How to Fix a Garage Door: Common Problems and DIY Repairs

A garage door is one of the most frequently used features of any home. It provides security, convenience, and curb appeal. However, like any mechanical system, garage doors can develop issues over time that prevent them from working properly. Many common garage door problems can be fixed with some basic DIY troubleshooting and repairs.

Common Garage Door Problems

Here are some of the most common issues that can arise with garage doors:

The Door Won’t Open or Close Properly

If your garage door is sticking, not opening all the way, or not closing fully, the problem is likely with the door tracks. The metal tracks can become misaligned over time. To fix, loosen the screws that hold the mounting brackets and tap the tracks back into proper alignment. Make sure the tracks are clean, linear, and level.

The Door Opens or Closes Unevenly

An uneven door indicates that the torsion springs are worn out or broken. Torsion springs counterbalance the weight of the door, and they wear out over time. Replacing torsion springs can be dangerous if done incorrectly, so it’s best to hire a professional for this repair.

The Door is Making Loud Noises

Squeaking, grinding, or other racket when opening or closing points to a need for lubrication. Use machine oil or silicone spray to lubricate the door tracks, rollers, hinges, and torsion springs. This minimizes friction and noise.

The Remote Won’t Work

If the remote has good batteries but still won’t open or close the door, the issue is likely with the opener motor or circuit board. Most garage door opener remotes use small LED lights to send signals to the motor. Make sure the LED is lighting up when you push buttons. If not, replace the remote. If it is, you may need a new circuit board or motor assembly.

The Door Won’t Open All the Way

If your door opens only partially then stops, the travel limit settings need adjustment. There are adjustable travel stops on the opener motor. Loosen the set screw and adjust the nuts slightly to allow full up and down travel range. Test and re-tighten.

DIY Garage Door Repairs

Many garage door issues can be fixed with basic tools and some mechanical ability. Here are a few simple DIY repairs:

Clean and Lubricate The Tracks and Hardware

  • Use a rag to wipe down the metal tracks and remove built-up dirt and debris.
  • Apply silicone spray or machine oil to the tracks and rollers. Avoid over-lubricating. Wipe up excess oil.
  • Lubricate all moving parts like hinges, springs, and pulleys.

Inspect and Replace Any Loose or Broken Parts

  • Tighten any loose screws, nuts, and bolts on tracks, brackets, and pulleys.
  • Replace broken rollers, pulley bearings, frayed or detached cables.

Adjust the Opener Travel Limits and Force Settings

  • Check and adjust the travel limit nuts so door opens and closes fully.
  • Make sure force settings are not too high. Re-set according to manufacturer instructions.

Balance the Door

  • If the door is unbalanced, detach the opener and manually test that the door travels smoothly.
  • Adjust the torsion spring tension as needed to get smooth operation.

Replace Batteries in Remotes and Keypads

  • Locate the battery compartments and replace old batteries in remotes and wireless keypads.
  • Make sure remotes are coded properly and synced with the opener motor.

When to Call a Professional

Some garage door repairs are best left to the experts. Call a professional garage door technician for:

  • Torsion spring replacement
  • Off-track doors that won’t realign
  • Major track damage or misalignment
  • Bent or broken rollers and cables
  • Opener motor or circuit board issues
  • Structural damage to the door
  • Any repairs beyond your skill level

Getting help for major repairs will ensure long-lasting fixes and prevent safety hazards.

Maintaining Your Garage Door

Regular maintenance and inspection can help minimize the need for repairs:

  • Visually inspect the door and opener monthly. Check for loose hardware, signs of wear, and alignment.
  • Test the auto-reverse feature on the opener motor monthly. The door should reverse when meeting resistance.
  • Apply fresh lubricant to tracks and moving parts every 6 months.
  • Have a professional technician inspect and tune up the entire system yearly.

Taking a proactive approach allows you to fix minor issues before they become major. With routine DIY maintenance and repairs, your garage door will stay in good working order.

Frequently Asked Questions About Garage Door Repairs

What tools will I need for basic garage door repairs?

Basic tools like pliers, screwdrivers, a socket set, rubber mallet, stepladder, and lubricant oils should allow you to do minor repairs. Always exercise caution when working around torsion springs and lift cables.

How can I get my garage door opener remote to work again?

Start by replacing the remote battery. If that doesn’t work, reprogram the remote by holding down the button on the opener motor until in flashes and syncing the remote. If still no functionality, the circuit board may need replacement.

Why does my garage door reverse when closing?

Most openers have a safety auto-reverse function to prevent damage or injury if obstructed. If your door is reversing frequently, adjust the down-travel force setting or check for obstructions. This feature can be disabled if needed.

What lubricant is best for a noisy garage door?

Silicone spray and machine oil work well for lubing most garage door parts. Avoid grease, which attracts dirt. Wipe off excess lubricant and never oil the rollers or it can attract debris.

Can I replace garage door springs myself?

Torsion springs are under extreme tension and can cause severe injury if handled improperly. Replacement is best done by a trained professional unless you have lots of mechanical experience.


Regular inspection and maintenance goes a long way towards keeping a garage door system operational. Addressing minor issues quickly can prevent more serious problems down the road. Many common garage door repairs can be successfully tackled as DIY projects with proper tools and safety precautions. However, it’s always best to hire a professional technician for complicated repairs or those involving dangerous components like springs and cables. Investing in professional repairs or replacement is worthwhile to ensure safety, security, and reliable access to your garage. With proper care, a garage door can provide decades of smooth, trouble-free performance.