A Guide to DIY Garage Door Maintenance
Doing some routine maintenance on your garage door and its components can help you save money on costly garage door repairs in the future. We’ve put together a helpful and easy to use guide on how to maintain your garage door yourself with only some simple tools and supplies.
What You’ll Need to Maintain Your Garage Door
Simple household items can be used to test and perform maintenance on your garage door.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Broom – to test the sensors or photo eyes
- 2 x 4 piece of wood – to test the reverse mechanism
- Motor oil or WD-40 – to lubricate some parts of your garage door and opener
- Brake cleaner fluid – for cleaning the tracks of your garage door
- Window cleaner and paper towels
Now, let’s get started with some simple ways to make sure that your garage door performs as it should over the long haul.
Perform a Visual Inspection
A quick visual inspection of your garage door can prevent you from spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars in repair costs over time.
Check Your Garage Door’s Hardware
Over time, the bolts on your garage door’s hardware can become loose due to repetitive usage. It’s important to take a close look at the hardware such as the roller brackets that attach to the rails of your garage. They also connect the sections of your garage door to each other so make sure that the bolts are securely fastened and not wobbly.
Check the Torsion Spring
Does your garage door make a loud squeaking sound every time it opens or closes? It might just be a dry garage door spring. Open and close your garage door a few times and inspect the spring that is located directly above the garage door where it attaches to the wall. If your spring is broken, it’s time to contact a professional. If it is dry, you will need to lubricate it with some WD-40.
Inspect Your Garage Door’s Weather Stripping
Open your garage door and inspect the weather seal at the bottom of the door. Is it rotted, torn, or in otherwise bad shape? If so, it’s not doing a good job at insulating your garage or preventing rodents and other pests from coming into your garage.
It’s easy to replace the weather stripping of your garage door yourself. Remove the old piece of weather stripping by using a pry bar or a large flat head screwdriver. Clean the area with a damp rag and then install the new weather seal with 1 inch galvanized roofing nails every 3 inches across the bottom of your garage door.
How to Lubricate a Noisy Garage Door
The moving parts in your garage door must be lubricated from time to time for smooth and quiet operation. It is recommended that you use some sort of lithium or silicone based lubricant such as motor oil. There are also many different kinds of lubricants available that are specifically designed for garage doors that you can find at your local hardware store.
Lubricate the Rollers and Hinges
Use lubricant on metal rollers only. If you have nylon rollers, make sure to apply oil only to the bearings and not to the nylon rollers. Also lubricate the hinges then open and close the door several times to distribute the lubricant evenly.
Lubricating a Garage Door Chain
Open and close your garage door a few times and take a close look at the garage door opener’s chain. Is it making noise? Squeaking? If so then you will need to lubricate the garage door opener chain with some WD-40.
Lubricate the Garage Door Lock and Keyhole
Apply a few drops of lubricant on the key and work the keyhole several times. This will make sure that the internal parts of your garage door lock will not rust.
Test your Garage Door’s Safety Sensors or Photo Eyes
Where are Garage Door Safety Sensors?
The safety sensors or photo eyes are located closer to the floor on both sides of the garage door. These devices prevent the garage door from closing when the sensor sees movement near the door. This feature should be tested at least twice a year to make sure your garage door is operating safely.
How to Test the Sensors
Open your garage door completely. Press the close button on your garage door opener. As your garage door is closing, wave the broom in-between the path of the photo eyes. The door should automatically reverse back once your broom disrupts the sensors.
Cleaning the Sensors
Lean down and check the lens on the photo eye sensors of your garage door. If they are dirty, clean the sensors with a soft, dry cloth to remove any dirt. Sometimes it is helpful to spray some window washing solution on a paper towel to help remove tough residue or dirt from your garage door sensors.
Realigning the Photo Eyes of Your Garage Door
Your garage door photo eyes need to be facing each other to function properly. There should be lights blinking if the sensors need alignment. To do this, gently reposition the sensors to align each other perfectly and the blinking light should turn solid.
If realigning the sensors does not fix the issue, the photo sensors may need to be replaced by a trained technician. Consult your garage door manual for instructions that are relevant to your particular garage door opener.
Perform a Garage Door Balance Test
Begin this test with the door closed. First, pull the red emergency release cord which should be hanging down from the garage door. This cord will disengage the sprocket on your garage door rail so that you can manually open and close your door freely.
Next, lift the door manually to waist level and slowly release. Be cautious and move out of the way of the door in case it falls down sharply. The door should open with minimal resistance and once released, should slowly close gently. If the door does not open smoothly or drops quickly when released, it may need some cleaning.
How to Clean the Garage Door Tracks
Wet one side of a towel with brake cleaner and clean the garage door tracks. Wipe the tracks with a dry cloth to remove excess lubricant as that can attract more dirt.
Test Reverse Mechanism on Your Garage Door
It’s important to test to make sure that your garage door automatically reverses upon hitting an object as its closing. For example, if your car is half way out of the garage and you accidentally hit the close button on your garage door opener. You want to make sure the garage door automatically reverses back as it initially hits your car so that it can’t cause further damage.
To perform this simple test, grab a 2 x 4 and simply lay it perpendicular to the threshold of your garage. Now, close your garage door and wait until it hits the piece of wood. If it hits the piece of wood and reverses back to being open again, you’ll know that the reverse mechanism is properly working. If not, consult the owner’s manual of your garage door opener or get the help of a professional garage door installer.
Remember, perform a bi-annual visual inspection, photo eye test, reversing mechanism test, balance test, and be sure to lubricate the moving parts of the system as needed. With these easy tips, you can keep your garage door functioning properly to keep you and your home safe for a long time.