A garage door with rough operation may shake and shudder a bit when it is in operation, but otherwise, it should seem to work fine. The problem still needs to be addressed before it develops into something more damaging.
Rough movement of the garage door can be the result of track issues. Tracks can be out of alignment, for example, which prevents the door wheels from smoothly traveling up and down. Dirt in the track, combined with poor lubrication of the track and wheels, is another common issue. The wheels themselves can also fail over time. Typical types of failure include the bearings in the wheels giving out or the wheels themselves becoming pitted and damaged.
Hardware and balance problems are another cause of rough movement. Over time, hardware works loosen from temperature fluctuations as well as normal operation of the door. The door may also come out of balance, which can make it move unevenly in the track and jerk a bit as it opens or closes.
Shaking and rough movement are not always the only symptoms, and using other diagnostics can help determine the actual cause. If a loud squeal or screech is coming from the tracks, for example, the issue is likely with track alignment, lubrication, or wheel condition. Grinding or straining noises from the motor, on the other hand, may indicate that the door is off balance and is stressing the main drive system.
If the door hangs unevenly or one side doesn't shut completely, then the balance is most likely the culprit for loose movement. If the door seems to operate fine but it shudders and rattles a bit, then hardware may have come loose or the moving parts may simply need to be lubricated for smoother movements.
Track problems are the most common cause of shaking and rough movement. The first task is to make sure the tracks are cleaned of all debris, from the smallest cobweb to the compressed leaves that are stuck inside. Then, a thin layer of garage door lubricant must be applied to the inside of the track. Finally, inspect the wheels. If they are in good condition, then simply lubricate them. If they look rough or won't roll smoothly, replace them with new wheels. This is also a good time to check all the screws and hinges and to lubricate the hinges, in case the hardware is the culprit.
Next, adjust alignment and balance as necessary. Track alignment is straightforward if you decide to attempt it yourself. There are screws in the track that adjust alignment, simply move these in small increments until the door operates smoothly. Balancing requires more finesse and the high tension springs may require adjustment. For safety's sake, bring in a professional for balancing.
Contact a local service for garage door repair if you have more questions about your door's rough operation.