The garage door track keeps and overhead garage door aligned properly. A poorly aligned track can cause the door to bind and not open correctly. This could be a serious problem. A loose track could allow the door to fall. On a positive note, it is not that hard to fix.
Garage door tracks are held in place by brackets that are attached to the door frame. The ends of the overhead portion of the track are suspended from the ceiling with steel channels. To work properly the tracks need to be parallel with one another. The garage door tracks also guide the door into the weatherstripping. Tracks that are too far away from the jamb can cause the door to have a gap at the weatherstrip.
Can you deal with garage door track issues? Most of the time the answer would be yes. Adjusting or replacing a section of track should not take long at all.
Garage Door Tracks - Information
What Can You Save?
Adjusting a garage door for a professional should take less than a half and hour. Probably around $75. The big problem is that you may be sold a new garage door. A new door could run between $600 and $1,500.
How Hard Could It Be?
Adjusting a garage door track is not too difficult.
Check the Simple Things!
Loose brackets are easy to deal with. Get some wrenches and tighten up the bolts.
What Can Go Wrong?
The door tracks keep the door in alignment as it goes up and down. Adjusting things the wrong way can make things worse. You could take a door that is closing poorly and turn it into one that is not closing at all. Do not loosen the overhead tracks with the door up. The door could fall.
How Garage Door Track Works
To understand how garage door tracks work you need to first look at the garage door rollers. The rollers have a long shaft that slides into the hinges. By design the rollers slide back and forth in the hinge. This means that you do not have to have the track perfectly aligned. Within reason, the roller will slide in and out to follow the track.
There are two ways that this can give you a problem. First, if the track is too close, the roller will bind against the hinge. A track that is too far away will cause the roller to pull out of the hinge. Ideally, the track will be positioned so that 1/2" to 3/4" of the shaft is visible. This will give the roller room to move in or out as needed.
With the door in the down position take a look at the margin on the track and rollers. Do you have a consistent margin? Is there a gap of around 1/2" to 3/4" between the roller and the hinge?
Rollers that are binding or close to falling out mean that the garage door track needs to be adjusted. See the article, 'Adjusting Garage Door Track to the Door'.
WARNING!! Do not loosen the tracks with the garage door in the up position!!! WARNING!!!
Replacing Garage Door Track
Garage door tracks are made of metal and can rust over time. Therefore, replacing garage door track may be needed. The track assembly comes in two pieces that are bolted together. Each door has two straight pieces and two pieces that have a curved segment on one end.
Before you remove a track on the side of the door you want to put something against the door to hold it in place. Make sure you unhook the garage door opener, so that no one can attempt to open it.
To replace an overhead section of track you want to close the door first. Unbolt the bad section of track and replace with a new one. Install the bolts in the same locations as the old ones.
Remove the bolts from the track and turn it off the rollers to remove it. Turn the new track into place and put the bolts back in place. Make sure the door is snugged up to the weatherstripping and tighten the bolts. Make sure everything is tight and check the alignment before attempting to open the door.
If you are working on the garage door track, you will also want to check the rollers and hinges to make sure they are in good order. See the articles 'Garage Door Rollers' and 'Garage Door Hinges' for instructions on what to do.
The garage door tracks are a simple yet, important part of your garage door. Most of the time, problems related to them are adjustment issues. With a couple of wrenches and a few minutes you should have been able to take care of any alignment problems.
For older doors you may need to replace a section of track. They are fairly standard and not that hard to replace. By now your garage door should be opening smoothly. Need something else to do? I'm sure you can find another project in your jar that needs attention.