How to Fix a Garage Door When It Becomes Detached

Updated: 3/13/2023

Chances are, your garage door is one of the mechanical objects in your home whose smooth operation you take for granted. But when your garage door rollers detach from the track, repairing the problem should become a top priority. Some fixes are easy do-it-yourself projects, while others require help from a professional. Here are the most common reasons that garage doors detach from the tracks, how to fix the problem and what you can do to prevent it from happening again.

Things to Know in This Article:

Detached Garage Door Causes

Typically, a garage door becomes detached from its tracks as a result of one of the following issues:

1. A Hit to the Garage Door

The most commonly cited reason for a garage door jumping its tracks is that something hits the door. Your garage door system is a delicate mechanism, and any significant impact is enough to knock the door off of its tracks.

This might happen if you accidentally bump the door with your car. Additionally, something like a bike or a tree hitting the door and even severe weather that requires an insurance claim for repairs can be enough to dislodge the door from its tracks.

2. Misaligned Tracks

It’s possible that your door may come off the tracks even without an impact or with only a very slight one if the tracks are not aligned correctly. It is crucial for the effectiveness of your garage door system that the horizontal tracks be parallel and perfectly aligned with the vertical rails.

A common way your garage door may come out of alignment is if the bolts on the bracket holding the horizontal tracks come loose. If these bolts are not tight enough, the bracket may wobble due to door vibrations or minor impacts, eventually altering the alignment enough that the rollers can jump the tracks.

3. Worn Parts from Repeated Use

Your garage door is a complex mechanism, and like any such mechanism, its parts will wear out over time no matter what you do. The more worn out various components are, the harder the system has to work.

Eventually, if a part isn’t strong enough or if it breaks, the rest of the system may not be strong enough to keep the door’s rollers properly connected to the track.

Adopting a garage door maintenance routine or working with a garage door specialist for an annual tune-up can help you identify when parts are nearing the end of their life and ensure you replace them before they cause your garage door to detach from the track.

4. Broken Cables or Rollers

Naturally, for your garage door to effectively roll along its track, your garage door rollers need to be in good condition. If a roller breaks, it makes it much easier for the others to jump the track.

Additionally, having fewer than the full number of functioning rollers can bend the rails, pulling the door out of alignment and creating another opportunity for the door to come off the track.

The lift cables are another crucial part when it comes to keeping your garage door aligned. If one breaks, the result will be to transfer all the weight of the door to the other side, unbalancing the door and making it simple for it to jump the track.

Tips for Fixing a Detached Garage Door

If you attempt to fix a garage door that’s off its tracks by yourself, the following tips can help you proceed safely:

  • Disengage the automatic opener before testing the door: Pulling on the handle and rope at the top center of the track allows for manual operation. You’ll need to move the door up and down periodically to test its functionality.
  • Secure the door so that it won’t slam shut while you’re working: A vise grip or locking pliers will work nicely.
  • Inspect the garage door tracks for damage first. Is one or both secured tightly to the wall and ceiling, or do you see loose bolts? If it’s loose, your fix may be as simple as tightening the bolts. If your track is bent or damaged, it may indicate a bigger problem requiring replacement or a professional repair.
  • Check the tracks for debris: Blockages can force a door off the track. Dust, rust buildup, leaves, acorns, and other debris are common items that homeowners find in their garage door tracks when inspecting them for blockage.
  • Ensure the tracks are level. Misaligned tracks that are not parallel with each other, or with the floor or the walls, require adjustment. Even a small misalignment can cause your door to shift off the tracks, so if the problem isn’t readily apparent, you can test it using a level. Returning tracks to a level position can help restore normal function to your garage doors.
  • If you fix the problem, ensure smooth future operation by lubricating the moving parts and tightening any loose screws, brackets or chains: You’re already working on your door, so why not perform some preventive maintenance?

How to Prevent a Detached Garage Door

Your garage door is designed to withstand constant use and requires only basic maintenance. You can prolong the life of your garage door system by keeping the sensor area clear from debris. That includes dirt and stones that can build up along with temporary blockages caused by snow and ice. Also, pay attention if your garage door makes noise during operation. A properly maintained garage door should not squeak, screech or grind. Lubricating the moving parts regularly will help ensure years of smooth use.

If you can’t fix the problem, call DistribuDoors. We can help — contact us today.

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