How to Put a Garage Door Back on Track

A common problem many homeowners experience is the rollers jumping out of track. Whenever the garage door slips off track, it becomes a safety hazard for garage users. That’s why it’s crucial to know the reason why this happens and how to prevent the same. You also need to know how to properly put the garage door back on track to restore normal, safe functioning.

What causes my garage door roller to slip off track?

It’s important to know what could cause your garage door to slip off its tracks. It allows you to keep a watchful eye for these causes, helping ward off any potential injuries in the process. Whenever the garage door slips off track, only the lift cables keep it suspended. With some garage doors weighing as much as 400-pounds, such a dangling/hanging door creates a very unsafe situation. So, what could cause your garage door to come off the track? Let’s take a look below:

High Impact

The most common cause of garage door rollers slipping off track is the impact from accidentally knocking the door with a car. This usually happens as you try to drive out or into your garage before the door is fully open. Even at speeds of 3-5 miles per hour, you may still cause considerable damage to your garage door and the roller could slip off track.  

Track Misalignment

If you had installed low-quality horizontal tracks on your garage door, they won’t be sturdy enough to fully support the door in case of impact. Even slight impact can cause cheap, low-quality horizontal tracks to bend and the door to drop to the garage floor. Meanwhile, if the horizontal tracks are misaligned with the vertical rails due to loose bracket bolts; there’s a higher risk of the rollers slipping off the tracks.

Worn-Out Rollers

Sometimes, the problem results from low-quality rollers that feature less than 10 ball-bearings. These rollers tend to wear out faster and break. Such low-quality rollers may also put more pressure on the rest of the rollers within the garage door system. This causes these rollers to break and slip off the tracks or results in the bending of the horizontal rollers.

A broken Lift Cable

The fourth reason why your garage door could come off the rails is a faulty lift cable. While this is a rare occurrence, one of your lift cables may come off, especially if you have an old garage door that hasn’t undergone maintenance in ages.

Say, for instance, that one of the lift cables breaks due to improper alignment inside the drum. This causes all the weight pressure of the garage door to shift to the other lift cable. Consequently, the door is left dangling precariously, and the rollers are more likely to slip off.

How to put a garage door back on track

Being as it’s such a heavy-duty moving component, it’s important to quickly and effectively fix a garage door that’s come off the rails. This helps to prevent any potential physical injuries to users. And while fixing a garage door is usually the kind of project that’s best left for the experts, you can do it by yourself with a bit of technical nous. Here’s a quick guide on how to put a garage door back on track:

1. Disengage the garage door

The first thing you’ll want to do is to disengage the garage door as a safety precaution. This will enable you to open and close it by hand.

2. Determine the cause of the problem

Before attempting to undertake a DIY repair project for your garage door, first find out why the wheels are jumping out of track. This will help you to find quick fixes for the issue. Check for the following:

  • Are the tracks properly attached to the wall?
  • Are the tracks showing signs of dents or physical damage?
  • Are the tracks adequately lubricated?
  • Are the tracks showing any signs of misalignment?

3. Tap the roller back on track

Locate where the wheel jumped out of track by visually checking for the position where it’s nearest to the track. Then, place a wood block against the edge of the roller and tap against the block using a rubber mallet. This will shift the roller back on track.

If this solution doesn’t solve the issue, try putting the roller back on track by aligning it with the mounting plate. To do this, fully open the garage door and disconnect the opener to relieve spring tension. Once the mounting plate is loose, shift the roller back on track. Finish off by securing the mounting plate back into position.

4. Realign the vertical tracks

If the issue is track misalignment, loosen the track brackets using a wrench tool to remove the bolts that firmly secure them. Do this for both vertical tracks. This will free up the tracks so that you can realign them back into position by gently tapping on them using a piece of wood and a rubber mallet. You want to shift the tracks until there’s a ¼-inch gap between the lower section of the garage door and the upper part of the crown molding.

Once done, check that the tracks are aligned using a vertical level. Once you’ve ensured they’re level. Refasten the bolts that you’d earlier removed to tighten the track brackets firmly in place. Finally, test out the garage door to ensure that the issue is completely solved. To do this, open and close the door a few times.

5. Realign the horizontal tracks

If the overhead tracks are misaligned, unscrew/unbolt the fasteners securing the tracks in place using a screwdriver or a wrench tool. Once the fasteners are loose and the tracks can be freely moved, adjust the overhead/horizontal tracks such that they’re at a right angle to the vertical tracks. Ideally, you want a ½-inch gap between the overhead tracks and the garage door. However, you can raise them higher if you want to reduce the opening speed of your garage door.

Once you’re through aligning the overhead tracks, refasten the bolts/screws to firmly secure the tracks in position. We recommend tightening the fasteners by bare hand first, before finishing off with a screwdriver or wrench tool. This will help you to avoid accidental stripping.

Finally, test out the garage door to see if it can safely support the weight of the garage door when open. To do this, open and close the door several times.

How much does it cost to fix a garage door off track?

The cost of fixing a garage door that’s off-track depends on where the exact problem lies. Typically- though- you can expect to pay from $125-$150 for a professional to put your garage door back on track. Meanwhile, if the tracks are bent and need to be replaced you’ll pay $50-$100. Finally, the cost of replacing the garage door roller ranges from $100-$200.

Remember, the above costs apply for professional installation services. DIY garage door repair is much cheaper as you’ll only spend on the repair tools. And if you have the tools already, your expenses may be close to none.


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