If your garage door tracks are doing well, then your life is on track—simple as that! Indeed, this part of your garage door installation plays an essential role in the machine’s overall function, ensuring consistent operation, silence, and safety.

Just like we’ve done before in our garage door company blog in entries such as “Garage Door Cables: The Ins and Outs,” Door Power is here to shed some light on the often illy talked about subject of garage door tracks. Understanding how each facet of your garage door works, and why it matters, is key to ensuring that your machine has a long, healthy life. Below, you’ll learn all you ever wanted to know about these sturdy constructions, topped off with a few indications that yours will soon need repairs.

What Are Garage Door Tracks?

Let’s start with the basics. Your garage door tracks are the stationary “lanes” that your garage door must move through every time it opens or closes. Without these lanes, there would be little way to make sure the garage door worked mechanically perfectly each time. With so many moving parts, stationary aspects are needed to keep them all in order, after all.

If you have an overhead door system, your garage door tracks are located on both the left and right sides of your door. Simply search for the upside-down L-shaped structures that run from floor to ceiling, and you’ll see them—they’re hard to miss!

Sliding garage doors, though, are made a little bit differently. These garage door tracks run along the top and bottom of the garage door, enabling it to slide back and forth into place seamlessly. Swing-out doors, like traditional carriage-house models, on the other hand, may not have tracks at all, since they swing outwards as their name implies and don’t fold back into the garage.

Why Are Garage Door Tracks Important?

Simple: because without them, your garage door wouldn’t work correctly—though that’s the truth with a variety of garage door parts, so let’s elaborate a little bit.

Your Garage door rides to the top of the tracks on a pair of rollers, which look like little wheels. If, for example, your garage door tracks become bent, these wheels cannot smoothly glide the door up or down, which in turn can cause strain on your garage door cables and spring. If the tracks were absent entirely, or if your garage door fell off of them, it’d likely be unable to open altogether. And all that weight on parts of your garage door that aren’t meant to deal with it can lead to some pretty damaging consequences.

Are All Garage Door Tracks the Same?

Nope! We’ve already covered the two basic formats—those for overhead garage doors and those for sliding garage doors—but the former category, in particular, is rich with options and customization opportunities. No matter the residential garage door installation you choose, there’s no doubt a track to support it.

Garage Door Tracks Come in Varying Widths

The width of your garage door track is just as it sounds: its measurement from one side of the track to the other. Generally speaking, you’ll find this measurement varies between one and three inches, with two being the most common for residential and commercial garage door installations alike. Three-inch tracks, however, are also used if a given model is exceedingly heavy.

Garage Door Tracks Come in Various Lift Types

Within vertically-oriented garage doors, you’ll find various options when it comes to how they place your garage door when it’s open. Some commercial garage door installations, for instance, rise vertically and increasingly away from the interior wall, while residential options tend to feature a curved section. Some garage door tracks, though, best resemble a combination of these two examples; tracks are truly diverse!

How Do I Know if my Garage Door Tracks Need Repair?

The most obvious sign of a problem is when your garage door fails to open entirely; usually, this is because the door has slipped off of the tracks. This is an exceedingly dangerous situation and one that requires professional garage door repair immediately! That being said, many things can cause a garage door to fail to open, so don’t start panicking yet. Check out our blog “Three Common Garage Door Problems and Causes” for a broader look at this issue.

Noisiness in the form of squeaking or groaning can also be a sign that something’s amiss, though this can simply be a sign that your garage door needs lubrication. We’ve got resources for you in that respect, too; give “What’s the Best Lubricant to Use on a Squeaky Garage Door?” a read!

Door Power: Your Source for Garage Door Info and Help

Our Norwood office is always ready to answer any of your garage door installation questions! Reach us today at 952-467-3199.