Simple Garage Door Fixes And Adjustments

When you have young (or not so young) kids at home, and inexperienced or distracted drivers, it's likely that you will have a mishap with garage doors. Common issues include items being left in the path of a closing door, or drivers attempting to access the garage with the door partially closed.

Obviously, if the garage door is seriously bent either horizontally or vertically, or if the overhead cable has become broken or disconnected from its mount, it's time to call in a professional. However, there are simple fixes that you can perform yourself for lesser problems.

If the garage door comes down on a foreign object

When your garage door is stopped in its descent by an object strong enough not to be crushed by the door, two different problems may occur. 

The chain from the motor may pop off its pulley

If you push the button and hear a thumping sound, but the door doesn't move, it's likely that the drive chain has become disengaged. This chain connects a pulley wheel on the motor to the mechanism that raises and lowers the door. This disengagement prevents the chain from breaking when the stress placed upon it is too great.

To reattach the chain, you will need to shut off the circuit breaker that controls power to the door. This will prevent the motor from engaging while you are resetting the chain, which may result in crushed fingers.

You may want to use gloves while handling the chain, because it will likely be oily and dirty.

The motor's pulley wheel will be the bottom wheel of two pulley wheels. Pull the chain around the bottom of the motor pulley wheel until it is fully engaged on the teeth at the bottom of the wheel, then lift the right side of the chain until it reaches the closest teeth on the upper wheel. 

Begin turning the motor pulley wheel by hand by grasping it along the bottom and turning it counterclockwise. As it turns, it will feed the chain link by link onto the upper pulley until the chain is fully engaged. Keep your fingers away from the rear of the pulley wheel. Pinching your finger between a chain and a pulley wheel is a transcendent experience (not a good one-a very painful one).

The limit switch may be thrown out of sync

The limit switch determines the point and which your door will stop in its ascent or descent. When the door is brought to a sudden stop midway, the limit switch may need to be reset.

Look for a small dial near the motor. It will have "open" on one side and "close" on the other. The dial may be adjusted by hand or with a screwdriver, according to the switch style. 

If the door is stuck halfway down, adjust the limit switch to the halfway point between open and closed, then attempt to close it. You will likely need to keep making minor adjustments to the switch until the door closes completely when the button is pushed.

If the door is hit but not bent

The garage door glides up and down on metal tracks that are attached to the doorway on either side. The tracks may give way if the door is struck, separating from the doorway and allowing some of the wheels on which the door glides to slip free.

To remedy this situation, you must first place the wheels back inside the loosened tracks by twisting the tracks slightly and pulling them around the wheels, rather than attempting to force the wheels inside. The tracks are long and flexible when loose, but the wheels are stationary.

After all errant wheels are back in place, simply reattach the tracks by screwing them back into the doorway.

if the tracks are bent beyond straightening, you will need to have them replaced by a garage door mechanic. Attempting to straighten mangled tracks will lead to constant future issues. So, if you're the perpetrator of the incident, and you're trying to hide the evidence, give it up and take your lecture.