how to fix garage door off track

How to Fix a Garage Door Off Track

Can you imagine not having a garage? One of our favorite things is the automatic garage door opener which saves us from having to get out of our car in the sweltering heat or torrential rains that we get our fair share of in Florida.

Like any at-home convenience we enjoy, maintenance comes at a cost. In fact, homeowners in the US spend anywhere from one to four per cent of the value of their home on annual maintenance.

If your home is valued at $200,000, that means you’re looking at spending as much as $8,000 per year on home maintenance costs. These costs only get higher, the older your house gets.

You can lower these costs by learning how to do some basic DIY repairs. Read on and learn about your garage door’s mechanics and how to fix a garage door that’s off track.

Ways Your Garage Door Can Go Off Track

Your garage door moves on a series of rollers. These rollers are on brackets which are attached to your garage door.

Then there is a track that is installed throughout your garage. On occasion, the rollers can get dislodged from the track for one reason or another. The first thing to do when your garage door isn’t working properly is to identify what the problem is.

The Track Needs Lubrication

To keep the rollers running smoothly, you need to ensure that all of the moving parts of your garage door are well lubricated. You can use a spray lubricant for this purpose or even powdered graphite.

Household oil will work in a punch, but it’s really better to use a spray lubricant such as a silicon spray. Doing this regularly will help prevent the rollers from coming off the track in the first place.

The Track Has Come Loose

Once you’ve lubricated the track, the next thing to do is check if a track has come loose.

A track coming off the wall is the main reason that garage doors come off track. Ensure that all the tracks are tightly anchored to the wall. Use a ratchet handle or wrench to tighten any brackets that have come loose.

The Track Has Been Dented or Damaged

Garage door tracks are surprisingly delicate and can be dented even from something like a child or a bicycle bumping into it the wrong way. Think of the tracks like train tracks. Even a small dent will derail the rollers. If you heard a grinding sound when you were trying to open the garage door, there is a good chance that there is an issue due to a dented track.

Check along the length of each track for any dents or other signs of damage. For small dents, you can easily repair them. The best tool for this is a rubber mallet as it won’t damage the tracks further. Alternatively, you can use a hammer or a block of wood but proceed with caution. If the damage is more significant, then you will need to replace the tracks completely.

The Track is Out of Alignment

Next, you’ll need a level to check that the tracks are in their proper alignment.

The way to check this depends on the type of set up that you have for your garage door. If your garage door is on a horizontal track, they will angle slightly at the back of your garage. A roll-up door, on the other hand, needs to be exactly level. Also, check that tracks across from each other are the same height.

How to Fix a Garage Door That’s Off Track

Once you’ve fixed the track, the next thing is to put the rollers back on the track. As long as the garage door has not suffered extreme damage, this should be a relatively straightforward procedure.

Step 1: Separate the Automatic Opener

In the middle of your garage, you’ll see a string hanging from the console that controls the door opener. Pull that string to disable the mechanical opening mechanism.

Once you’ve done that, you will be able to manually open and close the garage door. Note that the garage door will no longer be locked so you should make sure that the door to your home is securely locked if you leave the garage unattended.

Step 2: Open and Secure the Garage Door

Partially open the door and until the damaged track is lined up with one of the rollers. Use a pair of vice grips or locking pliers to hold the garage door in place.

Step 4: Open and Straighten the Track

At the spot where the roller has jumped out of the track, use a pair of pliers and open up the track. Next, guide the rollers back into the groove of the track. Finally, once the rollers are in place, you need to close and straighten the track. Do this using a rubber or wooden mallet.

Step 5: Check the Movement of the Door

After you’ve fixed all the rollers, remove the pliers that were holding the door in place.

Slowly open and close the door and check that all the rollers are staying in place. Assuming that none of them is jumping the track, then you should be all set. Reattach the garage door opener from the center console and again check that the door is opening and closing smoothly.

A Word of Caution

Learning how to fix a garage door that’s off track is an important DIY skill as a homeowner. That said, a garage door may also go off track due to a more serious mechanical issue such as the lift cord snapping. When this happens, there is a risk that the door will collapse completely. If this is the case, you should always contact a professional to help you with the repairs.

No matter how big or small your garage door repair situation is, contact us today and take advantage of our same day repairs to get your garage door up and working right away.