How to repair a garage door – DIY fixes for common garage door problems

You can repair a garage door yourself and fix up those common problems without the big spend. Maintain yours properly for less issues down the line.

White painted garage doors
(Image credit: Getty Images x Kelvin Murray)

Like many other aspects of our homes, we tend to take the functioning of garage doors for granted until we hit a sudden snag. Thankfully, you can repair a garage door yourself to save on the cost of hiring a professional. Plenty of garage door problems can be fixed with these DIY solutions.

And because many garage door issues can be avoided in the first place with a simple maintenance routine, as well as giving you the lowdown on repairs, we’ve got maintenance advice for you, too.

Can you fix a broken garage door?

You can fix a broken garage door in many cases, although there will also be occasions when a DIY repair isn’t possible and you’ll need to call in a professional.

The good news? You can repair garage door openers, fix breakages, and sort out squeaks and other glitches if you’re happy to tackle home fixes yourself.

How to repair garage door openers

Garage door openers can suddenly cease to work, but there are a number of common problems that can cause this to happen – and that you can solve.

First of all, you need to assess whether the problem is caused by a faulty garage door opener, or by the door itself. If it’s closed, you can pull the cord for emergency release and lift the door. If this isn’t smooth, it likely isn’t the opener that’s the problem, but the door itself needs repair in some way.

If you can operate the door via the wall switch, but the remote isn’t working, the issue could be as simple as the fact that it needs new batteries. If that doesn’t help, the remote itself could need replacement with either the same model or a universal design. 

Wall switch not working as well as remote not working? Check the motor unit is securely plugged in. If this doesn’t fix things, check whether it has tripped the circuit breaker and reset. There could be a fuse to replace, too. 

Garage door opens, but not fully? Check the rollers, which might need lubrication or replacement.

And if the door won’t close completely? Check that the safety sensors aren’t impeded by leaves or debris. You should also check the rollers if the door won’t close completely and lubricate them or replace if necessary.

How to repair garage door springs

Garage door springs do wear out over time and, unlike other garage door problems which occur suddenly, you might well anticipate this one as the door becomes difficult for you to lift or the opener is struggling.

In order to replace garage door springs, you will need the same type as well as length of springs as currently.

Fit them according to the type, which is usually either torsion or extension. This is a job for a confident DIYer, so if you’re in doubt, call in a professional for this repair.

What to do with a squeaky garage door

A garage door that squeaks is annoying, but don’t just put up with it. It’s a sign that you need to pay attention to. 

The rollers could be the cause of a squeaking garage door, so use a garage door lubricant or silicone-based lubricant on them plus their hinges.

The hinges that hold together the different parts of the door could also be the problem, and these should also be lubricated when the door develops a squeak.

The springs may be squeaking, so spray these from the top so the lubricant moves down the the base of the springs. 

How to fix garage door panels

Garage door panels might need to be repaired if, for example, a ball has been kicked at the door. However, if someone accidentally drives into the door at low speed, or a ride-on mower collides with the door, say, replacement of the damaged panel might be a better option.

If the damage is minor, try hammering out the dent. Place a two-by-four on the risen side of the door, then tap with a rubber mallet to get rid of the dent. 

A small dent could also be fixed with auto body filler. Sand the area first, then mix the filler with hardener and use in the dent. Leave to dry, then sand again, remove the dust and paint to match the rest of the door.

If the dent is more major, and the door panel needs to be replaced, it’s best to call in a garage door professional to do the job for you.

How to fix garage door seals

If time has taken its toll on your garage door seal and you can see daylight below the garage door when it’s closed, it’s time to replace it. 

If the door is made from wood, use a hammer to take out any nails securing the seal to the bottom of the door, then sand the bottom of the door smooth and apply wood sealer, according to instructions. Leave to dry. 

Replace with a new seal strip, using galvanized nails to attach it to the door.

For a metal door with a channel on the bottom, you will need to replace the rubber gasket. Slide the replacement into the tracks on the channel. 

How to maintain a garage door

A lot of garage door problems can be avoided in the first place with regular maintenance. These are the jobs you should do regularly:

Lubricate and clean the garage door parts with oil every couple of years,’ recommends Andrew Ervin, founder of Maxsin Investment Group. ‘Look at the moving parts of the garage door panels and overhead track system. 

‘Lubricate all moving parts with silicone or grease because it lasts longer, and it flows to those active areas – motor oil is fine.

‘Put some drops of oil on each hinge, bearing, shafts, springs, rollers, but not the nylon wheels.

‘The extension or torsion spring should be lubricated or “wet”. As it dries, it creates greater wear when the coils compress under high tension.’

Clean the tracks of any dust or debris using a broom but work carefully.

Check the hardware and tighten any bolts and roller brackets that have loosened with use.

Take a look at the door balance. Disconnect from the opener and pull the cord until the door is half-way up. If it moves up or down rather than stopping, the tension of the springs may need adjustment or they might need to be replaced.

Inspect rollers. If they don’t work smoothly, they should be replaced.

Check cables for any damage or fraying. Call in a professional who can replace them safely if you see any problems.

Test the auto reverse as this is an important safety feature of a garage door. Repair or replacement is essential if it’s not working as it should.

Check out the paintwork on the door. If yours is looking tired, find out how to paint a garage door.

Look at the condition of the floor and if yours is stained or greasy, discover how to paint a garage floor.

How much does it cost to replace a garage door?

If your garage door needs replacement, expect to pay from around $600 for the least expensive single steel door with installation costing from around $600. A garage door’s style, size and the materials from which it’s made will all influence the final invoice, and prices can be dramatically higher for the most prized wood and composite garage doors.

In the UK, expect to pay from around £750 for a single steel up-and-over door including installation. Other materials are more costly, as are sectional doors, insulated versions and roller doors.

Sarah Warwick
Sarah Warwick

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She’s spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes – long enough to see fridges become smart, decorating fashions embrace both minimalism and maximalism, and interiors that blur the indoor/outdoor link become a must-have. She loves testing the latest home appliances, revealing the trends in furnishings and fittings for every room, and investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement. It's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house revamper. For Realhomes.com, Sarah reviews coffee machines and vacuum cleaners, taking them through their paces at home to give us an honest, real life review and comparison of every model.

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