Garage Door Adjustments You Might Need to Make

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Jan 01, 2011 | Steve Graham
house with maintained garage

Garage doors don’t get enough respect. They're often ignored and taken for granted, even though they are heavy, expensive and dangerous. They can damage vehicles and injure people, and may break down without the proper maintenance. Homeowners can perform garage door adjustment to extend the life of their garage door and avoid costly repairs later. Here's a guide to basic garage door adjustment.

Adjust Garage Door Springs

An off-balance door will strain springs and other parts, shortening the door’s lifespan and posing a safety hazard since an imbalanced door can close suddenly and quickly.

There are 2 types of garage door springs. Torsion springs wind up and run parallel to the top of the door. Extension springs stretch along the top tracks perpendicular to the top edge of the door. Most experts suggest that you hire a professional to adjust torsion springs because they are heavy, powerful and dangerous, and may require specialized tools. However, extension springs can be adjusted -- with care -- by handy homeowners.

First, determine if your garage door is off-balance by disengaging the electric motor and manually opening the door halfway. If the door continues to creep open or quickly drops on its own, it needs to be adjusted. Only adjust garage door springs when they are slack and the door is fully open. In addition, use a ladder or other wedge to prop the door open. Adjust the spring or the cable until the door is well balanced and does not drop shut or spring open too quickly.

Perform Basic Maintenance

As Ben Franklin said, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Minimize the need to repair or adjust your garage door with simple maintenance.

  • Regularly wash the garage door and its tracks with water and a mild detergent.
  • Lubricate each hinge, as well as rollers and tracks, with basic household oil. Drop or spray a small amount of oil above each hinge so it drops down into the rest of the hinge. Then open and close the door a few times to ensure proper lubrication.
  • Thoroughly lubricate the springs on a regular basis as well.
  • Check and adjust garage door screws and nuts while lubricating. Loose screws are a common issue on wooden garage doors.
  • Repaint garage doors annually.

Other Types of Garage Door Adjustment

Add a weather strip or replace a worn one, for better insulation and to extend the life of your garage door. (Rubber weather strips crack and deteriorate over time, losing their insulation quality and trapping moisture and dirt along the bottom edge of the door.) After removing the old weather strip, thoroughly clean the bottom of the door. Also sand the edge and add clear sealant on wooden garage doors. Then carefully nail a new weather strip in place (consider using longer nails on wood doors if the weather strip wasn't packaged with long nails) while a helper holds it taut and straight.

With regular alignment and other basic methods to adjust garage doors, a garage door should last for many years without expensive repairs or replacements.

Updated April 26, 2018.

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