What to Do When A Garage Door Comes Off Its Tracks

garage door off track

A garage door coming off its tracks can cause a world of problems for the majority of homeowners today using their garage door as the main entrance into their homes. If your garage door has ever jumped off its tracks, you know first-hand how frustrating and potentially dangerous the situation can be. Not only is your garage unusable, but gaps in your door can also provide access to unwanted critters, or worse, intruders.

Before you pick up the phone and call your local garage door specialists, know that in some cases it is possible for you to fix your garage door yourself. Best of all, you can usually do so in a short amount of time using a few everyday tools and a little DIY ingenuity.

Garage Door Troubleshooting

There are a number of reasons why your garage door might have come off its tracks. More often than not, it’s because your track is bent, or someone ran into the door and forced the rollers off the track.

If one of the above has happened to you, simply follow these easy garage door repair tips to have your garage door operating properly in no time at all.

Step 1: Grab a pair of pliers, a rubber mallet (or hammer), and some locking pliers. If you don’t happen to have these tools laying around, you can find them at any local hardware store.

Step 2: Disconnect the garage door from the opener by reaching overhead and pulling the rope attached to the release mechanism. The rope is typically red with a plastic handle connected at the bottom.

Step 3: Slowly raise the door manually.

Step 4: Once you locate the dislodged wheels, snap locking pliers underneath the door on one of the tracks to prevent the door from moving.

Step 5: There are two different repairs you might make depending on what caused the garage door to come off its tracks:

  • If the track is bent: Position the wheels back on track and use your rubber mallet to knock the track back into position.
  • If the wheels were forced off track: Use your pliers to pry the outside edge of the track open. This will enable you to easily get the wheels back on track. Once the wheels are in place, knock the track back into position with your rubber mallet.

Step 6: Remove the locking pliers. Then raise and lower the door manually to ensure everything is operating properly. If all is good, use your garage door remote control to operate the door. As the opener moves through its cycle, it should catch the door’s release mechanism and begin to operate the door. If not, grab a step stool and manually flip the mechanism back in place.

Another reason your garage door might have come off its tracks is because the cables have somehow slipped off the cable drums (called a “spun cable”). Your cable drums are located in the upper right and left hand corners of your garage door tracks. If your cables come off the cable drum, your garage door will likely come off its track and hang crooked. Due to high tension in the torsion spring, however, garage door cable systems are extremely dangerous and should only be repaired by a trained garage door specialist. We don’t want you to end up with a door on the ground and no security if you try to repair these yourself. If the culprit is a broken spring or broken cables, give us a call to get them fixed properly.

We’ve been installing and repairing garage doors in the Portland-Vancouver area since 1973 and know just what it takes to properly service all of your garage door needs. If your garage door has come off its tracks due to a spun cable, or you are uncomfortable performing any of the above DIY repairs, contact the professionals at Larry Myers Garage Doors. ​