Garage Door – Protecting Your Home & Family
As one of the largest moving parts of your home, garage doors require regular maintenance and care to ensure they continue functioning smoothly for years to come. Proper maintenance not only extends the life expectancy of your garage door but also prevents costly repairs down the road.
This comprehensive guide from Wallen Garage Door Repair and Installation will walk you through everything you need to know about maintaining your garage door. We’ll cover cleaning, inspections, hardware adjustments, safety checks, and more. Whether you have a steel, aluminum, wood, or fiberglass garage door, following these maintenance tips will keep it running like new.
Cleaning the Garage Door
Regular cleaning is crucial for garage door maintenance. A dirty door can lead to damage and operational issues over time. Here’s how to keep your garage door clean:
Wash the Panels
The garage door panels endure exposure to dirt, grime, bird droppings, and other elements. Every few months, mix mild dish soap with warm water and wash the panels using a soft brush or cloth. Rinse thoroughly. This prevents the accumulation of debris that can impede smooth operation.
Clean the Windows
Garage doors with windows should have the glass cleaned regularly for visibility and aesthetics. Use a designated glass cleaner and soft cloth. Avoid abrasive cleaners. Keeping the windows clean allows natural light into the garage.
Remove Debris from Tracks
Check the door tracks for dirt, leaves, pebbles, and other debris which can obstruct the rollers. Use a vacuum and soft brush to thoroughly clean the tracks. Proper track maintenance ensures smooth travel.
Lubricate the Tracks
Apply garage door track lubricant to prevent excessive wear and tear. Use a spray-on silicone or lithium-based lubricant, keeping the tracks free of grease buildup. This allows near-silent operation.
Inspecting for Damage and Wear
In addition to cleaning, you should periodically inspect your garage door for any signs of damage or wear. Addressing problems early on can prevent costly repairs. Call Wallen Garage Door Repair and Installation to schedule a maintenance inspection to ensure that your garage door will keep operating as it should.
Check for Dents and Rust
Inspect steel and aluminum garage doors closely for any dents, cracks, or rust spots. Apply touch-up paint to prevent rust from spreading. Severe damage may need professional repair.
Examine Decorative Hardware
Check hinges, rollers, and pulls for loose screws, sagging, or wear. Tighten any loose hardware. Replace rollers/hinges showing signs of wear for smooth operation.
Test the Auto-Reverse Sensors
Place an object under the door while closing to confirm the auto-reverse sensors activate properly. Adjust sensitivity or realign sensors as needed. This safety feature prevents injury/damage.
Evaluate Overall Balance
Manually lift the door halfway to check if it holds position or drifts down. If drifting, the torsion springs likely need adjustment by a professional to properly balance the door.
Maintaining the Garage Door Hardware
From hinges to rollers, garage door hardware enables smooth movement. Maintain these parts for optimal performance. Schedule an annual check-up for your garage door with Wallen Garage Door Repair and Installation today!
Lubricate the Moving Parts
Apply garage door lubricant to hinges, rollers, and bearings every 6 months. Lubrication reduces friction and noise. Avoid grease which can collect dirt and debris.
Inspect Cables and Pulleys
Check cables and pulleys for fraying and damage which can cause spring failure. Have worn parts replaced by a professional to avoid sudden breakage while operating the door.
Tighten Loose Bolts/Screws
Examine brackets, hinges, tracks, and handles for loose hardware. Use a ratchet to tighten any loose bolts and screws on the door. This maintains structural integrity.
Garage Door Opener Maintenance
Test the Auto-Reverse
Place an object such as a roll of paper towels or a broom handle under the closing garage door to confirm that the auto-reverse mechanism engages properly. Adjust the force settings or realign the safety sensors as needed if the door does not reverse course when obstructed. Testing auto-reverse functionality ensures the door will stop and reverse direction if a person or object is underneath it when closing. If you are unsure how to perom this task, call Wallen Garage Door Repair and Installation and we will take care of it for you.
Check the Remote Battery
Replace the small coin cell battery in your garage door remote transmitter every 12 months to maintain reliable functionality even in cold weather. Check that the LED light flashes when buttons are pressed to confirm the battery has sufficient charge. Dispose of old lithium coin cell batteries properly by taking them to a battery recycling location rather than putting them in the trash.
Update the Opener Firmware
Check the manufacturer website for any available firmware updates for your specific garage door opener model and install them to get the latest features, bug fixes, and security enhancements for smart functionality. Firmware updates may improve performance, connectivity with smartphones, and remote access capabilities.
Lubricate the Opener Chain/Drive
Apply garage door opener lubricant spray or grease to the motor drive chain or screw every 6-12 months per the manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines to maintain quiet operation. Lubrication reduces friction and wear on metal moving parts. Listen for squeaking or grinding noises as a sign that lubrication is needed.
Replacing Old and Damaged Parts
Worn Out Weatherstripping
Replace any cracked, brittle, or missing weatherstripping around the perimeter of the garage door panels to protect against outside elements, dust, and pests. Quality weatherstripping may last approximately 5-6 years before needing replacement. Ensure the new weatherstripping forms a tight seal when the door is closed.
Broken Extension Springs
Have any broken or malfunctioning extension springs replaced immediately by a trained garage door technician to avoid possible cable detachment and injury or property damage if the springs break. Extension springs have a shorter average lifespan of 3-5 years compared to 10,000+ cycles for torsion springs.
Degraded Rubber Rollers
Inspect the garage door rollers along the sides of the door panels and replace any that are cracked, brittle, or visibly deteriorated to restore smooth and quiet door operation. High quality nylon or steel rollers typically last approximately 5-10 years under normal use before needing swap out.
Damaged Garage Door Panels
Severely dented, rusted, or otherwise damaged steel or wood garage door panels should be replaced as soon as possible to maintain structural integrity and weatherproofing. Minor dents can often be repaired, but significant damage weakens the door. Fiberglass and aluminum garage door panels can frequently be repaired if damaged, rather than needing full panel replacement.
Safety Checks and Adjustments
Force Sensitivity Test
Have a professional garage door technician test and properly adjust the force settings on your opener motor so that the door reverses course when minimal obstruction pressure is detected. Adjusting the force sensitivity helps prevent injury or property damage.
Check Emergency Release
Test that you can detach and pull the emergency release rope to disconnect the door from the drive motor in order to operate the door manually in case of power outage. The rope should detach easily. Reattach the emergency release once testing is complete.
Adjust Spring Tension
Have a trained garage door professional evaluate and adjust the torsion spring tension as needed to properly counterbalance the weight of the door. Adjustments help ensure smooth and easy door opening and closing. The springs should lift most of the door’s weight to reduce strain on the motor.
Developing a Maintenance Schedule
Staying on top of garage door maintenance means developing a regular schedule. Here’s a sample timeline:
- Quick visual inspection for damage
- Test the auto-reverse sensitivity
- Confirm the remote works properly
Every 6 Months
- Thorough cleaning of panels and windows
- Check weatherstripping condition
- Lubricate the moving components
- Balance and sensitivity testing by a professional
- Hardware inspection and tightening
- Opener motor lubrication
- Remote battery replacement
Customize this schedule as needed based on your garage door type, frequency of use, and operating environment. Better yet, let the pros at Wallen Garage Door Repair and Installation take care of everything for you. No worries!
Knowing When It’s Time for a New Garage Door
With proper maintenance and care, an average residential garage door will last around 15-20 years before needing replacement. Signs it may be time for a new door include:
- Visible sagging of panels or sections
- Significant rusting/corrosion on a steel door
- Large dents, cracks, or holes in the panels
- Frequent repair needs for rollers, cables, springs
- Cost of repairs exceeding 50% of replacement cost
Replacing an aging or damaged garage door with a new, insulated steel or composite door can provide improved appearance, safety, noise reduction, and energy efficiency. We have a wide variety of doors to choose from at Wallen Garage Door Repair and Installation, to fit most every budget.
Garage Door Maintenance Tips by Material
Certain garage door materials have additional maintenance needs. Here are tips based on door type:
- Watch for rust spots and treat with touch-up paint
- Wipe down with baby oil occasionally to prevent rust
- Ensure cable sheaves/drums are well-lubricated
- Apply exterior wood finish sealant regularly
- Inspect for cracking/splitting of panels
- Paint surface every 2-3 years for protection
- Clean door and tracks frequently to avoid buildup
- Watch for damage to decorative trim pieces
- Apply silicone lubricant inside tracks
- Wax surface 1-2 times per year
- Check for cracks or cloudiness in panels
- Replace damaged panels instead of attempting repairs
Detecting Common Garage Door Problems
Being aware of common garage door issues can help you address them promptly. Here are some problems to look out for:
Difficult Manual Operation
A door that is difficult to open or close manually likely has an issue with spring tension or roller/track lubrication. Applying lubricant and adjusting tension can typically resolve this.
Opener Motor Noise
Squealing, grinding, or whining noises from the opener motor often stem from lack of lubrication. Lubricate the chain, drive screw, and bearings.
Uneven Door Movement
If the door opens and closes unevenly, binding, or not staying shut, the tracks may be misaligned and need realignment by a professional.
Failed Auto-Reverse Test
When the door fails to reverse upon contact with an obstruction, the sensor eyes likely need adjustment or the opener force limit needs to be reset.
Best Practices for DIY Garage Door Maintenance
You can perform many routine garage door maintenance tasks yourself, if you are handy and have the prper tools. Follow these tips for safe and successful DIY maintenance:
- Read the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific door
- Have another person present for safety
- Use proper protective gear like gloves and safety glasses
- Test opener auto-reverse before beginning work
- Disconnect opener power cord before adjustments
- Use the right tools for the task
- Follow directions carefully
- Stop immediately if something seems wrong
- Call a pro for complex repairs (springs, alignment, etc)
Benefits of Professional Garage Door Maintenance
While DIY maintenance is suitable for many basic tasks, there are also benefits to periodic professional service for garage doors:
- Experience identifying underlying issues
- Access to specialized tools and equipment
- Skill for intricate adjustments and repairs
- Efficiency from routine process familiarity
- Knowledge of codes and manufacturer specifications
- Improved safety and compliance
- Warranties on parts and labor
Consider having a professional garage door company perform tune-ups and inspections annually to keep door systems optimized. Call the pros at Wallen Garage Door Repair and Installation.
With proper care and maintenance, your garage door will provide many years of smooth, reliable service. Following the cleaning, inspection, adjustment, and replacement tips outlined in this guide will go a long way in extending the life of your door and opener system. Be sure to make maintenance a part of your regular home routine.