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DIY Fixing a Garage Door That Sticks

The past two months, we been fighting our garage door that sticks.

By “garage door sticks“, I mean that it would start down when we push the garage door button, but then get stuck about 1 foot down and come back up.  To get around this, we would have to push the garage door button at the point where it first gets stuck, then push it again so that it would continue down from that point.

This technique, while obviously not preferred, worked for the past few months.  After we came back from vacation though, it would sometimes require 2 or 3 stops and continues to get the door to close.  Well, that was ridiculous, so I decided to have it fixed.

First I asked the guys in the office that I work with, and they said to bite the bullet and hire someone to fix it.  They said it would run between $200 to $300.  As a frugal guy, I decided to try to fix it myself (staying away from the spring that opens the door, since touching it isn’t the safest thing to do).

So what I did was to climbed up a ladder and watch the garage door as my son opened and closed it a few times.  During this observation stage, I noticed a few thing that could be the cause of my problem, like the fact that the chain was very loose and that practically everything could be cleaned and oiled.

I googled the problem with the keyword phrase “garage door sticks” and basically read articles that suggested oiling the track and rollers.  Next a few articles suggested replacing the gears.

Next I googled my particular model, which was a craftman 1/2 hp model:

Garage Door motor
Garage Door motor


The few articles that I recommended stated stuff that I already knew and already read (oil the track and hinges).

Another article recommended to oil the bottom roller that rides in the track very well.  I check and it did look a bit rusty and not as easily moving as it should have been.

Garage Door Roller
Garage Door Roller


The last thing I didn’t find online via google, but the fact that the chain was so loose bothered me.  I was sure that it shouldn’t be that loose!  So I started looking from some type of tension screw or mechanism to make the chain a bit tighter.

Garage Door Screw Tension
Garage Door Screw Tension


So after climbing the ladder a few times, thinking about it for a while, and reading google a few times, here is what I did:

  1. Wiped clean the track that the garage door uses to slide on, then oiled it.
  2. Oiled the rollers, especially the bottom ones with WD40.
  3. Search for a tension adjustment screw, and figure out how it works.
  4. Tightened the chain via the tension screw.  I left a little bit of slack though, but it’s was much tighter than before.
  5. Pat myself on the back for a job well done.

And there you have it!  After doing all of the above, I tried the garage door and it worked like a champ!  If you follow what I describe in the steps above, it should take you about 10 minutes to perform versus the hour that it took for me.

Now I wish I had fixed it about a month ago…  Oh well, better late than never.


12 Responses to DIY Fixing a Garage Door That Sticks

  1. Nothing is that difficult if you put the time in to figure it out. The problem with spending $200 is not that it’s $200, but there are a handful of things like that which happen every year, so suddenly handyman crap goes from a $200 expense to $1000, especially in older houses.

    It’s probably a good idea to oil the gears and chain anyway as a Preventive Maintenance thing..hmm I wonder where my can of WD40 is.

    • 🙂 yeah, I’ll probably start to check the garage door yearly now that I know it’s prone to sticking.

      Good luck finding your can of WD40 (the best chemical creation ever!)

  2. Nice DIY results MR! I’ve had the same problem before. With my garage I tried cleaning the motion sensors on each side of the door which seems to have helped for now. I never thought to check the chains and track. Good to know, thanks! -Sydney

    • Once the sensors got bent my a bike (my son swears he didn’t do it). I just bent it back and was back in business.

      Overall the garage door hasn’t been too bad…

  3. PERFECT TIMING! My garage door has been sticking. I would have to press the button and then pull it down past the point where the “stick” happens.

    What do you mean by oil the track? Did you just put WD-40 on a cloth and rub it up and down?