A lot of homeowners often overlook garage door maintenance. Despite how trivial the task looks, inspecting and maintaining your garage door is something that you should consider doing at least twice a year. When a garage door is neglected, a lot of stress is exerted on the door’s automatic opener. Spending one hour or even two in late fall and early spring each year could save you a lot of stress and keep you from spending hundreds, or even thousands on repairs.
Fortunately, there’s an easy ten-step routine that you could follow to improve the state of your garage door. For convenience, consider inspecting your garage door at the same time you perform activities you do seasonally like putting your lawnmower in storage for the cold season or winterizing your lawn sprinklers. Here are some tips on how to ensure your garage door stays in tip-top conditions.
Watch the Door and Listen to It When It Is Operating
Well-tuned, well-maintained garage doors are relatively quiet as they move up and down and do not jerk around when in motion.
Garage door and automatic opener issues tend to manifest in the form of grating, scraping sounds, and jerky movements. Well-tuned, well-maintained garage doors are relatively quiet as they move up and down and do not jerk around when in motion. When closing the door, look at its system – the pulleys, cables, and springs – and ensure they are symmetrical. You might then consider Euroline Steel Windows and Doors.
Clear the Door’s Tracks
Take a moment to inspect the tracks on eiter side of the door to ensure they’re free of rust, dust, and debris. To ensure the tracks are perfectly vertical or plumb along their vertical sections, consider using a level. While you can handle minor track adjustments by yourself, major adjustments are better left to a professional and experienced garage door technician.
Tighten the Door’s Hardware
Since garage doors move up and down hundreds of times annually, the vibration and motion can loosen up the track and door hardware. Make sure you inspect the brackets that hold the door’s track to the ceiling and wall as well as the fasteners that anchor the door’s opening unit to the frame. If you spot any loose bolts, tighten them up with a socket wrench.
Inspect and Replace the Door’s Rollers
The rollers located along the edge of the door should be inspected twice a year at the very least and replaced every five to seven years. If you notice that your rollers are worn, chipped, or cracked while inspecting the door, replace them immediately. The good thing is that most rollers can be easily removed by simply removing the brackets that hold them to the garage door.
Please Note: When removing the brackets, don’t remove the ones that cover the bottom rollers on each side of the garage door as they are attached to the door’s lift cables, which are generally under extreme tension.
Check the Pulleys and Cables
Inspect the pulleys and lift cables attached to the door’s bottom roller brackets. It is these pulleys and lifts cables that connect the springs and the door, so it lifts and lowers safely. Garage doors typically have one of two types of garage door springs:
- Extension Springs – Long and skinny springs that run along the length of the overhead or horizontal portion of each track.
- Torsion Springs – These springs are mounted on metal rods located above the door opening.
It is worth noting that both spring types use cables to lift a garage door.
A majority of garage door experts advise homeowners not to touch springs and cables. As high-tension parts, these components are quite dangerous. If you notice any broken strands or signs of damage or wear on the cables, please call a garage door specialist and have them look at the problem for you.
Lubricate Moving Parts
Ensuring the door’s rollers and any other moving parts are well lubricated will help reduce stress on the door’s openers and rollers, prolonging their useful lives. Apply a quality spray lubricant like white lithium grease on the door’s hinges and rollers at least two times a year. If any hinges or roller seem stuck, spray a penetrating solution such as WD-40 before wiping them clean and applying some grease.
Also, make sure you grease the bearings on torsion spring openers and the pulleys in extension spring openers. For rusty torsion springs, apply a bit of oil and wipe them down. If the door opener has a metal screw or chain, spray a bit of white lithium grease on it. Never use lubricants on belt drive openers.
Test the Door’s Balance
When a garage door isn’t properly balanced, its opener is forced to work harder, which means it won’t last that long. A garage door needs to be so well-balanced by its springs, that just a few pounds of force lift it up. To test this, pull the automatic opener’s release handle and manually lift the door to halfway open – it should remain in place without any help. If it does not, it is either the springs are old and worn, or the door is improperly balanced. Call a professional in and have them look at the springs.
Test the Door’s Auto-Reverse Feature
Every automatic garage door opener has an auto-reverse feature that’s designed to stop and reverse the door’s direction if it hits an object as the door closes or detects objects in the path of the door. The system is generally activated by a pair of photocells or pressure sensors located on either side of the garage door.
To test the pressure sensor, place a piece of 2 by four board flat on the floor in the door’s path. When it comes down and touches the board you’ve laid down, it should immediately reverse and go back up. To test the door’s photoelectric systems with sensors on each side, have the door close the pass a foot in the path of the door. If the sensors are working just fine, the door will reverse and go back up.
For instructions on how to adjust the door’s auto-reverse function, consult the garage door’s opener instructions manual. Door openers on older garage doors lack this basic feature that’s now considered mandatory in many areas and should be replaced.
Replace or Repair the Weatherstripping
Almost all garage doors have a rubber weatherstripping that runs along the door’s bottom and whose work is to keep out the cold, dirt, dust, and water. Don’t forget it at least twice a year to ensure it’s in great shape. Some weatherstrippings are fitted to the bottom of the garage door using a flange that slides into grooves located at the bottom of the door. For wooden doors, the stripping is generally nailed in place. The good thing is that it’s sold in large rolls or by the foot at big-box home improvement stores and hardware stores.
Some garage doors have weatherstripping along the sides; if yours does, don’t forget to check its condition. Reattach loose spots or replace the entire stripping if it’s damaged or worn out.
Clean the Door and Give It a New Coat of Paint
While checking other components, do not forget to inspect the door itself. If your door is made of steel, check for rust spots that need to be sanded down, primed, and painted over. Fiberglass garage doors can be washed in all-purpose cleaners. However, when it comes to wood garage doors, you need to pay close attention since they are susceptible to water damage and warping. Remove peeling and chipped paint before sanding and repainting the door. If your garage door is made of wood and doesn’t have any weatherstripping along its bottom, ensure the edge is painted or well-sealed before installing weatherstripping.