12 Time-Tested DIY Garage Door Maintenance Tips for Beginners
Garage door maintenance isn’t a dream job, but it can save you from hearing that irritating sound every time you touch the door opener. A garage door is an investment that is easy to protect with a minimal tune-up routine every year. No door is entirely maintenance-free, but by following our garage door maintenance checklist, you won’t need to spend your entire weekend on this DIY project!
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Garage Door DIY Maintenance Tips
An overhead door gets opened countless times during the year, and all that friction and movement can produce plenty of wear and tear on the door and its components. Below are 12 examples of how to maintain a garage door like a professional.
1. Visual Inspection
You may not be a DIY expert, but you can take a little time out to visually inspect the door. If you have a metal door, you may have to check for rust spots. If you do catch sight of any, it’s best to have the spot sanded, primed, and painted ASAP. Similarly, a wooden door can be checked for water damage. If the door is warped and losing its form, it means that there is water damage, and you should get the door sealed promptly to avoid any further damage.
2. Inspect the Bolts and Screws
A typical door opens/closes hundreds of times during a year. All this movement makes it easy for the bolts and screws to become loose. So, you should check the brackets on the rollers and the bolts. If they’re loose, fasten them using a wrench.
3. Check the Cables
It would be best if you never tinkered with the high-tension cables that lift your door since they have enough force to kill or maim. Therefore, inspect the door cables for split fibers or anything that’s out of order. If there is damage, it’s highly advised to hire a professional.
4. Inspect the Tracks
Look into the tracks on the sides of the door for trash or debris and any physical damage like misalignment. While garbage or trash can be easily cleaned with a citrus-based solvent, adjustments to the alignment are more complicated and should only be performed by a garage door technician.
5. Replace the Rollers
Inspect rollers and replace worn, broken, or chipped ones right away. Bear in mind that you should only try to swap the rollers if they aren’t connected to the garage door cable system. Regardless of what type of rollers your door uses, though, they should be examined no less than twice a year and replaced every 5 to 7 years. If you use it more frequently, you should look at the rollers more often during the year.
6. Apply Oil to the Moving Parts
Try to keep door components (rollers, hinges, bearings, and tracks) well-lubricated to ensure quiet and smooth operation. Again, don’t try to do any work on the garage door springs or cables. Leave that to the specialists.
7. Test the Garage Door Balance
Periodically testing the balance of the door is another critical component of your garage door maintenance services. Here is how:
- Make sure the door is closed completely;
- Turn on the release mechanism so you can control the door by hand;
- The door should then lift with little resistance. You’ll be able to keep it open about four feet above the ground.
8. Clean the Surface
Wood doors will have to be inspected for water damage and warp, as well as peeling and chipped paint. Steel models may have rust spots that need to be sanded, primed, and painted. Wash the door regularly with a mild all-purpose cleaner. Remember, a garage door makes up about one-third of the house’s exterior, so keep it clean and fresh.
9. Tighten the Hardware
Since the door moves up/down many times, the vibration and motion can loosen up the track and door hardware. Check out the brackets holding the door tracks to the ceiling and wall, along with the fasteners anchoring the door opener unit to the framing. Take a socket wrench to tighten up any loose bolts you notice.
10. Repair or Replace the Weatherstripping
The rubber weatherstripping keeps out the cold as well as water, dirt, and dust. Check it twice a year to be sure it’s in good condition. Certain weatherstripping fits into the bottom of the door utilizing a flange that slides into a groove in the door’s bottom. Weatherstripping for wooden garage doors is typically nailed in place. If your door has weatherstripping along the sides, inspect its condition and reattach any loose spots or replace the entire stripping length if it’s damaged or worn.
11. Clear Debris
Over time, things such as dirt, dust, and other debris will collect in the tracks’ area, resulting in issues. In some cases, maneuvering within the tracks to get at the problem at hand can be challenging, which means that it might be a better idea to have a professional handle the job.
12. Auto-Reverse Feature Testing
The auto-reverse feature is engineered to prevent injury. You must test this feature at least once a year to ensure it’s working well. Start by placing a large piece of brick or wood underneath the door. You’ll know if your door is functioning properly when it reverses automatically after coming into contact with the object.
Modern door openers have a second reverse feature—a photoelectric system designed to detect people and pets walking underneath the door. To test this, activate the door and step your foot directly underneath the door’s path for just a moment. This movement should activate the door’s reverse function too.
Some of the major benefits of garage door maintenance include:
- Prevents Damage to the Garage Door – Regularly maintaining ensures that all your cables, springs, openers, and rollers are likely to stay in good working shape. When these components are functioning adequately, it can increase the longevity of your garage door. The fastest way to cause significant damage to the door is to let your system break down. When springs break, rollers bust, and cables snap, your door can get caught in an awkward position and cause some serious damage;
- Cost-Effective – Compared to the cost of replacing and installing a new door or repairing the existing door, maintaining the components of your door is much more cost-effective. A tune-up twice a year will ensure that your garage door system keeps operating correctly and prevents repairs;
- Prevents Damage to Your Home or Vehicle – Most garage doors break and malfunction while trying to move, and the only time the door is moving is when you’re trying to go in or out of the garage. Therefore your car could be directly underneath a door when it fails, causing it to fall on the vehicle. Even if you’re not putting yourself or your vehicle in danger when a door fails, door malfunctions can also cause considerable damage to the home. While they’re destructible, garage door systems are hefty, and when one goes awry, it can cause immense harm to the building structure around it;
- Security – Ensuring that your door is working correctly prevents any unauthorized access from thieves or intruders. When the door system breaks down, those with bad intentions could have easier access to your home and possessions;
- Improves Your Curb Appeal – Maintaining a garage door keeps it functioning properly, significantly reducing the likelihood of a malfunction that would cause the door to look much less appealing. One of the downsides to garage door systems is that it’s not difficult to see the damaged or worn door. Preventing this with garage door tune-up will help ensure you’ve got the best-looking garage and driveway in the neighborhood.
When to Schedule Maintenance for My Garage Door?
Your garage door is one of the biggest appliances in your home, with hundreds of moving components, but it’s also the one that tends to be most overlooked in terms of repair and maintenance. As a homeowner, you usually have your HVAC system checked over at least once a year. You want to be sure that your HVAC system is running efficiently, reliably, and safely, so you don’t need to pay for emergency repairs or a whole new system before it’s necessary.
Following these same lines, your investment deserves the same kind of regular maintenance from a professional. Ultimately, scheduling essential maintenance every year will prolong the lifespan of your garage door, improve safety, and protect it.