How to Adjust a Garage Door: 9 Steps

The garage door is an essential part of a home. It is opened and closed several times a day, depending on if you have kids opening it to play outside or drivers leaving the home. It also provides a layer of security. On occasion, something needs adjusting on the garage door to make it work effectively. How to adjust a garage door? There are tools you need and 9 steps to follow to adjust the door and make it work properly. Let’s take a look.

Gather the Materials

For this job, you will need some materials.

Garage door track is the first place to look if the garage door needs adjusting.

Step 1: Check the Door Track

There are a few things that you need to do to adjust the garage door and keep it opening smoothly. One of those is the door track. Check the track to see if it is aligned properly or if it is dirty. If you suspect it is the garage door track that is having the issue, move to step 2.

Step 2: Clean the Door Track

If you notice the tracks are dirty, a good cleaning should do the trick. You can do this by sweeping the debris with a sweeping brush, and then using a damp cloth or old toothbrush to clean it. Lastly, you will want to dry them and use a dry rag to do this. If the door is opening and closing properly, then your problem is fixed.

However, if you notice that the tracks are warping, unfortunately, they will need replacing and you will need to call a professional.

Garage door springs may cause a garage door to need adjusting.

Step 3: Check the Garage Door Springs

Now, if you notice that the tracks are fine and you cannot open or close the garage door properly, then it may be the garage door springs. It will be either the torsion springs or the side-mounted extension springs. Let’s look at the difference between the two.

Torsion Springs

This is the type that is most often on big automatic garage doors. These doors are usually over 10 feet in width. One or two of these may be over the door on a shaft, depending on the size and weight of the door. Garage doors with this type of spring will need a professional to adjust the door. This is because it is difficult and not an easy task to do alone as well as dangerous. A professional is the right way to go for this garage door repair.

Side-Mounted Extension Spring

This type is above the track on both sides of the door. They run parallel with the track and a cable and pulley hold them in place. The good news is this type of spring can be fixed by the homeowner.

Step 4: Determine the Adjustment

The action of your door determines the adjustment you need to make to the springs.

  • If the door doesn’t shut evenly, then the spring tension needs to be adjusted on the side of the garage door.
  • If the door is hard to close, doesn’t close all the way, or opens too quickly – this calls for decreasing the spring tension.
  • If the door closes too quickly or hard time opening- this will call for the tension to be increased.

Step 5: Hold the Door in Place

Next, you will open the garage door as far as you can, until you reach the stop bolt. If the door is automatic, you will need to disconnect it from the opener.

Then, turn off the power that goes to the door. There is a cord on the back of the door that you can pull down and backward. Doing this will keep the spring open and you can open the door all the way.

Lastly, put on a hard hat, gloves, and safety glasses. Take the C-clamp and put it under the roller at the bottom of the door, which will hold the door securely in place.

Step 6: Change the Spring Tension

The track hanger has a spring that is attached by a big hook. You will need to remove the hook. When looking at it, you will see it is held in place with a nut.

Check again that there is no tension in the springs before you do anything else. If there isn’t tension, then set up the ladder and use the wrench to take the nut off. The one you are looking for is on the back side of the bracket. When you do this, you will be able to move the hook on the track hanger to a different hole.

  • Decrease the tension- move the hook to a lower hole
  • Increase the tension – move the hook to a higher hole
  • The door has a hard time opening or closing quickly – the hook can be moved up one hole
  • The door is hard to close or closes fast – move the hook down one hole
  • The door is closing evenly – the springs need to be changed the same on both sides of the door

However, if you see a gap on one side of the door, adjusting that spring is what you will need to do. After you do this, put the nut back on and tighten it with the wrench.

On a side note, in case these springs break, they are not covered under a home warranty and can cost between $200 – $400 on average.

Step 7: Check the Adjustment

Let’s see if the adjustment worked. To do this, take the clamp from the roller and start closing the door. If the door closes, then this adjustment worked and that is great! If not, repeat steps 5 and 6 and re-clamp the door again before the hook is moved.

This time, move it up or down one at a time. If this doesn’t work, repeat the process until it does work. On the other hand, if you are still having issues, it could be something else such as issues with the rollers, sensors, or a disconnect switch being separated.

Step 8: Adjust the Cable Inside the Spring

The cable inside the spring may need to be adjusted if the process above isn’t working. To make this work, you have to adjust the clamp or knot. One of these attaches the cable to the track or to the hook. If you want to shorten the cable, then you increase the tension. If you want to lengthen it, then the tension decreases. To see if this works, you will need to remove the clamp and see if the door goes up or down the right way.

Emergency cord on a garage door opener.

Step 9: Test Your Garage Door

Now that you have removed any pliers that lock or clamp, you can pull on the emergency cord. This will allow the spring to release and the door attaches to the opener. Lastly, switch the power back on so you can test the door with the automatic door opener.

Recommended Maintenance

Now that you know about adjusting a garage door, let’s take a look at some areas of maintenance. One of those is when to replace the garage door. It will be time to do this when you can see wear and tear, as well as safety concerns, and losing energy and money.

Another area is if you have a garage with no windows, you will want to figure out how to cool it. This can be done by using fans or installing an air conditioning unit or using a portable unit.

Lastly, it is winter time and if you have a metal roof, it is important to keep the snow from sliding off. To do this, you will want to use snow guards or snow rails. This is because you don’t want the snow dropping off the roof like an avalanche on someone or a pet below.

When to Call a Professional

Garage doors are useful and help protect the home from the outside world. However, the garage can also be dangerous because of the weight of the door. Making sure the track stays lubricated is important as well as other maintenance. Also, contact a professional if you see anything out of the ordinary and need help. Lastly, if your home is new or your garage door is new, contact the company first to see if it is still under warranty.


When you are having issues with the garage door, it is a good idea to hire a professional to help. Call on your local home inspection team to ensure that your garage door is working properly. Reach out to House Inspection Associates to conduct a garage door inspection and a full home inspection in the Virginia, D.C., and Maryland areas.

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