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Troubleshooting an overhead garage door can be an interesting project for the novice. These tips will help understand the parts of your garage door, what to look for when troubleshooting and how to repair the most important parts.

If you have an overhead roll up door that binds or sticks when you open it, check the bolts or screws in the hinges and track brackets to see if they need to be tightened. If the roller shaft or hinges are broken or rusted they should be replaced. Always keep the moving parts of your garage door lubricated. Roller bearings and hinges need a few drops of oil about once a year. The cable pulley should be oiled and the cables need to be wiped with an oily rag. The tracks can be cleaned with a rag dampened with paint thinner. To check and make sure that the vertical tracks are plumb, always use a level. If you find that the tracks are not plumb, you will need to adjust the track that is out of alignment. To do this loosen the track brackets and tap the track with a mallet until they are plumb. Since any crimps or bends in the track will keep the rollers from moving smoothly, these should be straightened. If they cannot be straightened you will need to replace the track.

The springs are a very important part of your garage door. They counter balance the weight of the door to aid it with opening and closing. When a garage door will stay in place when raised about three feet above the ground, you know your springs are properly tensioned. If you raise the door a foot it should continue opening on its own and if you lower it a foot it should close unassisted. If this is not the case, you will need to adjust or replace your springs.

Begin by checking the springs for breaks or rust. It is important to remember when doing this that springs are under a great amount of tension, so caution should be used when adjusting or replacing them. Most roll up doors have dual springs that are mounted above the overhead track and connected by cables to the lower corners of the doors. In this case the upper cable ends are attached to S hooks which fit into the holes of wall mounted brackets. You can increase the tension by opening the door as far as it will open and use clamps or a wooden block to hold it in place. Then simply move the hooks forward one or two holes. Each cable should be adjusted equally. When you find that the cable is knotted to a hole in a plate above the door, retie the holding knot closer to the spring. On a single spring door, a great amount of tension is required so this should be done by a professional. Swing out doors have springs that are mounted vertically. You can simply move the spring ends up a hole or two in the door jamb brackets to tighten the tension.

If you have a lock on your garage door it should work smoothly. If there are any bends in the bar they should be straightened. If this doesn't smooth out the lock action you can loosen the guide bracket screws and move the bracket to align the bar with the opening track. You should also check the bottom of your garage door to be sure the weather stripping is in good shape. If it is worn, it will need to be replaced. After removing the old weather stripping, sand and wash the bottom of the door and allow it to dry for 2 to 3 days. Paint it with a good wood preservative and allow it to dry before applying new weather stripping.