6 Garage Door Maintenance Tips
by Dakota Storage Buildings, on October 10, 2020
Proper garage door maintenance can protect your investment for decades to come.
The overhead door is your garage's largest moving part — and with an average of six up-and-downs a day, it's also one of the most used. This is why garage door maintenance is important, but it's often overlooked or deemed unessential.
Let's talk about the things you can do quarterly, semiannually, and annually to protect your overhead garage door. Mark your calendar and follow our tuneup tips, and your garage door should stay operational for many years after purchase.
Quarterly Garage Door Maintenance
Think of the home or vehicle maintenance tasks you might be doing quarterly. Testing your smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, for example, or cleaning your windows. Add these quick and simple tips to that list, and you’ll be on a schedule that will keep your door functioning properly.
1. Keep the Door Clean
Regular cleaning of your garage door will prevent dirt buildup and corrosion.
Here’s a simple three-step process:
- Dust the door inside and out.
- Apply mild liquid soap and wipe down with a wet sponge.
- Rinse the door by spraying gently with a garden hose.
2. Test Your Opener’s Auto-Reverse Safety Feature
Your automatic garage door opener needs to detect anything in the door’s path. If there are obstructions, the door should automatically reverse directions to prevent injury or property damage.
To test this feature:
- Raise the garage door, and place an item (a piece of wood works well) on the floor in the direct path of the garage door.
- Any automatic garage door opener installed after 1991 is required to include a pair of photo eye sensors that are typically placed 5 to 10 inches above the floor. The sensors should detect the object on the floor when you lower the door. The door should automatically reverse directions before it hits the object.
- If your auto-reverse feature is not functioning correctly, clean the sensors with a damp cotton swab, and test again.
If your garage door is still not reversing properly after cleaning the sensors, call a repair technician. Do not operate your door without this safety feature working correctly.
Semiannual Garage Door Maintenance
These are tasks that you can set your watch to — literally. Twice a year, when we go in or out of daylight saving time and move the clocks ahead or back an hour, remember these important maintenance tips.
1. Look and Listen
Stand in your garage and observe the door going both up and down. Look at the tracks, the cables, and the pulleys. Does anything look or sound out of the ordinary?
- Pay particular attention to the cables. If there is a problem with the pulleys, there will likely be some evidence of frayed cables.
- When the door is operating, does it sound smooth, or does it sound squeaky or clunky?
- Look at the rubber weather strip on the bottom of your door. Rub your hand along the strip while the door is open. Do you notice any signs of tearing or uneven wearing? You want this piece to form a proper seal for energy efficiency and to keep water, dirt, and pests out.
2. Lubricate All Moving Parts
Apply Clopay Synthetic Pro Lube, which can be found at Home Depot, to your door opener’s chain or screw-drive.
For your door’s rollers and hinges, lightweight oil will get the job done. If anything appears to stick, spray with WD-40, wipe clean, and then apply Clopay Synthetic Pro Lube.
Do not use a lubricant on the door’s tracks. That could cause your door to slip and become unbalanced.
And while you’re at it, take a few extra minutes to tighten all bolts and hardware on your garage door system. Things will naturally loosen over time as the door is regularly raised and lowered.
3. Be Sure Your Door Is Balanced
Your garage door needs to be properly balanced for the door’s mechanical parts not to be overly stressed.
To check the balance of your garage door:
- First, never disconnect your door from the opener unless the door is already in the down position (fully lowered to the ground). If a garage door is not perfectly balanced and is disconnected while raised above the ground, it could come crashing down, creating an unsafe situation.
- Once the garage door is in the down position, pull the opener’s emergency release cord (the red cord and handle) to disconnect it from the motor.
- Now, manually lift your garage door until it is raised about halfway. If the door does not feel heavy, go ahead and release your hands from the door.
- Your door should stay in the middle position without going up or down and without being held in place. This means that your garage door is properly balanced and that the springs are doing the job of lifting the door. Your garage door is capable of being operated safely by a garage door opener.
If your garage door is not balanced, contact a service technician before operating the door.
Annual Garage Door Maintenance
Pick one time each year — the anniversary of your home purchase or garage purchase, for example. Whatever day you come up with, mark your calendar, and commit to this important annual task.
Call the Pros
We recommend that you have your garage door inspected once a year by a professional.
When it comes to garage door maintenance, always err on the side of caution as parts eventually wear out. If you’re handy, you can consult your owner’s manual and safely take on parts replacement yourself. If the repair involves the springs, the door sections, or the opener, we recommend consulting a garage door maintenance professional.
This, in tandem with our do-it-yourself garage door maintenance tips, will allow for the longest possible life of your door.
Buy What’s Built to Last
Dakota Storage Buildings is committed to using the highest-quality materials. As we say about our sheds, garages, kennels, and coops: Built Well. Built Tough.
All of our Dakota Storage Buildings garages include premium components, including Clopay Premium Series overhead garage doors. These insulated doors operate smoothly and safely — and look great. If you’ve purchased a pre-built garage or custom garage from Dakota Storage Buildings, you know the high-quality, hassle-free operation of Clopay doors.
We believe that if you buy right the first time and follow our tips for proper garage door maintenance, you’ll have a reliable space that will add curb appeal, functionality, and value to your property.
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