How To Adjust Garage Door

How to adjust a garage door requires a few tools and some common sense. Think about how many times your garage door opens and closes in just one day. The door may start out perfectly aligned, but after hundreds and hundreds of times up and down the track by pulley or moving along a spring, and the door just won't work right. Things get worse if someone in the house has a problem lining up the car with the garage opening. The door may take a few whacks now and then with one or two members of the drivers in a household.

A few tools are needed to make things right with adjusting the garage door. This includes:

  • screw driver
  • level
  • tape measure
  • garage door remote
  • wood for support beam
  • saw, nails or wood screws and a hammer
  • pen and paper
  1. Take a look at the door. The first step to take in how to adjust garage door is to figure out just what is wrong with the door. Take a look at how the door fits, or fails to fit, in the structural opening. If the door is not aligned correctly at the bottom or to one side, that's the place to start adjusting. Don't do anything but put an eyeball on the potential problem. There may be more than one side out of alignment and the only way to figure out the adjustment is to first measure the amount of adjustment needed. If the door is a wooden, one piece, outfit with metal screws to adjust, don't just start cranking on the screws. This may put you in a place of no return.
  2. Use the tape measure. Measure each side of the crooked door. Figure out a normal even measurement by also measuring the garage door opening. 
  3. Use the level. Put the level on the top of the door. Mark down the degrees. Put up the door, if it's one piece, and use the level again. The idea here is to make sure you've got a grip on just what alignment is necessary. 
  4. Adjust the screws, pulleys and braces. Adjust one thing at a time, beginning with the side that the measurements show a major problem.  Adjust one thing and then try the door. This is a pain, but it's the only way to align the door to best fit the frame. Make a list of the adjustments. This will come in handy should the door shift again. 
  5. Add a support beam. In the case of old one-piece, wooden doors, adding a brace between the old vertical supports might be necessary to keep the door in alignment. 
  6. Try the door with the remote. Slowly moving the door by hand is not the same thing as the mechanical movements of the garage door opener. Use the remote a few times to test the door. Your adjustments should hold. If they don't, follow the list and do everything again. If the door still moves back into the old shape, you'll need to bring in a specialist. You might even need a new door. 

Warning: Unless you have a death wish, mere mortals should not, and that's "not" in a loud voice, attempt to adjust old school garage door springs. The older the springs, the more potential for a beheading. If the springs end up to be the problem, pay for new springs and have a professional do the job. Your health insurance deductible is undoubtedly a push for what the springs cost. If you don't have health insurance, you probably shouldn't be messing around with the garage door. Seriously. Most garage doors weight approximately 300 to 400 pounds and that's not anything to mess around with for a quick home repair.


The Home Depot. "Home Improvement 1-2-3." Meredith Book, 1995. 

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