Garage Door Repairs

Garage Door Seals, Rollers and Hinges

Many homeowners are a little gun shy about tackling garage door repairs by themselves, with good reason. The garage door is most likely the heaviest moving object in your home, and some lift springs can actually be deadly if they break!

Adjusting the lift spring tension requires some trial and error. A track that has been damaged can be very difficult to repair or replace. Getting the alignment just right can also be tricky. However, there are some repairs that the average homeowner can accomplish without much trouble.

Replacing Hinges:

As long as you have the correct replacement parts, this is usually one of the easier garage door repairs to do. If you can't find hinges that are exactly like your originals, it can be a little more difficult, but not too bad.

First, mark the outline of the original hinge. If the damaged hinge is in the center of the door, you simply unbolt it and then bolt the new one on in the same position. If the new hinge is different, you may need to drill new holes and spend a little time getting the new hinge aligned properly. If the hinge is on the edge of the door and has a roller in it, see "Middle Rollers" below.

Replacing rollers:

There are different procedures for replacing the bottom, middle and top rollers. Always make sure the new part has the same roller diameter, shaft diameter, and shaft length. These directions are generic and apply to a sectional overhead door – use common sense, and if in doubt, call a professional!

- Bottom rollers: DO NOT remove the bracket from the door! The bottom bracket usually has the lift cable attached to it, which will be under tension. If the roller is still contained in the track, use a pair of pliers to bend the track just enough to be able to slide the roller out of the track. Pull the corner of the door towards the inside of the garage, and then just slide the roller out.

Lubricate the shaft and the roller with garage door lube. Insert the new roller into the bracket, and then put it back in the track where the track was bent. Use a pair of pliers to squeeze the track back into shape, and your garage door repair is done!

- Middle rollers: These are usually attached to the hinges on a sectional door. These are quite easy to replace. First, mark the position of the hinge for alignment purposes. Then just unbolt the hinge and angle it so that the roller comes out of the track. Slide the roller out, lubricate the shaft and roller, and slide the new one back in. Reinstall the hinge in the same position. Another one of the simple garage door repairs!

- Top rollers: Most of these attach to the door with a two-piece bracket. The mount is bolted to the door, and the roller bracket is bolted to the mount. Again, mark the position of the roller bracket, and then just unbolt it from the mount. Angle the roller stem towards the inside of the garage and then just pull it out of the track. Lubricate the shaft and roller, slide the new roller into the roller bracket, angle the roller back into the track, and then reattach to the mount.

Replacing garage door seals:

Another one of the easy garage door repairs in most cases. The garage door bottom seal usually either slides into a track or is nailed on. If it slides into a track, it is simply a matter of sliding the old one out and sliding the new one in, then trimming it to length.

If the garage door bottom seal is attached with nails, use a flat prybar to remove the old seal with the nails. It is a good idea to apply a fresh coat of paint while you have the bottom edge of the door exposed. Once the paint dries, make sure you have the seal facing the correct direction, and use masking tape to temporarily hold the new garage door bottom seal in place. Nail it in, taking care to avoid sags in the new garage door seal by stretching it just a little while you get each nail started. Then trim it to length.

The garage door seals on the top and sides are usually attached to the building with nails. The trick is to get everything aligned properly. Again, you can use masking tape to temporarily position the garage door seals before you cut them to length and attach them permanently.

Replacing a garage door opener:

This is one of the more challenging garage door repairs for the average homeowner. However, if you have the correct tools, a helper or two, and the time and patience, it can be done. The best advice I can give when replacing a garage door opener is to read the manual completely before you start.

Then read it again! Follow it to the letter, step by step. For years, I did tech support for a high-performance automotive parts supplier, and I can't begin to tell you how much grief people created for themselves by not reading the installation manuals that came with their parts!

One thing to be aware of is that many door openers don't come with the brackets to hang them from the ceiling, and your existing brackets may not fit the new opener - ask me how I know! You may have to get some perforated angle iron in order to be able to install your new opener.

Replacing lift cables, springs, pulleys, etc.

Honestly, I don't recommend that the average homeowner attempt these garage door repairs. There is a safety factor involved, and it is too easy to make a simple mistake and get yourself hurt.

But if you are not the "average" homeowner, are mechanically inclined and have the right tools, then there are tons of great tutorials and videos online that you can follow. Make sure the system you are working on is VERY similar to the one in the tutorial or video you are looking at. Use the correct tools for the job. Wear safety glasses and gloves when necessary, don't take shortcuts, you know the drill.

If you decide to hire a professional for your garage door repairs, you need to make sure you are getting someone that is reliable, trustworthy, and knows what they are doing. If you don't already know someone in the garage door repair business, Angie's List is a good place to start your search. There you can find a garage door repair contractor with a track record that is based on verified actual customer reviews.

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