Preventative maintenance is paramount to ensuring your garage door operates as designed. Overlooking it can lead to serious consequences. Seasonal garage door maintenance should be done twice a year; these tips on garage door maintenance can save you $1,000 or more in repairs later.
Pay Attention to Your Garage Door
If there is noise, listen carefully. Do you hear scraping sounds, or is there incessant grinding from one location? If the motion is jerky or the door is uneven, you may have a spring, cable, or pully problem and should investigate further. If anything seems unusual, contact a service professional right away.
Proceed with Caution
Before you start maintenance, unplug the garage door opener, move controls out of the way, and secure the rollers below where you’re working. If a lift cable needs to be removed, release any tension on the spring first. And… leave overhead torsion spring repairs to a professional.
Test Your Balance
An imbalanced garage door will put strain on the opener and other parts. You can test its balance by activating the release mechanism (usually a red cord) and moving the door up manually. Leave it halfway open; if it doesn’t stay in place, the springs aren’t balanced, and a professional adjustment is needed.
Lubricate rollers, hinges, pulleys, bearings, springs, and chains or screws. It only takes a few minutes. You can use an everyday product such as WD-40. After wiping parts dry, lubricate them with a 3-in-1 oil. Here are some other useful lubrication tips:
- Kerosene can help with stuck rollers and hinges.
- White lithium grease works on chain or screw mechanisms.
- Do not apply lubricant to any belt-drive opener.
Check, But Don’t Touch, Cables
Look for broken strands or damage to the bottom of the roller bracket. Do not touch high-tension cables or try to repair them. If they break, you can be severely injured or killed, so call a professional if something looks off.
Inspect the Tracks
Cracks, bends, and other track problems can cause your garage door to get stuck or fall. Track repair is often inexpensive; replacing a door is not. If you see worn, pinched, or broken track, call a professional. Debris should be immediately cleared away. You can also use a level to see if it needs adjustments, which a technician should perform.
Weatherstripping keeps out dust and dirt and helps insulate your garage. Damaged or missing weatherstripping can allow water entry or reduce the efficiency of your home. A brittle, cracked seal can be replaced without professional help; just insert it into the grooves at the bottom or, if it’s a wooden door, nail the strip in place.
Test the Safety Features
Check your auto-reverse system by placing your leg in the path of the photosensor. The door should reverse direction. Mechanical reverse mechanisms can be assessed by placing a brick or piece of wood in the path of the door. Both should be tested regularly.
Take Care of Your Door
Steel doors can develop rust, which you can sand off before priming and painting. If a wood door is warped, chipped, or has water damage or peeling paint, address the problem as soon as possible to limit damage. No matter the material, wash it regularly with an all-purpose cleaner.