Everything You Need to Know About Garage Door Alignment

A garage door that is out of alignment can be very frustrating, especially if it’s jammed so tight you’re locked out of your garage.  And even worse is if you are locked in!  The fact of the matter is that your garage door alignment should be fixed sooner rather than later.

garage door alignment

Garage Doors 101

Exactly how you will go about repairing your garage door will depend upon what type of issue you’re having with it.  Is it rubbing or binding?  Is there a gap between your door and the stop molding?

Unless you have a carriage-style garage door, your garage door will have two door runs that move from the floor to the ceiling. Then, they’ll go horizontally parallel to the garage ceiling (and floor).  The door runs are housed in a garage door track, one on each side of the garage door.

If you’ve had your door for a while or are in and out of it a lot, it can easily end up out of alignment.  Maybe someone bumped into it recently.  Or, it could just be that the hardware has become loose over time.  Regardless of the reason for your misfortune, there are a number of issues that can be caused from the problem, like:

  • The door may rub up against the stop molding, making it difficult to maneuver.
  • The door might be hard to open and close due to it binding.
  • There may be a large gap of space between the stop molding and the door.
  • A crooked or off-balanced door.

Any of these situations indicate that one or both garage door tracks need to be aligned.

A garage door that’s out of alignment can be very dangerous.  If it’s way off-balance, it could actually fall of the tracks and injure someone.  The door may get jammed and there could be an emergency situation where you need to get your car out.  A door that won’t close and lock leaves you vulnerable to burglars too.  A myriad of scenarios are possible so it’s best to nip the problem in the bud.

Usually, getting your door back on track is fairly easy.  Below, you’ll find all you need to know about garage door alignment. Check out our ultimate garage door buyer’s guide for more information about garage doors as well.

A Crooked or Off-Balanced Garage Door

If your door sits off balanced, it won’t just magically straighten itself up.  It may be crooked or sit wonky within the door opening.  Here’s what you can do to solve the issue:

Checking the Springs and Cables

The key components to a garage door with tracks are the springs and cables, so check to see if you have “jumped cables”.  If you do, repair or replace them immediately to get them back into proper working order.  If the task is too daunting, consult a professional.

Getting on Track

Conduct an inspection of the track to see if you have warped or worn out tracks.  If so, repair or replace them.  Also, check for any debris that could be obstructing your garage door’s movement.  Remove anything that’s in the way.  In the event that the door is sticking at a certain spot, don’t grease it.  Doing so can ruin the way your door operates and can actually be dangerous.

Binding Garage Door

A garage door is considered bound when it’s difficult or impossible to move up and down.  The following is a guide of how to adjust the tracks to unbind it.

Loosening the Screws on the Track

Use a screwdriver to loosen the screws that are in the tracks to secure it to the garage door frame.

Adjusting the Position of the Track

Tap the bottom of the track gently with a rubber mallet.  This will help to position it to the correct spot.  Then, use a level to ensure the track is straight up and down.

Tightening the Track Screws

With the track aligned property, tighten the screws so it won’t move.

Adjusting the Other Track

To adjust the other track, simply repeat the processes in steps 2 and 3.

Rubbing or Gapping Garage Door

There are numerous problems that can be incurred from a garage door that’s rubbing against the molding.  The same is true for a garage door that gaps.  Those problems can lead to worse issues and can certainly be quite dangerous and irritating as well.

open garage door

Here’s a quick and efficient solution:

Loosening the Track Bolts

Using a wrench, loosen the bolts on the track that secures the lower track.

Adjusting the Door Gap

Take the tracks and move them to the left or right, so there’s only a ¼-inch gap or less.  A very small gap is fine and will let your garage “breathe”.  Then, repeat the process for the opposite garage door.

Tightening the Track Bolts

Tightly secure the bolts using a wrench.  Give them a nudge to be sure they stay in place.

Weathered or Damaged Material or Hardware

Inspecting the Door Itself

The wood or the metal on the garage door may become rotted, damaged or just get old.  However, you can replace it.  Unless you have someone who can help you hold the door, the job may require you to call a professional to do the work.

Checking the Hinges

Carriage style doors work using hinges.  Check to make sure they’re in working order.  If not, simply replace them by purchasing new ones and installing them according to the directions.  All you’ll need are some screws and a screw driver or screw gun.

Checking the Springs

Be sure to check the springs to see if they’re still springing.  If they’re not, simply replace them according to the make and model of your garage door.  In the event that your door is so old the parts are no longer available, it’s time to consider replacing your garage door.

Fix Your Garage Door Alignment Problems As Soon As Possible

By using one of the above methods, you should be able to fix a garage door that’s out of alignment due to rubbing, gapping or binding.  There are times, however, that a problem is just too advanced to fix yourself such as damaged rails or corroded parts.  In the event that you run into such an issue, you can call a garage door maintenance professional who will take care of the problem for you.

Garage door alignment problems can cause you a lot of frustration.  Fortunately, with the instructions above, your garage door alignment problems can be an open and shut case.

If you need a new garage door, you’ve come to the right place. Feldco is here to help you find the perfect one for your home. You know you’re in good hands because we’ve served over 400,000 homeowners over the last 40+ years.

Get a free quote now and see why so many homeowners have trusted us with their exterior home improvement projects.

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