How to Fix a Garage Door Thats Off Track


Chances are you’re staring at a garage door that won’t lift by itself or it’s sagging on one end. That’s a very hard indication that the garage door is clearly off the track. When that happens, it points to one of two problems: something is wrong with the door rollers and hinges or the torsion spring cable is unwound from the lift drums.

Both the door rollers and the torsion spring cable work together in lifting the door. As the door is lifted with the help of the torsion spring cable and torsion springs, the garage door rollers keep the garage door on the track, while the hinges hold the rollers in place. It’s a pretty simple system that works beautiful when it works. We’ll teach you how to get the garage door back on track.

How to Replace Garage Door Rollers and Hinges

Along the left and right side of the garage door is, obviously, the track. Connecting the garage door to the track is a hinge and door roller; the hinge holds the door roller in place and on the track. Unfortunately, both the hinge and door roller can break. And when one or more breaks, it increases the amount of force required to lift the garage door.

Thankfully, replacing both the door rollers and the hinges is a straightforward process. You will need:

Now, before you start replacing rollers and hinges, remove and replace each one at a time. Do not make the mistake of removing every roller and hinge beforehand. It can cause the garage door to slant. Furthermore, you’ll notice that each hinge is numbered. They should go in order with the first hinge starting at the bottom and working your way up.

1. Take your Sharpie and mark along the top and bottom of the hinge. This will show you where the hinge originally was and keep it aligned when you replace it with a new one.

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2. Unplug the operator and disengage the opener by pulling the rope. This will prevent anyone from accidentally operating the garage door and causing further damage.

3. Use your 7/16th wrench or impact wrench to remove the bolts to the hinge.

4. Insert the door roller into the new hinge. There’s two slots: one is for the door roller, the other operates the hinge.

5. Hold the hinge into place with the new door roller on the track. Use the marks you made with a Sharpie to line the hinge up. Use your wrench and or impact wrench to apply the screws.

Preventing Garage Door Rollers From Coming Off the Track

Now that you’ve replaced the old garage rollers with new ones, it’s necessary to understand why it happened in the first place. In turn, this will help prevent it happening in the future. Here’s a few reasons and tips to take to heart:

  • Rollers cause friction and lubrication keeps friction from being a problem. WD-40 (View on Amazon) works well here.
  • A damage or misaligned track is one of the biggest issues homeowners face. Without one, the rollers can’t operate as intended and can get knocked loose from the track.
  • Debris buildup can be a real problem in garages, a location that’s known for having dirt, grim, and dust floating around. Buildup can cause the rollers to jam, causing one or more of the rollers to come loose from the track.

In other words, proper maintenance is key here. Keep the rollers lubricated, the track aligned and straight, and keep the track free of debris. Not only will it keep the garage door rollers nice and happy, it will keep your garage door running smoothly.

How to Replace Garage Door Cables

Unlike the garage door rollers and hinges, replacing the garage door torsion cables is a tougher process. You can do it by yourself, but it’s a lot easier to handle when you have someone spotting you, especially when you’re winding the torsion cable onto the lift drum.

You will need:

To make matters worse, you will have to lift the garage door up as far as it will go. It’s how you remove the torsion cable to begin with and how you wind the new one onto the lift drum.

1. Unplug the operator and disengage the opener by pulling the rope. This will prevent anyone from accidentally operating the garage door and causing further damage.

2. Open the garage door and place a pair of vice grips onto the track, just below the edge of the garage door. This will hold the garage door in place and prevent it from falling down.

3. Grab your other pair of vice grips and grip the shaft—the end of the bar. While holding the vice grip, turn the vice grip towards you just a little bit, no more than a quarter inch. It’s just enough to loosen the torsion cable.

4. See where the loop of the cable connects to the garage door? Use your screwdriver to pop the loop off of the garage door. You are free to unwind the old torsion cable.

5. Get your new torsion cable. It has two ends: one is a loop, and the other is straight that goes into the lift drum. Bend the straight end about an inch down into an “L.”

6. Insert the L-shaped end into the lift drum. There’s a small slot for it you may have noticed as you were removing the old cable. Now, to wind the new cable into place, you have to wind counter-clockwise. As you loop it, the cable loops towards you.

7. Attach the looped end of the torsion cable onto the garage door.

You Need to Know This About Your Garage Door!

If you’re noticing problems with your garage door, you need to know what’s causing the issue and if you’ll need to get the garage door repaired or replaced. Having a working garage door is crucial for any home, and fixing it is just one form of home improvement, but there are many more.

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Bottom Line

In conclusion, your garage door is a pretty simple system even if it doesn’t appear to be, one that can cause quite a bit of trouble. The main issues homeowners tend to experience is exactly what you just fixed all by yourself—the door rollers and hinges breaking or the torsion cables coming off the trolley system. And it wasn’t all that bad to fix.

If you dented your garage door in the process, we have a guide for that as well. There’s an ingenious way to pop dents out of your garage door panels using heat and carbon dioxide, specifically ones made of aluminum and steel.