Off the Rails: The main reasons why garage doors come off track

Off the Rails: The main reasons why garage doors come off track

Off the Rails: The main reasons why garage doors come off track

There are a variety of reasons your garage door can come off its tracks. By understanding the ways in which this occurs you can be proactive against any potential issues and keep you and your family safe from any harm. Your garage door is most likely the largest moving component of your home, and if it happens to come off its tracks, it can be extremely dangerous. When a garage door is off its tracks the risk for serious injury greatly increases. It is important to stay vigilant of any potential problems and take necessary preventive measures to ensure no harm comes to you or your family. Let’s take a look at the most common reasons for your garage door to come “off the rails.”

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Your Car

It may seem silly, but the most common reason for a garage door to come off its tracks is due to homeowners hitting their doors with their vehicles. Unfortunately, this happens to the best of us. Too often people are late for work or are rushing to get home, or are just plain not paying attention and attempt to enter/exit the garage before the door is fully closed.

When this happens, the bottom sections of the door tend to take the brunt of the damage, however depending on the power of the impact, your door system, as a whole, likely took some damage. Your vehicle can be moving as slow as 3 mph and still do considerable damage to your door. Usually what happens when a car hits the garage is that a few of the rollers come off the tracks, leaving your garage door suspended only by the lift cables. A very dangerous situation. DO NOT attempt to repair yourself. Your garage door can weigh upwards of 400lbs. If this happens, turn off your car and exit the garage immediately, and call a local professional to come and get your door back in proper working order.

Bent Tracks/ Out-of-alignment Tracks

The next most common reason for garage doors coming off their tracks is poor quality or worn out horizontal tracks. When your garage door is open, the horizontal tracks are bearing nearly all the doors weight, which, mentioned earlier, can be up to 400 lbs for residential garage doors. If your horizontal tracks are older or are made from low gauge steel, a small impact can cause the tracks to bend or break. Tracks should be made with 14-gauge steel and be reinforced wherever possible to prevent inward and outward bending.

Improperly aligned tracks pose a similar threat to your garage door. This occurs when the horizontal tracks are not aligned parallel with the vertical tracks. This puts stress on the track reinforcements, typically causing the bracket bolts to come loose, allowing the tracks to bend. This effect becomes worse the more the garage is used, eventually leading to rollers popping off the tracks due to the tracks no longer being properly aligned.

Worn Out Rollers

Just one or two worn out rollers can spell serious trouble for your garage door. If one of your rollers breaks, yes, your garage will most likely still operate just fine. However, this adds additional stress to the other rollers, leading to their eventual demise. The extra weight applied to the rollers can also cause the horizontal tracks to bend due to the unequal application of weight.

It is important to make sure your garage door is equipped with the correct rollers for your specific door. If you can, request rollers with at least 10 ball bearings. The more the better. If there is too much friction during the open and closing process, the rollers are at risk of breaking. Also, make sure you have the right size roller. There are short stem and long stem rollers. Short stem rollers are used on single garage doors, while long stem rollers are recommended for double garage doors. 

Broken Lift Cables

This doesn’t happen often, but if you have an older opener, your garage door could be at risk. Your garage typically has two lift cables, one on either side of the door. The opener operates by winding the cables around a drum. If the door becomes out of line, either due to an impact or roller damage, the cables will not wind correctly, eventually leading them to unravel. When this happens, it is common for the cable to break under the sudden stress. When a cable breaks the complete weight of the door is transferred to one side, resulting in any rollers either coming off the tracks or breaking altogether. The strength of your lift cables should directly correlate with the size and weight of your door. If you have had your garage door replaced but not your opener, you may want to contact your local garage door professional to make sure your garage has the proper lift cables installed. For most residential garage doors, a 7-strand lift cable will get the job done safely.

Request Repair Services Today!

A garage door that falls of its tracks is a serious issue and should not be taken lightly. If your garage door has come off its tracks, or if you are unsure if your garage door is at risk of coming off it’s tracks, contact your local garage door experts at RCS Garage Doors for a repair or inspection.

Reasons to Replace Your Old Garage Door Opener

Reasons to Replace Your Old Garage Door Opener

Does your garage door opener look like it’s straight out of the ’80s? Do you worry about waking up your neighbors every time you open your garage in the morning to go to work? Do you have to perform a quasi-rain dance to get your door to open or close? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be time for a new garage door opener. You can’t underestimate the importance of your garage door opener. Your opener is responsible for opening and closing the largest moving component of your home, which, for nearly 70% of people, is a primary point of entry. Here are some reasons to consider replacing your old garage door opener.


Noise Reduction

Most older openers use chain drives or steel cables to raise and lower the door. Although strong and reliable, chain and cable drives create a lot of noise when opening and closing the garage door. Today’s opener manufacturers opt to utilize rubber belts instead of chains or cables, allowing for quieter operation. Similar to automobile tires, these rubber belts are reinforced with metal fibers, providing the belts with equal or greater reliability than its chain and cable counterparts.

In recent years, opener manufacturers have begun using DC-type motors rather than AC-type motors, due to their reliability. But, along with being more reliable than AC motors, DC motors are also quieter. AC motor openers begin the opening and closing process with a significant jerk as the motor hits its top speed immediately. This not only is hard on your garage door, but it can also be loud. DC motors begin the opening and closing process slowly, gradually increasing to regular speed, and then slowing down again before coming to a complete stop to prevent the door from slamming.


In the past 25 years, garage door safety has made tremendous strides. Prior to 1993, it was not required for garage door openers to have automatic reversal systems, which resulted in many garage door related accidents and injuries. But in 1993 it became a requirement for openers to be equipped with two automatic reversal systems, one mechanical and the other based on sensors. The first is triggered when the leading edge of the garage door encounters an object or person. Upon making contact the reversal system engages and automatically reverses the door. The second reversal system relies on a pair of photoelectric sensors, one located on either side of the door threshold. The two sensors are connected via an invisible beam of light, which if broken, forces the door to reverse.

Further strides in the name of protection were made in 1996 when it became mandatory for openers to utilize “rolling code” protection. This system prevents anyone from stealing the communication code between your garage door remote and the opener motor by automatically changing the access code each time the garage door is opened or closed. With more than a billion possible code combinations, this system makes it virtually impossible for anyone to break into your garage with a stolen code.


Today’s garage door openers are smarter than ever before. With technology such as LiftMaster’s MyQ®, your garage door opener is now able to connect to the Internet, allowing you to open and close your garage door using a mobile device from anywhere in the world. You can also use this technology to set up mobile alerts, so you can be notified when the garage door is being used or if you somehow forgot to close the garage door. With the ability to control your opener from across the globe and receive notifications about your garage door’s usage, you can travel with confidence.

Want more info?

Don’t hesitate to contact your local garage door experts at RCS Garage Doors with any of your opener questions. We are proud to offer the latest in opener technology from industry-leading manufacturer LiftMaster, and we are sure to have the perfect opener for you.