from the blades which have shifted laterally and therefore block the mechanism. In this case, it is possible that the roller shutter does not go all the way down, but also that the slats go down askew or do not close properly or that you hear squeaking noises when lowering and raising of the apron.

Please note: Only aprons that are not equipped with fasteners (end caps and storm clips) are affected by this manipulation. Aprons that have fasteners cannot shift laterally since the slats are fixed to each other. To find out if your shutter is equipped with fixings, it's simple: try to shift the lower slat laterally (the apron should not touch the bottom of the window). If you manage to shift it to the left or to the right easily, the blades do not have fixings and the manipulation concerns you. Otherwise, go directly to the next step of the article.

How to reposition the slats of the roller shutter which gets stuck when descending? Two methods exist:

1st method: without opening the safe

This method is more laborious because you don't have a visual cue to be sure the blades are in the right position. In addition, it can only be done if you manage to lower the shutter until you see all the blades. Its main advantage is that it is more convenient to perform than the second method. Here's how:

  1. Stop the lowering of the roller shutter when the shutter is on the edge of touching the bottom of the window and its openings are therefore still open. This allows you to have all the blades visible and to be able to move them.
  2. Replace the slats one by one in the center, ie so that the slats are placed at the same distance from the two slides. To do this, shift them each in turn with your hand. Start with the bottom blade for simplicity. All blades should end up being roughly centered and aligned.
  3. If you have a chest that opens easily, open it to replace the high blade of the apron. The high blade is the one attached to the winding axis.
roller shutter stuck when lowering, what to do?
Realign the blades in the center one by one starting from the bottom
2nd method: by opening the safe

This method is simpler because it allows you to directly see if the slats are well aligned or not and if they are therefore responsible for the fact that your roller shutter is not lowering correctly. However, it requires you to open the chest:

  1. Open the trunk and lower the shutter all the way down if you can.
  2. Raise the blades five by five and check each time if they are well aligned with each other at the level of the winding axis. If not, realign them so they overlap perfectly and are right in the center (equidistant on either side of the wrap axis).

Note: If you cannot lower the roller shutter all the way down, you can still try the manipulation. However, if you are unable to move the blades onto the shaft, then you will need to pull the apron off the shaft, realign the blades, then put the apron back onto the shaft.

roller shutter not lowering correctly, what should I do?
Image 1: Blades not aligned on the winding axis
Image 2: Blades aligned on the winding axis

3 – Change the blades or the apron

If you find that the blades are damaged (damaged slats at the ends, deformed, unhooked, broken, twisted or deformed, swollen, warped apron, etc.), it is very likely that they are responsible for the fact that your shutter does not go all the way down. In this case, it will be necessary either replace damaged blades individually if your model allows it, either replace the entire apron.

Check the components inside the safe

When your roller shutter no longer lowers correctly, the problem may also come froma malfunction or breakdown in the internal mechanism of the trunk. In most cases, this is a problem of tulips orwinding axis.

1 – Check the tulips

The tulips are located in the trunk, at the top of each slide. They guide the apron so that it fits and slides perfectly into the rails. If they are faulty, it is possible that it jams the lowering of the shutter.

Then check if the tulips are well fixed, straight and in good condition.. Otherwise, re-glue them or replace them if they are too damaged. Be sure to buy tulips of the same diameter. If they are in good condition, take the opportunity to spray a little silicone lubricant.

2 – Check the winding axis

When your roller shutter does not go all the way down or does not go down correctly, the problem may also be caused by winding axis, the centerpiece of the mechanism. Indeed, the apron rolls up and unrolls on the axis and therefore allows the shutter to go up and down. If this is damaged or broken, the shutter will no longer be able to function properly.

Here are the points to check to make sure that the shutter does not jam because of the axis:

  • Make sure that nothing is blocking the descent of the flap in the boot (no foreign bodies or badly placed components).
  • Check that the apron is well centered on the winding axis.
  • If your shutter allows it, lower it to the bottom to check that the winding axis is not damaged (no shock, crack, rust, expansion or deformation, not too dirty).
  • Check that the apron clips are securely fastened to the axle and the top blade and that they are in good condition. Also check that they are properly aligned. Indeed, a slight offset of one of the fasteners can cause the apron to descend incorrectly (for example, it may descend askew) and this can jam it.
  • If you haven't done this before, make sure the top blade is centered and aligned with the other blades. Also check that it is in good condition.
  • Using a screwdriver or adjustable wrench, check that the screws and fasteners are tight at the winding shaft. Caution: avoid over-tightening as this may damage the mechanism.

If the winding shaft appears damaged or stuck (it does not turn at all while the motor is running or the crank/strap are in good condition), it will almost certainly need to be replaced.

What to do if despite everything the shutter does not go down correctly to the bottom?

So unfortunately your roller shutter always gets stuck when going down, then the problem can also come from the engine (electric shutter), the crank or strap (manual component). In this case, we invite you to read the last part of the article “ roller shutter stuck, what to do? » on the checks to be carried out concerning the crank, the strap or the motorization.

If nothing helps and your shutter refuses to lower correctly after all its checks and manipulations, or if you are not competent to carry out the operations, you will need call in a professional to unclog it. You can :

  • Call the shutter manufacturer's after-sales service. This especially if you are still entitled to the legal guarantee of conformity valid for 2 years (France).
  • Call the after-sales service of the project manager. This in particular if you are entitled to the ten-year guarantee (France).
  • Contact your home insurance to see if it covers the breakdown of shutters (France).
  • Contact a professional in the sector (carpenter, specialist company, etc.).

In any case, do not forget to ask for an estimate of the price of the intervention of the technician to avoid any disappointment.

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