DIY Maintenance for Your Garage Door

Keeping your garage door working properly and looking good is important for the safety, value and aesthetics of your home. While there are some garage door maintenance tasks and repairs that should be left to professionals, there are also quite a few things you can do on your own. Here are the most important points in DIY maintenance for your garage door.

Garage doors can be dangerous. They are large and often heavy, weighing up to 250 pounds. The average garage door is opened about one thousand times a year, making good maintenance a high priority. Keeping your garage door in safe working order, and detecting any potential problems before they pose a safety hazard, is the most important garage door maintenance task you can do.

Your garage door is actually a system of components which includes the door itself, the springs, brackets, hinges, openers and safety devices. Garage doors are built to be in balance with the spring system that lifts the door. Checking the door’s balance is an important safety check, and it is a good idea to do it about once a month.

First, move any items next to the door and move the car out. Unplug the garage door opener from the power source, and then disengage the door from the opener by pulling the release cord hanging above the door. Making sure the manual release is working is another important safety check in and of itself, as this feature allows you to open the door manually in case of an emergency when the power is out. If it is not working, call for repairs.

If the manual release is working, raise the door to waist height and let go. The door should stay where it is, without moving up or down. If it does move, call a garage door repair company and let them adjust the tensioners. Tensioner adjustment is one maintenance job that should always be left to a professional.

If the door is in balance, open it fully and move on to the next safety check, which is the operation of the auto reversal and infrared motion systems. These components cause the door to re-open if something is under the door when it is closing. Make sure the opener is plugged in. Put a cinder block or similar object on the ground under the door and push the opener. If the door does not immediately re-open when it touches the object, call a repair person.

Next, check the infrared device, which is located about six inches above the ground in the door opening. While the door is closing, use a broom or other long stick to block the infrared light as the door goes down. Again, the door should reverse and open as soon as the light is blocked, or repairs by a technician are in order.

Move on to visually inspecting the springs, rollers, tracks and cables. Look for ware or distortion in the rollers, rust or breakage of springs, and fraying of cables. If you see problems, call a specialist, unless you have advanced experience in garage door repair.

Next, use a wrench to tighten bolts on the brackets and hinges, except any that are painted red or are next to a safety tag. These are adjustment bolts that should only be adjusted by a trained person.

Lubrication of some components is another easy garage door DIY maintenance task, but keep these important points in mind: Use a non-silicon based lubricant on springs, hinges and bearings, but do not use oil on nylon rollers, if your door has this type.

Also, do not lubricate the tracks. This can cause problems with the door balance. Instead, wear gloves and put some break part cleaner on a clean rag and wipe the tracks down. Usually, this only needs to be done once every few years, unless you notice dust or debris accumulating on the tracks sooner.

The visual appeal of your garage door is another good area for DIY maintenance. Add mild detergent to a bucket of water and use a stiff scrub brush and a hose to clean the surface of the door. If the garage door is painted, checking the condition of the paint and repainting when needed are also easy and satisfying DIY garage door maintenance tasks you can do.

Doing some of your own garage door maintenance saves money and keeps you on top of knowing when there are problems that need a trained expert.

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