Most of the important tools and appliances in our lives we want to keep up and running for as long as possible. Our garage doors are no exception to this rule. After all, they keep our vehicles safe inside our garage and make it easier to come and go. The best way to make sure our garage doors stay working is with routine maintenance.
Why Garage Maintenance Is Crucial
All mechanical objects require maintenance or else they will break down and stop working. This is especially true with your garage door. As the door is used it creates friction over time which can damage the moving parts that make it work.
Not only that, dirt, dust, debris can build up which can cause the movement of the parts to be inconsistent and lead to jamming and slipping when opening and closing your garage door. This is potentially a safety hazard and can lead to injury.
Benefits of Regular Garage Maintenance
There are several benefits to doing regular maintenance on your garage door rather than waiting until an issue becomes present which means a major repair is needed.
- Safety is the largest and most important benefit of regular maintenance. Trying to DIY repair parts of a broken garage door, such as the springs can be dangerous. Letting an issue persist without repair also has its own safety concerns.
- Money saved is another great benefit of regular garage door maintenance. The cost of routine maintenance is a fraction of the cost of a single repair of a broken opener, a busted hinge or other malfunction.
- The aesthetics of your garage door also benefit from regular maintenance. No one wants to see a broken down garage door on the side of their home. Making sure everything is in working order and tossing on a new coat of paint every so often keeps your garage door looking great and improves your property value in the process.
- Peace of mind is another benefit that is worth the effort of routine maintenance. Knowing that you’ve thoroughly checked over your garage door and all the parts are in working order and everything looks great gives you the reassurance that you don’t have to worry about it breaking down.
Garage Door Maintenance Checklist
Here we’ll break down the things you’ll want to do when performing garage door maintenance. We want to stress that DIY maintenance is fairly easy and simple and can be done safely without a lot of technical know-how. Repairs, on the other hand, can get a bit tricky and should generally be left to a professional.
- Start by detaching the opener from the garage door. This will prevent the door from accidentally moving during maintenance and allow you to be in position to complete the maintenance smoothly.
- Next you’ll move on checking the hinges. You’ll need your screwdriver and what you want to do is make sure all of the hinges are tightened down. You won’t need to do much, just make sure that all the hinges, including the ones with rollers are tightened.
- The next step is to lubricate all the moving parts of the garage door. It is easiest to start with the hinges and rollers, then move to the springs, tracks, cables and chain.
- Lastly, you’ll want to open and close the garage door a few times to distribute the lubricant and ensure smooth operation. Afterwards, re-check the door and wipe off any excess lubricant.
- (Optional) Clean the door. This means wiping down all the parts and surfaces to remove dirt and debris buildup. This is separate from routine maintenance checks and should probably be done about once a month. Using a rag and standard cleaning products you can keep your door looking great and in good shape just by keeping it clean.
- (Optional) Repaint your garage door. Again, this is separate from routine maintenance but can help extend the life of your garage door. A thick coat of all-weather outdoor paint on your garage door will help it stand up to the elements. This should be done every so often depending on how much wear is put on your garage door.
What You’ll Need For Garage Door Maintenance
Here we’ll list the things you’ll need to successfully complete your garage door maintenance:
- A screwdriver
- Garage door lubricant (more info on choosing garage door lubricants here)
- Safety glasses and gloves
- Spare cardboard to prevent overspray of lubricant
- *Paint for garage door
- *Cleaning products and a rag
Now let’s go through maintenance steps in detail.
#1. Inspect moving parts (cables, door panels, rollers, tracks, chain)
This first step is all about making sure that all the moving parts are still in good shape. You’ll be checking all these to make sure none are damaged to the point of not working or needing to be replaced. If anything is damaged, you’ll want to replace it or have it repair before you start the maintenance process
Why it’s important: Doing this step first is important because you can’t properly perform maintenance with broken parts. You’ll be working with the entire door and broken components will make it impossible to clean, lubricate, and maintain the door, much less operate it properly.
How to do/ the most important places to check: The important point here is to be thorough and check each part for signs of wear and damage. Begin by disconnecting the opener from the door so that it doesn’t move while you’re performing the inspection. Inspect the cables and chain for signs of corrosion and weakness.. Inspect the panels, rollers, and tracks for any signs of defect. If any of these parts are damaged, you’ll want to replace them before moving forward.
#2. Check Hinges
The hinges are the next parts to check. Since the hinges basically support and hold up the door, you’ll want to make sure they are all in good shape and tightened down properly. All you’ll need is a screwdriver and a visual inspection of all the hinges.
Why it’s important: Faulty hinges can make your door slip or sag and not open and close properly which can be a safety hazard for people and vehicles, besides it ruining other parts of your door and looking unsightly.
How to do/ the most important places to check The most important part of checking the hinges is to make sure you check them all, not just the ones on the ends that have rollers attached. Each of the hinges supports a section of the door so you need to make sure they are all in good shape.
#3. Lubricate Springs
You’ll need to be able to reach the springs which are generally situated inside the opener, but lubricating the springs will help make sure the door opens and closes properly. You should use a penetrating lubricant, like a silicone base to get all the way down inside the springs and provide ample protection from wear and tear as well as moisture and water resistance.
Why it’s important: The springs are what help move your garage door, they face extreme wear and are prone to corrosion. Keeping them in good shape will help keep your garage door operational.
How to do/how often: You’ll want to locate the springs inside the opener and use a penetrating lubricant, like those with a silicone base to reach deep inside the springs. A thorough coating of lubricant should last anywhere from 3 to 6 months depending on the amount of wear and the climate your door is in.
#4. Lubricate the Hinges
Once you know all your hinges are in good shape, you can lubricate all of them. A few squirts of lubricant on each hinge is enough to keep them moving efficiently. Remember that the hinges on the edges of the door also contain rollers and bearings that need to be lubricated as well.
Why it’s important: The hinges are what allow the different sections of your door to raise and bend properly when the door is open. Even a single busted hinge can cause your door to snag and not open properly.
How to do:
Much like when you’re inspecting the hinges, the important thing is to lubricate each and every hinge. A few squirts of either lithium grease or silicone based lubricant is good enough to keep the hinges moving. For the hinges that are attached to the rollers, it’s important to remember to lubricate the rollers as well as any exposed bearings (not all rollers have bearings).
#5. Lubricate the Tracks and Chain
The tracks are what the door rides on and the chain is what helps pull the door up and open. Making sure that both of these components are properly lubricated will help your door to open properly and safely.
Why it’s important: Lubricating the tracks helps the door glide smoothly when opening and closing, the tracks can build up dirt and debris as well as corrosion. Proper lubrication helps to prevent this and keep the tracks clean. Oiling or lubricating the chain will help it pull more smoothly when opening the door and prevent jamming.
How to do: For this you’ll likely need a way to reach the tracks depending on your ceiling height in your garage and a rag to apply lubricant. You want to gently rub the tracks down with lubricant. This is best done after the tracks have been cleaned however. The chain may or may not need to be lubricated. Some chains are self lubricating and don’t require additional lubrication, but you can perform a check during the initial inspection and see if your chain needs to be lubricated.
#6. Check Bottom Seal
The bottom seal on your garage door is where the door meets the ground. You should check to make sure the bottom seal of the door is air tight and isn’t letting in moisture to help protect your vehicles and other items in your garage.
Why it’s important: If your garage door isn’t sealed properly you’re basically defeating the purpose of having one. The interior of the door and everything in the garage will be exposed to the elements if the door isn’t sealed properly at the bottom.
How to do: What you want to do here is check to make sure that where the door meets the ground is free of gaps and cracks. You can apply weather stripping available at any home improvement store to the bottom to seal up any minor gaps. If there is a significant gap between the bottom of the door and the ground this may be a sign of a mechanical malfunction that needs to be fixed.
#7. Adjust Springs (Safety warning: or hire a professional to do that for you)
Before you attempt this, be sure to note that adjusting the springs is a delicate procedure and can be dangerous if done improperly. It is best to hire a professional if you are unsure of how much tension your springs need to have.
You may need to tighten or loosen your garage door springs over time as the amount of tension on the cables can change and needs to be adjusted so that the door opens safely and smoothly.
When do you need to adjust springs:
There are several reasons why you may need to adjust your garage door springs. If the door opens too quickly yet doesn’t close fully or is tough to close, then you need to decrease the tension. If it is tough to open yet slams closed, you need to increase the tension on your springs.
Doing this yourself can be dangerous. Too much tension can snap a cable and cause the door to fling open violently. Too little tension can cause the door to slip or even slam shut unexpectedly. It’s best to have a professional perform this maintenance if you are unsure how to do it properly.
#8. Clean door
Like any other item in your home, it’s important to keep it clean, not just so it looks nice, but so that it functions properly. Deep cleaning your garage door regularly will prolong its life and keep it looking its best. This is a good idea to do once a month or so to cut down on wear and help make maintenance a breeze.
Why it’s important: The buildup of dirt and grime can impact the function of your door and cause parts to break down faster. Keeping your garage door clean will improve it’s lifespan. When we say clean the door, we mean the door itself and the various moving parts.
How to do: All you’ll need is a rag and some basic cleaning products. Wiping down door panels, the tracks, hinges, and other components, cleaning out dust and dirt and removing any buildup of grime, as well as excess lubricant is all it takes to keep your door in great shape.
#9. Paint door
Applying a fresh coat of paint will improve curb appeal, keep your door looking great and help weatherproof your door. This should be done approximately once a year unless your door endures a lot of wear from the elements and starts to look rough.
Why it’s important: Paint helps your curb appeal by helping your door look well taken care of and a good coat of outdoor all-weather paint can help protect the door from damage due to wind and rain.
How to do:
Painting your garage door is the same as painting the exterior of your home. You’ll want to purchase a paint that is made for exterior surfaces and that is weatherproof.. Make sure the garage door is down and locked in place and then thoroughly coat the door panels with paint and let dry thoroughly.
Here's our complete guide on how to paint different garage door types.
How much does a garage door repair cost?
The average cost of a garage door repair is around $200 but can go much higher depending on the amount of damage and the extent of the repairs. By comparison, regular maintenance only costs a few dollars and can be completed in as little as 15 minutes.
We hope this guide to garage door maintenance has given you the tools and tips you need to keep your door running smoothly and lasting for as long as you own your home.