Garage Door – Providing the Protection You Need
Your garage door is one of the largest, most frequently used investments in your home. Like any major system, proper maintenance is crucial for extending the life and value of your garage door and opener.
This comprehensive guide from Jennings Garage Door Service will provide homeowners with best practices for maintaining different types of garage doors. Following routine cleaning, inspection, adjustment, and part replacement recommendations will keep your garage door operating smoothly for years to come.
Why Garage Door Maintenance Matters
With proper care, a residential garage door typically lasts 15-20 years. With neglect, it may need replacement in less than 10 years. Investing a little time in regular maintenance goes a long way.
Benefits of good garage door maintenance include:
- Extends the life expectancy and reduces the need for repairs
- Saves money by preventing costly part replacements
- Ensures quiet and smooth operation
- Prevents breakdowns at inopportune times
- Improves safety by keeping auto-reverse sensors in good working order
- Maintains good curb appeal and resale value
Cleaning Your Garage Door
Dirt, debris, and grime are the enemies of smooth garage door function. Here’s how to keep your door clean.
Washing the Panels
Over time, garage door panels become coated in dirt, dust, cobwebs, bird droppings, and other gunk. Every few months, mix a mild detergent like dish soap into a bucket of warm water. Use a soft brush or microfiber cloth to scrub the panels clean. Thoroughly rinse off any soap residue. This regular cleaning prevents debris buildup that can impede operation.
For garage doors with windows, it’s important to clean the glass regularly so the windows maintain visibility and aesthetic appeal. Use a designated glass cleaner and soft cloth when washing the windows. Avoid abrasive scrubbers or squeegees that could scratch the glass.
Removing Debris from Tracks
Inspect the metal tracks along the sides of your garage door. Use a brush attachment on your vacuum to clean out any debris like dirt, pebbles, leaves or pet hair. You can also use a soft-bristle hand brush. Ensuring debris-free tracks keeps the rollers moving smoothly.
Applying Track Lubricant
Squirt garage door track lubricant along the full length of the metal tracks on each side. This helps minimize friction. Choose a spray-on liquid lubricant rather than heavy grease, which can collect dirt. Silicone-based lube works well. Lubing the tracks reduces noise and wear.
Inspecting for Damage and Wear
In addition to cleaning your garage door, it’s smart to periodically inspect it for any signs of damage or component wear. Detecting problems early allows you to address them before they worsen or lead to bigger issues down the road. Call Jennings Garage Door Service and we’ll help you stay on top of the needed maintenance to keep your garage door operating the way that it should.
Checking for Dents and Rust
Carefully inspect a steel garage door for any dents, cracks, holes or rust spots. Use an emery cloth to buff out small areas of rust, then coat with touch-up paint to prevent spreading. Severe dents or rust may need professional repair. Fiberglass and aluminum doors can often be repaired if damaged.
Examine all rollers, hinges, pulleys and handle hardware. Tighten any loose screws or bolts. Look for signs of excessive wear and replace any rollers or hinges that are sagging, cracked or grinding. Keeping hardware in good shape ensures smooth operation.
Testing the Auto-Reverse Sensors
Place a broom handle or cardboard box underneath the garage door while closing it. The door should automatically reverse course once it contacts the object, indicating the sensors are correctly aligned and calibrated. Adjust if needed.
Checking Door Balance
Manually lift the door about halfway up. If properly balanced, it should stay in place once you let go. If it drifts down, the torsion springs likely need adjustment by a pro to rebalance the weight.
If all of that sounds like too much, give Jennings Garage Door Service a call for professional garage door maintenance done right.
Maintaining Garage Door Hardware
The hinges, rollers, cables and pulleys enable your garage door to open and close thousands of times over its lifespan. Keep these components in optimum shape.
Lubricating Moving Parts
Every 6 months, spray white lithium grease or silicone lubricant on all moving components including hinges, bearings and spring pulleys. Avoid old-school viscous lubricants that can collect debris. Proper lubrication prevents squeaking and grinding.
Inspecting Cables and Pulleys
Check for any frayed or broken cables and replace them immediately. Frayed cables can unravel quickly and cause the spring to fail catastrophically. Ensure pulleys spin freely without noise or wobbling.
Use a ratchet wrench to tighten any loose nuts, bolts, screws or brackets on the door track, spring anchor brackets, hinges, handles and accessory hardware. This maintains structural integrity.
Garage Door Opener Maintenance
The electric opener is integral to convenient everyday use of your garage door. Maintain this tool to keep it working reliably for years.
Place a small object like a paper towel roll underneath while closing and ensure the door immediately reverses upon contact. Adjust the sensitivity if needed. This critical safety feature prevents injury or property damage.
Replacing Old Batteries
Replace the small 3-volt batteries in all remote transmitters every 12 months, even if they appear to be working. Cold weather drains batteries faster. Dispose of old batteries properly rather than tossing in the trash.
Check your opener manufacturer’s website for any new firmware updates and install them to get the latest security patches, features and connectivity improvements.
Lubricating the Opener
Use garage door opener lubricant to coat the metal drive chain, sprocket, or worm drive gear every 6-12 months. This reduces strain on the motor and ensures quiet operation.
Replacing Worn Parts
While cleaning and lubrication go a long way, some components do wear out over time and need replacement.
If the weatherstripping along the bottom of your garage door becomes cracked or missing sections, replace it to protect against dust, pests and weather infiltration. Quality weatherstripping should last 5-6 years.
Broken Extension Springs
Extension springs have a lifespan of just 3-5 years. At the first sign of cracking or breakage, have them replaced by a pro to avoid unsafe cable detachment or door crashing. Call Jennings Garage Door Service if you notice any signs of springs malfunctioning.
Worn Out Rollers
Inspect steel, nylon or plastic garage door rollers for cracks, grinding or visual deterioration. Replace any degraded rollers to restore smooth, quiet, properly aligned door travel.
Severely rusted, dented or cracked garage door panels made of steel, aluminum, fiberglass or wood should be replaced. In some cases, minor damage can be repaired by a pro rather than replacing the entire panel.
Safety Checks and Adjustments
It’s smart to have a trained garage door technician make safety evaluations and adjustments annually. Call Jennings Garage Door Service to schedule an inspection and maintenance service.
A pro can test and tweak the force sensitivity so the door reverses immediately upon contacting even very light resistance while closing.
Test that you can detach the emergency release rope to disconnect the opener if needed during a power outage. Reattach it after testing.
Improperly tensioned torsion springs can cause the door to be heavy, forcing the opener to work harder. Have a pro assess and tune the spring tension as needed.
We provide garage door maintenance service throughout the Tampa, FL region, including the followings areas:
Sample Maintenance Schedule
Staying on top of garage door maintenance involves following a regular schedule. Here’s an example:
- Quick visual inspection
- Test the auto-reverse
- Check the remote battery
Every 6 Months
- Thorough door cleaning
- Inspect weatherstripping
- Lubricate moving parts
- Professional tune-up/inspection
- Hardware tightening
- Opener motor lubrication
- Replace remote batteries
Adjust this sample maintenance schedule as needed based on your specific climate and garage door type and frequency of use.
Signs It’s Time for a New Garage Door
With proper maintenance, most residential garage doors will last 15-20 years before needing replacement. Telltale signs your door may be nearing the end of its lifespan include:
- Visible sagging or misalignment of panels
- Rust holes or significant dents/damage
- Frequent roller/cable/spring repairs needed
- Noisy operation even after lubrication
- Total cost of repairs exceeding 50% of new door price
Replacing an aging or damaged garage door can provide improved safety, security, energy efficiency, noise reduction, and curb appeal. For a free price quote and to discuss garage door options available, give Jennings Garage Door Service a call today.
Specialized Maintenance Tips by Door Type
Certain garage door materials have unique maintenance needs. Here are some door type-specific tips.
- Watch for rust and treat with touch-up paint
- Wipe down with WD-40 or baby oil to resist rust
- Heavily lubricate pulleys and bearings
- Reseal wood panels with exterior sealant every 1-2 years
- Inspect for cracking/warping and paint as needed
- Adjust hardware frequently to account for expansion/contraction
- Clean tracks frequently to prevent buildup
- Use silicone-based lubricants
- Watch for damage to decorative trim pieces
- Wax surface 1-2 times per year
- Check for cracks or cloudy areas
- Replace individual damaged panels rather than entire door
Detecting Common Garage Door Problems
Being able to identify issues early allows you to address them before they worsen. Watch for these common problems:
Difficult Manual Operation
If the door becomes hard to open or close by hand, improper lubrication or spring tension is likely the culprit. Applying lubricant and/or adjusting or replacing torsion springs can typically resolve this.
Loud Opener Noise
Squealing, grinding or whining noises coming from the garage door opener motor often indicate a lack of lubrication. Lubricate the motor’s drive chain, sprocket or worm gear.
Uneven Door Travel
If the door binds, sticks, or opens unevenly, the metal tracks may be out of alignment and need realignment by a professional.
Failed Auto-Reverse Test
If the door fails to reverse when it contacts an object, the opener force limits or photo eye sensors likely need adjustment.
DIY Maintenance Tips
You can perform many basic garage door maintenance tasks yourself if you’re handy and have the proper tools. Keep these tips in mind:
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions
- Have someone present for safety
- Use appropriate protective gear
- Test auto-reverse before adjustments
- Disconnect power before repairs
- Use the proper tools
- Follow instructions carefully
- Stop immediately if anything seems wrong
- Call a pro for complex repairs like springs or alignment
Benefits of Professional Maintenance
While DIY maintenance goes a long way, having a trained garage door pro from Jennings Garage Door Service service your door annually provides advantages like:
- Specialized expertise and knowledge
- Access to professional equipment
- Accuracy tuning springs and sensors
- Improved safety and compliance with codes
- Warranty protection
- Convenience and efficiency
With proper maintenance and care, your garage door system can deliver decades of smooth, quiet, safe operation. Following the cleaning, inspection, adjustment and replacement recommendations in this guide will go a long way in extending the life of your investment while preventing unexpected repairs. Make garage door maintenance a part of your regular home care routine.