If your garage door has developed a problem with opening or closing incompletely, then it may be due to a problem with the track alignment or related problems with the hardware. Here is how to diagnose and fix these issues:

Tools and materials needed

  • Adjustable wrench or ratchet/socket set

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • Mineral spirits

  • Rag or shop towel

  • Measuring tape

  • Flashlight

  • Locking-jaw pliers

  • Section of wooden broomstick

How to locate possible problems with the track or hardware

If you have ruled out other causes that might be causing your garage door to hang or stick during its opening or closing, such as sensor misalignment or door closing force adjustment problems, then you will need to take a closer look for signs of maladjustment or defects in the hardware:

Measure the distance between rails

The distance between each rail should be equal throughout the path of travel for the garage door. If there is any tapering of this distance, then your garage door will be likely to bind. To check the distance, extend a measuring tape across the space between the inside edges of the rails in several locations: the bottom near the door opening, just beneath the 90-degree curve at the top of the door opening, above the 90-degree curve and adjacent to the opener. If you discover the gap measurements vary more than one-half an inch, you will need to adjust the rails as directed in the section below.

Look for signs of wheels rubbing

Some door opening and closing problems can be exposed by seeing where wheels rub or catch on the rail or related hardware. To determine if this is a problem with your door, closely examine the inside of the rails using a flashlight. Rubbing by rubber or nylon wheels can leave streaks of plastic residue on the rails; any areas that contain this residue should be examined for rail warping or obstructions caused by defective hardware. For example, if a screw isn't tightly-driven into place, it can push the rollers into the rails.

How to correct problems discovered during inspection

Once you have measured the gap between rails and taken a closer look at the rollers and their interaction with the track, you can make adjustments as needed. Here is how to do it:

Adjust the gap between rails

If the measured gap is inconsistent throughout the path of the track, then you will need to make corrections. The rails are mounted to the side supports that frame the inside of the door opening, and the use of adjustable brackets makes moving the rails a few fractions of an inch a simple task.

To adjust the rails, loosen the screws in the bracket grooves, and slide the rail bracket inward or outward, as necessary, to close or open the gap. Be sure to fasten the screws tightly to prevent slipping once the door is in use again. Once you have finished adjusting the rail gap, re-measure the distance to ensure you have made the necessary corrections.

Correct rail imperfections or hardware problems

If you discover problems with the hardware attached to the rails, such as broken or bent brackets, replace the defective piece of hardware; should you find loose screws, tighten them if possible, or replace them with longer screws that can be driven deeper into the wood supports.

If the rails are warped, apply gentle force using a pair of locking-jaw pliers to bend them back into shape. Inserting a section of broomstick into the rounded part of the interior of the track channel, then applying force around the broomstick can help "reshape" the track. Be careful not to overextend the metal as too much flexing can cause fatigue and breaking, which might necessitate replacement of the entire track section.

If you need help resolving your garage door problems, contact a company like America's Garage Doors LLC.