There is no other part of your home that experiences as much wear and tear as your garage door. You never realize how often you use your garage door until the day it breaks down on you.
The majority of families in the United States use the garage as the main entrance into their home, being used multiple times throughout the day, thousands of times per year. When kept in good working order, it can provide security and storage at your convenience.
Having a garage can really make life easier, but when it is not cared for can become a safety risk to you, your family, and especially children. With it’s natural wear and tear, a garage door cable can come apart or a door opener can malfunction, resulting in a hazard to your belongings and anyone near your door.
In order to keep it running properly, it is essential to perform routine maintenance to avoid expensive repairs. The following top 10 garage door maintenance tips for homeowners will help keep your door working properly for years to come. These maintenance tips require no special skills and usually take less than 10 minutes each to perform.
Required Materials Needed
Avoid last minute trips the hardware store by having all of your materials onsite and ready ahead of time. You may not use every single tool listed, but having it available will save you time and frustration.
- Wrench set
- Tape Measure
- Screw gun
- Lubricant/Cleaner (WD-40)
- White Lithium Grease
- Flat blade screwdriver
- Garage door rollers
In order to ensure safety while working on your garage, remember to never remove the lift cable. The garage cables are under extreme tension and will cut like a knife if released.
Never try to adjust or release the garage door springs. This is a job that should be left for the professionals only.
1.) Paying Attention
When was the last time you visually inspected your garage door? You may not be a certified technician, but you can take the time to check out your garage.
If you have a metal garage, check for rust spots. These areas should be sanded, primed and painted. If you have a wooden garage door, it should be checked for water damage. If not sealed properly, wood garage can warp and lose their shape over time.
It will also be good to wash your door on a regular basis with an all-purpose cleaner. Your garage door makes up a large portion of the exterior of your home, so keeping it clean and presentable will have a positive effect on the appearance of your home.
2.) Watch & Listen To Your Door As It Operates
Do you have a noisy garage door? Do the springs pulleys and cables on both sides look symmetrical? Does it move smoothly? Or does it jerk in certain places?
Taking the time to observe and listen to your garage every time you use it is the best precaution every homeowner can perform. By doing this, you will be aware when something doesn’t sound right, or when something looks out of place.
3.) Testing The Balance
First, disconnect the opener. You do this by pulling the red handle at the end of the red cord. Once it is disconnected, open the door about half way. If the garage door starts to close on its own, then the garage door is not balanced properly. The springs on the door need to be re-adjusted. We recommend that you contact a certified professional to repair or replace your springs.
Your garage opener will have to work harder if the door is not properly balanced. This will ultimately shorten the lifespan of the door.
4.) Test Safety Features (Auto-Reverse)
There are two safety mechanisms on your garage: mechanical and photocell. A door that does not have these safety features is outdated and needs to be replaced immediately.
In order to test the mechanical safety feature on your garage, place a solid object on the ground in the path of the garage door. When the garage touches the object while closing, it should automatically go back up.
When testing the photocell feature on your garage, simply stick out your leg in the door’s path when closing. Your leg will come in contact with the photoelectric beam (not visible) that runs across the bottom of the door. The garage should automatically reverse once your leg contacts the photoelectric beam.
5.) Visually Inspect Your Cables
You should never touch the cables. These high tension cables are responsible for lifting the door. They have enough force to cause serious injuries, even death. You can visually inspect that garage cables too if there are any broken strands or anything that is out of order. If you see there is damage, we recommend that you hire a professional.
6.) Clear The Tracks
Take a look at the tracks on both sides of the door. Clean the garage door tracks so there is no debris or trash. Also, look for any physical damage making sure it is straight and aligned. Tracks that are damaged can cause the door to not be smooth and it will be very noisy.
Spray the garage tracks with a citrus-based solvent or WD-40, then wipe everything clean with a cloth. If needed, use an old toothbrush to loosen up dirt and grime, then wipe with a cloth.
Any major repairs or adjustments to the tracks should be handled by a professional garage door technician.
7.) Apply Oil To The Moving Parts
Ten minutes of work can add years to the life of your garage door. Keeping your door parts lubricated will keep your garage running smooth and quiet. Your should use white lithium grease on your garage opener chain and spray lubricants on the rollers, hinges, bearings and tracks. Also apply grease to the garage door opener chain or drive screw.
Remember, never attempt to do any work on the springs or cables. Leave that to the professionals.
8.) Replace Weatherstripping (If Needed)
The weatherstrip is the piece of rubber attached to the bottom of your door. It is called a U-shaped astragal. It keeps that rain water, debris and rodents from entering your garage. Check along the side of the door and adjust the stripping if necessary.
You should replace the rubber weather strip on your door if it’s starting to crack and fall apart. Use a flat blade screwdriver to remove the old weather strip before installing a new one.
They are easily found at any hardware store like Home Depot or Lowe’s and are usually sold by the foot. All you have to do is find the width that best fits your situation, cut it to fit your garage, then install. You can also contact your local garage company if you have further questions or concerns.
9.) Check All The Bolts & Screws On Your Door
Examine and tighten the brackets on the rollers and the bolts with a (socket) wrench. The average garage opens and closes more than a thousand times a year. It is easy for hardware, screws and bolts to become loose with all the movement and vibration.
10.) Replace The Rollers
Garage rollers that are cracked, worn or chipped should be replaced immediately. You should only attempt to replace the rollers if it is not attached to the door cable system.
Whether you have nylon rollers or steel rollers on your garage, they should be inspected at least twice a year and should be replaced every 7 years. If you use your door more frequently, then you should inspect your rollers more often throughout the year.
If you still feel as if you don’t have enough time to do this type of check up, then call a garage door professional to schedule an appointment. Most garage companies offer affordable tune up services to keep your garage door operating smoothly.