Is Your Garage Door Off Track?
Garage doors are essential for security and convenience and are often the main way families get into their homes. Using them every day means they experience wear and tear, which sometimes leads to an off-track garage door.
It can be a frustrating and sometimes dangerous situation. But, if you understand how it happens, you can help prevent any issues.
Here are some of the reasons your garage door could go off track and when you should call the pros.
Garage Door Tracks and Other Components
Before getting into what causes an off-track garage door, it helps to understand a few of the essential parts of a garage door system.
1. Tracks – These are metal channels on each side of the door, guiding its movement.
2. Rollers – These small wheels attach to the door’s sides and help it move up and down the tracks.
3. Springs – Your garage door has either a torsion spring or extension spring system that helps lift and lower the door.
When one or more of these components isn’t working, it can cause the garage door to malfunction.
Common Causes of Off-Track Garage Doors
Garage doors rely on many small parts – especially the three above – working together smoothly to keep your door working. Here are some of the common reasons they stop.
Even though garage door rollers are small, they are vital for the door’s smooth functioning. Over time, they can develop issues like wobbling, getting stuck, wearing out, or falling off completely. Since they are essential for the safe operation of your garage door, any trouble with them can cause problems with the door’s movement.
Bent or Broken Tracks
If your garage door goes off its track, one potential culprit could be bent or misshapen tracks. Garage doors are heavy, and when other components aren’t working properly, it can strain the tracks, causing them to bend and warp. Identifying the cause of the damaged tracks helps prevent this issue in the future.
Well-maintained garage door springs make sure your door smoothly opens and closes without any slamming. If these springs aren’t in good shape, your garage door could operate with excessive force, which may make it veer off track. Broken springs are dangerous and should only be fixed by a professional.
Damage From Impact
Accidents happen, and it’s not uncommon for a garage door to be damaged by impact. Maybe you accidentally hit the bottom when pulling out, or some other object – like a lawnmower or bicycle – ran into your door. Either way, even small impacts can harm your door. It’s important to have it inspected right away after an accident.
Your garage door cables endure significant tension and come into contact with other components during operation. Over time, this friction can wear down even the sturdiest cables, causing them to weaken. When the cables become frayed, they prevent your door from opening and closing smoothly (if at all). This puts extra stress on other parts and can lead to the garage door becoming unbalanced and going off track.
Everyday Wear and Tear
Many garage door parts have an expected lifespan of 10,000 cycles. If you use your garage door twice a day, that’s about seven years. Parts can last longer with proper maintenance, but components will still need to be replaced eventually and can cause issues with your door when they wear out.
Recognizing an Off-Track Garage Door
How will you know if your garage door is off track? While it’s best to rely on professionals to diagnose garage door issues, your garage will give you some signs that something is “off.”
Here are a few indications that you may be dealing with an off-track garage door:
- Visible gaps between the track and rollers – Typically, you shouldn’t see any gaps between your garage door rollers and the track. Seeing those gaps – or rollers that are totally separated from the tracks – indicates that the door is off-track.
- Noisy operation – If you hear loud, annoying squeaks, your garage door might just need some lubrication, especially the rollers. But if lubrication doesn’t fix the noise, a more serious problem with the garage door track could be the issue.
- Slow movement – If your garage door seems to move slower than usual when opening or closing, especially if this happens at specific points, an off-track door might be the reason.
While these are the common signs of an off-track garage door, the problem may present differently. If you’re worried about your door’s condition, it’s best to be safe and contact Precision for a thorough inspection.
How to Keep Your Garage Door Working Smoothly
Accidents can happen, but with some simple maintenance, you can help avoid an off-track garage door. Here are some easy steps to follow:
Regularly Lubricate the Moving Parts
Ensure your garage door works smoothly by using the right silicone-based or lithium-based lubricant. Avoid WD-40, as it won’t provide the needed lubrication and can actually cause harm.
Clean the Tracks
Loose hardware and debris can accumulate in the tracks and make them bend or warp after repeated use. Regularly clear the tracks for the best results.
Repair or Replace Old Components
Modern garage door parts are made from durable materials like nylon and steel, but that doesn’t mean they’re indestructible. If you notice any components struggling to work correctly, consider replacing them to prevent putting extra stress on your door’s track.
Get Regular Tune-Ups
Even if you’re diligent about maintenance, we recommend a professional Tune-Up annually. Our technicians will inspect your garage door’s components, address any current or potential issues, lubricate the moving parts, and verify its safety and proper functioning.
Call the Pros for Off-Track Garage Doors
Don’t hesitate to contact Precision if you think your garage door might be off-track. While it’s safe for homeowners to handle some basic maintenance tasks, more complex problems like off-track doors are best left to professional technicians who know how to service your garage door safely.