Your garage door is one of the most important parts of your home. It plays a big role in curb appeal, and it can even influence the value of your home when you put it on the market. Many homeowners use their garage door as their house’s main entry and exit point, opening and closing it nearly a thousand times per year.
It’s clear your garage door deserves some attention based on how essential it is to your daily life. By maintaining it, you can ensure it continues working for years to come. The team at Quality Overhead Door has compiled this guide to help you keep your garage door working and looking great through all 12 months of the year.
10 General Maintenance Tips for Year-Round Garage Door Care
Is there a specific garage door repair season? While some seasons demand special care and precautions, you should strive to maintain your garage door year-round. Each season brings changing temperatures and unexpected weather your garage door must endure. A few simple tasks throughout the year can keep your door functioning for years to come.
You can perform many of the tips on this list yourself. For the tasks you don’t feel comfortable completing, the professionals at Quality Overhead Door are a quick phone call away. You can keep your garage door working and mitigate future issues by taking the following preventive measures:
1. Take Some Time to Watch and Listen to Your Garage Door
As the years go by, your garage door’s operation might change compared to when you first got it. You should make a habit to inspect your garage door once in a while. Watch and listen as you open and close your garage door to keep tabs on how it is functioning. With regular observation, you’ll be able to tell when something is wrong because you’ll know how the door is supposed to look and sound.
Listen and look for the following cues that may reveal a faulty garage door or opener:
- Slow to open or close
- Jerky, uneven movements
- Unusual loudness
- Grating, scraping or grinding noises
If you notice one of these signs, scan the rest of your system to make sure everything is symmetrical and clean and note any irregularities. Taking a few minutes to watch and listen to your garage door could help you find an issue before it gets any worse.
2. Keep the Tracks Clean and Clear of Debris
The tracks on either side of your garage door allow it to open and close, guiding the wheels along their proper path. It’s a good idea to check the state of the tracks at the beginning of every season to make sure nothing harmful is getting in the way of the wheels. Even a tiny obstruction can damage the wheels and put the garage door out of alignment.
Grab a ladder or stepping stool to take a look at the tracks along the ceiling and work your way down to the lowest point of the tracks. Clean any debris with a shop rag. While you’re there, look for any rust, as this can be a sign that it might be time for a professional to install new tracks.
You can also use this time to check the evenness of your garage door tracks. Using a long level, make sure each side is even with the other. Check both the vertical and horizontal sections of tracks. Uneven garage door tracks can add stress to your opener, increasing its chances of breaking down. Call a professional if you notice your tracks are out of alignment.
3. Check Your Garage Door for Loose Hardware
There are nuts, bolts, screws and other pieces of hardware all over your garage door components. Loose hardware poses a risk to your garage door, so make sure you tighten it. A couple of screwdrivers and an adjustable wrench should be enough to check your garage door hardware. Check the hardware on the following locations:
- The brackets holding the garage door tracks in place
- The fasteners securing the garage door opener
- The hinged brackets between panels of your garage door
Loose hardware could strain your garage door and opener, so make sure all these components are tight. This will ensure the secure movement of your garage door.
4. Inspect the Garage Door Rollers and Replace Damaged Ones
The rollers attach to the left and right sides of your garage door and move through the tracks when opening and closing. Good rollers contribute to a silent garage door that moves evenly. If you notice your garage door getting louder and moving sporadically, you might have damaged garage door rollers. It’s common for rollers to become chipped or loose as time goes by, so make sure to replace any faulty rollers when you find them.
Replacing rollers is as simple as removing the roller bracket from the garage door and installing a new roller in its place. You can purchase new rollers from your local hardware store or a specialty garage door repair shop. You should avoid trying to replace the rollers on the bottom of your garage door since they connect to your garage door pulley system’s cables. These cables are under high tension, and disconnecting them can be dangerous. You should call a professional to replace these rollers.
5. Inspect Your Garage Door’s Pulleys and Cables
Your garage door’s pulley system is essential to how it opens and closes. If this intricate system is suffering damage or is out of balance, your garage door opener will have to work harder. As a result, your whole system could develop more issues, increasing your chances of a costly repair. Finding these issues early is key to keeping your repair costs to a minimum.
Inspect the cables attached to the garage door’s bottom roller brackets, looking for any signs of fraying or damage. Scan above your head for any loose, dangling cables or damaged springs, as these can be signs of a serious issue in your pulley system. If you notice any of these signs during your inspection, you should call a professional. Your garage door’s pulley system is under extreme tension, making it dangerous to try repairing it yourself.
6. Keep the Garage Door’s Moving Parts Clean and Lubricated
Your garage door and opener use intricate moving parts to function. Throughout the year, you should make sure these parts are clean and lubricated to keep them working. Start by using lithium grease on your roller brackets and garage door tracks. This will reduce the stress on your opener, increasing its overall life span. If any of your rollers seem stuck, you can spray them with WD-40 to loosen them.
Take some time to lubricate the moving parts of your garage door’s pulley system. Spray the springs with WD-40, wiping off any excess to keep it from dripping on your garage floor. If your garage door opener uses a chain drive, you can give the chain a quick spray with lithium grease to limit stress on the opener. This can help your opener run smoothly for years to come.
7. Check the Balance of Your Garage Door
This is an easy maintenance test you can perform any time of year, but especially when the weather is on the warmer side. It’s important to check your garage door’s balance because an off-balance garage door could cause your opener to work harder than it needs to. This can lead to a premature and avoidable breakdown.
Disconnect your garage door from the opener by pulling the red safety cord. This will allow you to manually open and close your garage door. Open it to the midway point and let go. A balanced garage door will stay in the position where you let go, but an unbalanced garage door will slide down or up, depending on the balancing issue. Call a professional if you find your garage door is out of balance because fixing this issue involves adjusting the high-tension springs and cables.
8. Make Sure the Door’s Auto-Reverse Features Are Functional
Your garage door possesses at least one auto-reverse safety feature, but many garage doors implement a second one as well. The first type uses a pressure sensor to reverse the direction of the garage door if something gets in the way of its closing path. This is a mandatory safety feature in all modern garage doors. The second safety feature uses two photoelectric sensors mounted near the floor to spot movement and trigger a reversal.
Test the pressure sensor by placing a small, solid object like a two-by-four piece of wood in the path of the garage door as it closes. When it touches the two-by-four, it should immediately reverse its direction. If the garage door tries to push through the object, you should call a professional to reconfigure the pressure sensor.
To test the photoelectric sensors, locate the small cameras on either side of the garage door. Stand at the ready with a long object and press the button to close your garage door. Wave a broom or other object in the path of the lenses to trigger the automatic reversal. If the garage door continues closing, you may need to gently wipe the eyes of the cameras, as there could be dirt or debris blocking the path. If the problem persists, you may need to call a professional.
9. Check Your Garage Door’s Weatherstripping
The weatherstripping on your garage door is essential throughout all four seasons. It helps keep rain, snow, water and air from seeping into your garage and your home’s living space. Since it is one of the last barriers against the elements, it can endure quite a bit. When you have damaged weatherstripping, you should repair or replace it right away. You can remove worn weatherstripping by pulling it from its fitted grooves. If you have a wooden garage door, remove the nails to disconnect the weatherstripping.
Most garage doors have weatherstripping along the bottom of the door, but some include it on the sides as well. Open your garage door to a comfortable height to access the weatherstripping. Wipe it with a soft rag and mild all-purpose cleaner. If you notice any cracks, holes or missing sections in the rubber, it’s time to get some new weatherstripping. You should be able to find it at your local hardware store or garage repair store.
10. Call a Trusted Professional to Inspect Your Garage Door on a Yearly Basis
It’s good to stay involved with the health and maintenance of your garage door. If you keep up with your garage door often, you’ll be able to notice when it starts breaking down. Another great practice is scheduling yearly maintenance appointments with a professional garage door technician. They’ll be able to spot issues you may have missed. Add a yearly garage door inspection to your routine to further reduce your risk of a broken door.
Tips for Maintaining Your Garage Door by Season
Each season presents its own set of challenges for your garage door. Homeowners in Ohio and Michigan understand how volatile the weather can be here. In this section, we’ll go over some maintenance tips that are specific to each season. Besides the tips above, incorporate these seasonal tasks into your schedule to make sure your garage door is ready for whatever the weather throws at it.
Garage Door Winter Maintenance
Winter brings extreme cold and intense snowstorms that your garage door must face. These conditions can test the strength and capacity of your garage door. One of the most common issues a garage door faces in the winter is sticking or freezing in place. One of the best things you can do to avoid this is to clean off the gunk from any moving parts of your garage door. This gunk can contribute to freezing components, so make sure to wipe down and lubricate the moving parts of your garage door during winter.
When conducting winter garage door maintenance, you should keep an eye on your door’s weatherstripping. The cold temperatures can cause it to crack or fall apart, leading to cold air and melted snow leaking into your garage. Make sure you replace weatherstripping as soon as you notice any damage. Damaged weatherstripping can also lead to a frozen garage door.
If you try to open your garage door and find it has frozen shut, avoid trying to dislodge it by continually engaging the automatic opener. This can cause damage as the opener strains to open. Instead, use a sharp object to carefully pick at the ice at the base of your garage door. You can also try using a blow-dryer or a heat gun to melt away the ice. Both of these remedies should unthaw your garage door, but it may take some patience.
Spring Garage Door Maintenance
Spring cleaning is the yearly tradition when people go through their clutter to get rid of things they no longer need. It involves putting unwanted items to the curb and giving the house a deep clean, inside and out. For this reason, spring is the perfect time of year to give your garage door a much-needed washing after a long winter. Wipe off the layer of salt and dirt that may have accumulated over the winter.
When washing your metal or fiberglass garage door, spray it lightly with water and a mild all-purpose cleaner. Avoid using a pressure washer, as this can cause damage to the surface of your garage door. Once wet, gently scrub your garage door with a soft rag or sponge. If you have a wooden garage door, avoid using water as this can contribute to mold and warped panels. Use a dry cloth to wipe down wooden garage doors.
Summer Garage Door Maintenance
When summer rolls around, you want your garage door to look the best it can. That’s why the warm summer days of Ohio and Michigan offer a great opportunity to give your garage door a bit of a facelift. This can increase the value of your home as well as enhance its curb appeal. Check the weather forecast to make sure you’ll get a few rain-free days in a row. Then you can get to work making your garage door look good as new.
Check your metal garage door for rust spots that you’ll need to sand before any next steps. Then sand, prime and paint the entire garage door. Remember to give it a few days of dry weather to let the paint stick, if you can.
If you have a wooden garage door, make sure you give it a good sanding to remove any chipped paint or wood. Then apply a coat or two of paint. You could also use stain if you want to bring out the wood grain. If you notice any warped or cracked panels in the wood, it may be time for a new garage door.
Fall Garage Door Maintenance Tips
Good fall garage door maintenance will aid your garage door maintenance in the winter. The fall is your last chance to prepare your garage door for the weather it will face in winter. Autumn is a great time to go through your checklist of general maintenance tips before moving on to fall-specific practices.
One of the best things you can do in the fall is to apply car wax to various parts of your garage door. Waxing the weatherstripping will help protect it from cold temperatures as well as from freezing shut. Wax the outside surface of your garage door to further protect it from the elements, especially if you applied a new coat of paint or stain over the summer. Taking these measures can go a long way in preserving the condition of your garage door.
Choose Quality Overhead Door for Seasonal Garage Door Maintenance
Quality Overhead Door has been serving areas in Ohio and Michigan since 1982. We’ve developed strong relationships with our communities and have provided unmatched garage door services to homeowners across both states. Our goal is to provide you a garage door you can be happy with and follow it up with the service you deserve when you need it most.
Additional Resources On Garage Door Repair:
- Summer Home Maintenance Checklist
- How to Care for Your Garage and Prevent Costly Repairs
- My Garage Door is Broken. Can I Fix it Myself?
- Garage Door Maintenance Checklist
- Do I Need Annual Garage Door Maintenance?