How To Fix a Garage Door With Little To No Knowledge

By Kenvin F / July 30, 2016



If you're anything like me, you'll notice when things around the house start to fall apart. And like me you're probably using your garage doors nearly every day, and this means you've probably started to notice that they don't quite open and close as smoothly as they did when they were brand new.

It makes you worry if things will continue to get worse over time? And you're pretty sure the answer to this question is yes, they sure will. This leads to wondering if the doors will eventually need an expert to repair? And of course you can bet your bottom dollar they will.

So what can be done right now, by you, to improve the condition of your garage doors and help prevent the need for overly pricey repair work in the future?

You can see garage door structure:

How To Fix a Garage Door

There’s a handful of very common problems that garage doors can develop over the years. Here we want to explain how to fix a garage door that seems to have one or more of these issues by means even a novice can handle. By taking action right away, you can help prevent these common issues turning into serious long term problems!

What You'll Need

These tasks are meant to be things you can get on with right away, and without any prior expertise or repair knowledge. So this list includes only basic tools or items that you’ll likely already have, or those you can easily grab from a hardware store. Here they are:

Basic Tools or Items

  • Philips screw driver.
  • Batteries (check which batteries your garage door transmitter requires).
  • Dust cloth (needs to be as soft as possible and screen friendly if possible).
  • ​Allen key.
  • ​Hoover
  • Dustpan and brush or broom stick.
  • ​Transparent metal work grease, car polish wax or car polish solution.
  • Metal works lubricant

How To Fix a Garage Door

1. Replace Remote Control Batteries

This might seem painfully obvious, but it's one we have to get out of the way first because you'd be surprised at how many people neglect this aspect of any remote system.


Do yourself a huge favor and avoid a lot of headaches by checking this off the list first. Replace the batteries in your transmitter as often as you can. A lot of issues, some of which include: delayed responses, lower remote ranges and what can appear to be complete shutdown, can commonly all be due to a simple lack of life in your transmitters batteries.

So swap them for a brand new set and see if this solves any of your immediate problems.

2. Misaligned Eyes

One of the next most common issue’s many garage doors face failure due to disrupted “Photo eyes”. These little devices come in a pair and each eye is often placed inside the garage, one eye on either side of the doors. These items create a laser type link between each other that is not visible to the human eye. If this link is broken or disrupted the system will not work properly.


Via www.seattlehomegaragedoors.comblog

Over time these devices can become worn, nudged, covered with dust or damaged by damp. These conditions will cause the items themselves to deteriorate over time, but one of the most common causes for garage doors to mysteriously stop working is the eyes being knocked or blocked out or alignment.

So give them a check, if they're not pointing directly at each other, make sure they do. You may need to readjust their position using the screwdriver or Allen key, as most of them are installed using one of these binds.

If the eyes have collected dust, it's best to give them a clean with the dust cleaner and soft cloth. Even if they seem to work perfectly when dirty, this dirt can become more disruptive over time, so you might aswell give them a quick dust now.

3. Clean Out The Tracks Under The Door

Garage doors come in mainly two designs, one is a rising door, and the other is one that runs along a track from one side to the other. The track is a metal trench along the floor that guides the door into place as it moves across.


Via follow mriggen/flickr

Due to its shape this track can collect dust, leaves, solid dirt and other objects over time. The more junk that gets caught in the track, the more that junk gets compressed along the bottom and eventually this can lead to complete blocks. In really bad cases the track can become so damaged that dents in its surface can cause misalignment which ultimately will lead to it needing serious repair.

It needs to be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent hardcore compressed dirt setting in. Once a month would be ideal. If you haven't ever cleaned the track in the entire time you've had it, and you've been using the garage door for years, expect to need some good old fashioned elbow grease. Dirt that has already been compressed for years will be very compact and may even be hard to see. A dustpan brush that allows you to apply some decent force into the gap should be best for this job. Soften the dirt by pouring water into the tracks between long stretches of hard rubbing, (make the water soapy to avoid a bad smell when you're getting right up close).

If the track doesn't look too bad, a broomstick and the water with the same routine should be enough to do the job well enough.

Pro Tip:

If you want your garage door to open and close as smoothly as possible, try applying some metal work grease or car polish to the track after cleaning it. This should improve the way the door works, as well as protect the track for the time that this polish is well applied, making it easier to clean next time.

4. Ensure Your Remote Or Transmitter Works Efficiently

Garage door clickers and remote controls should all be transmitting a unique frequency. However, it is possible for two remotes to be sending a similar frequency that can set off a similar system.

It’s common for people to experience remote doors opening and closing on their own at what appears to be random intervals. If this is something that's happened to you, there are two possible explanations.

  • A neighbor might be opening your door with their remote or clicker.
  • It might be a case of objects in your car pressing up against the remote as you drive.

If this is happening to you, your remote batteries, and door engines will be handing more work than they need to, which can lead to unnecessary replacements in the future. You'll need to order a new one from your garage door provider. This is a relatively easy thing to do right now, that could save you from high expenses in the long run.

5. Balance Checks, Screw Tightening And Lubrication

A garage door is made up of a wide range of mechanisms and moving parts. Some of these elements should only be touched and worked on by an expert. The high pressure springs that control the propulsion behind the doors are an example of a part that non experts should stay clear of.


Here is a popular video that clearly demonstrates the simple checks and lubrication points that someone with no training can safely work on.

Every time the mechanics of the door are put to work, the screws, bolts, joints and tracks are slightly degraded. So just like a car, the more maintenance you put into these mechanical elements, the better condition they will keep over time.


It’s advisable to perform these checks once a month, and apply lubricants at least twice a month. It should work well enough to use the same lubricant for these tasks as you used for the garage door track. But most people will find a solution designed for outdoor use will last longer on the floor track, as it is exposed to the weather.


We hope this article puts you right in the mood for some good old DIY, and has provided some useful beginner tips on how to fix a garage door that's showings signs of developing some minor issues. Let us know what you think in the comments section below and if there are any other important tips you think might be missing.

The garage door for many of us acts as an essential part our home’s overall aesthetic, it see’s us off in the morning and greets us at the end of the day. So it can be one of the first elements that comes to mind when we think about what needs to be looked after around the house.

With these ideas we hope even those with very little DIY knowledge will be able to fix some basic issues with their garage doors, as well as help save them from major damage in future.

About the author

Kenvin F

Greetings and welcome to our Home Improvement site! There are few things as rewarding and fun as working on your own home. The fact that you're here tells me you want to learn and get involved with your home too. I'm here to help you every step of the way. You can do this! Join me, won't you?

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