7 Garage Door Maintenance Tips

By: Toni Matthews-El

Timely garage door maintenance and inspection can save you money and offer peace of mind. Whether you use a garage door daily or hardly ever, it’s a good idea to plan for routine maintenance. The type and amount of inspection involved will vary depending on these key factors:

  • Do you live in a place that experiences heavy snowfall annually?
  • Does the temperature get up to triple digits or drop below freezing?
  • Is your garage used often or is it mainly closed?
  • Do you keep important tools or items in your garage that you’ll need easy and frequent access to?

Keep these types of questions in mind, as they’ll play a role in how you examine your garage door and what issues you should watch out for. Read on for important tips about maintaining the health and function of your garage door.

Routine tests you should perform

Ideally, you’ll want to give your garage door a close inspection every few months, or sooner depending on the amount of wear and tear it experiences. When you inspect your garage door, here are some routine tests to perform.

Visual inspection

Open your garage door, looking out for any obstructions and observing any unusual noises that could signal that something’s wrong. Once the garage door is fully open, check the rubber seals around the bottom of your door and make sure nothing is cracked or damaged. While looking at the door, check that the lift cable isn’t frayed or unraveling and that there aren’t any broken strands near the bottom roller bracket. Any damaged areas of the garage door should be fixed or replaced immediately.

Balance

The balance test will help you determine if your garage door springs are in good condition and your door is properly balanced. Pull the emergency release cord on the garage door opener and lift the door to a midpoint level. Once it’s in position, release it (note: don’t let the door go if it feels heavy). The door should remain in the middle position without going up or crashing down, proving that door balance is optimal and the springs are working properly.

Photocell

Photocell sensors use a reflector and an infrared beam that’s invisible to the human eye. Should something break the beam as the garage door is closing, the photocell function will cause the door to shift into reverse. This safety feature is handy for preventing injuries and damage to objects in the path of the garage door.

To test that the garage door’s photocell sensor is working correctly, open your garage door. Then, place a small, hard object under the door and in the beam’s path. Trigger the garage door to close. If functioning properly, the garage door should reverse as soon as the sensor detects the beam.

Reversal

To test the safety features on your garage door and garage door opener, perform a reversal test. For this test, place a small object under the door and press the garage door opener to start the closing process. The garage door should begin to reverse as soon as it hits the object.

You want to ensure the reverse feature is sensitive enough so that the door will reverse as soon as it makes direct contact with an obstruction. If it ignores the object, this represents a safety hazard and should be addressed immediately.

Preventative garage door maintenance tips

Below are a series of preventative measures you can take to ensure your garage doors work properly.

1. Check high-priority areas of the garage door

While it’s good to keep up with the overall quality of your garage door, there are certain parts that require more immediate attention.

  • Garage door hinges—Should these hinges break, the sections could fall out of the track. If you notice that the door hinges or track hardware are loose, use a screwdriver to tighten the fasteners.
  • Garage door spring—This spring is what helps the door lift. If it’s not working, the door will barely rise or will feel very heavy when you try to lift it yourself. Its high tension can make it dangerous to examine the spring yourself, so professional help would be needed.
  • Door tracks—If the door tracks become misaligned, the garage door will no longer lift or close smoothly.

2. Perform seasonal maintenance tasks

As temperatures and weather conditions change during the course of the year, they will most definitely impact your garage door. For example, extreme weather can cause rusting or damage caused by heavy winds, so you’ll want to prep your doors to prevent severe damage. In the weeks before winter, check that the weather stripping around your garage door isn’t loose or cracked. Weather stripping keeps out moisture and cold air and prevents mold.

3. Allocate a proper amount of time for garage door maintenance

Routine inspection might feel mundane, but it’s definitely not something you should rush through. Set aside an hour or two to look over each section of your garage door and determine if all parts in good working condition.

4. Have a budget in place

Plan to have a couple of hundred dollars on hand in the event that repairs are needed. With this emergency fund to address any possible issue, you’ll feel significantly less stressed should a problem arise.

5. Keep certain tools on hand

Whether it’s a heavy-duty cable cutter or winding bars for garage door torsion springs, you’ll want to look into what garage tools or replacement parts you may need and try to keep them on hand. Having what you need before you need it is a good way to stay on track with your garage door maintenance tasks.

6. Clean your garage doors

If you have wood doors, it’s important to keep them clean. A buildup of moisture or dirt on the wood can cause the door to warp or bend over time. Clean your garage doors at least once a year with a rag, mild soap, and water.

7. Look out for pests

Metal garage doors aren’t as susceptible to pests as wooden doors are, but it’s still worth it to check for holes or tunnels caused by insects in both types of doors. If you do find evidence of these pests, create a DIY pest repellent or contact your local pest control professional to address the problem.

Frequently asked questions

How often do I need to lubricate my garage doors?

It’s recommended that you lubricate garage hinges, extension springs, roller brackets, and tracks every three months. You can lubricate the garage rail annually.

Can I use WD40 on my garage door?

Yes, but it’s probably best to use it for cleaning the garage tracks. WD40 White Lithium Grease is somewhat of a lightweight lubricant and works best on materials that don’t have to do too much. Because the moving part of a garage door has a heavy workload, it’s going to require a heavyweight lubricant.

How much does garage door maintenance cost?

The overall cost will depend on what items need to be repaired or replaced. If you need to repair your garage door cables, for example, you can expect to spend around $145. However, garage door springs can cost as low as $50 to repair.


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