Garage Door Tune-Up
Inspect and maintain your garage door annually for safety and convenience sake.
An annual garage door tune-up helps ensure reliable, quiet operation and safety. Each step of the tune-up takes 10 minutes or less and is worth it to keep your garage door in good working order.
"Warning" Follow all safety precautions when working on your garage door.
Perhaps no other part of your home experiences as much wear and tear as your overhead garage door. The average garage door will go up and down more than a thousand times a year. When kept in good working order, it provides convenience and security. But a neglected door can not only become as noisy as a locomotive but also pose a significant safety risk to your family, especially your kids. In this article, we’ll show the steps involved in the annual inspection and maintenance of your automatic overhead door for reliable, quiet operation and safety. Many of these tips also apply to overhead garage doors that don’t have an automatic opener.
The simple garage door maintenance steps shown in the following photos require no special skills and take less than 10 minutes each to perform. Any materials you may need are available at home centers and garage door dealers.
The vast majority of garage doors have either torsion springs, which mount on the header above the door (opening photo), or extension springs, which float above the upper roller track. Except for the installation of containment cables shown in Photos 10 and 11, all the steps featured in the following photos apply to both types.
To be safe while working on the door, take the following precautions:
Unplug the automatic door opener so it can’t be activated.
If the door is open while you’re working, clamp a locking pliers onto the roller track below a roller to keep it from dropping.
Never remove a lift cable while a door spring is under tension. If released, it’ll cut like a knife.
Never attempt to adjust or release the tension on an overhead torsion spring. This is a job for garage door professionals only.
1. Tighten the nuts and bolts
Because your door moves, the hardware can loosen. Inspect and tighten all roller brackets and the bolts that hold the rails to the support brackets.
2. Inspect the rollers for wear and tear
Nylon rollers tend to crack or chip when they deteriorate, so defects should be easy to spot. On steel rollers, the bearings wear and the wheel begins to tilt like the one shown. Buy replacement rollers at a hardware store and install them by removing and reinstalling the roller bracket. Caution: Do not remove the bottom roller bracket. The cable attached to it is under extreme tension.
3. Inspect the lift cable for wear
Look for broken strands. Damage is most likely to occur where the cable attaches to the bottom roller bracket, where it’s most exposed to moisture. Clear away the gunk from this area with an old toothbrush so you can check the condition of the cable. Since this cable is under high tension, don’t try to replace it yourself. Call a garage door professional to replace it.
4. Lubricate the chain or screw
Lubricate the chain or the screw on your opener annually with white lithium grease. Spray-on versions are available at most home centers. Lubrication will make the opener’s operation smoother, quieter and extend the life of both chain and opener.
Note: Some screw openers do not require lubrication. Check your Owner’s Manual.
5. Lubricate the springs
Coat the overhead torsion springs or the extension springs mounted above roller tracks with a lubricant/ cleaner like WD-40. Don’t wipe off the excess. All springs will eventually break because of metal fatigue and/or corrosion, but this annual maintenance will prevent corrosion.
NOTE: Replacing springs is a job for a professional. If one spring breaks, both should be replaced
6. Test your door
Test the balance of your door. A properly balanced garage door is less likely to crush someone or something and keeps your door opener from working too hard. To know how to balance a garage door, first, disengage the opener from the door by pulling the opener release handle (see opening photo). Then lower the door about halfway. A properly balanced door will hold the halfway position without assistance. If the door rides back up, the springs are under too much tension. If it falls, the tension needs to be increased. Adjusting the spring tension is tricky and dangerous. Call a garage door professional to perform the service!
7. Test the auto reverse feature
Test the auto reverse feature of your automatic opener by placing a 2×4 directly under the point where the opener is attached to the door. The door should reverse direction within two seconds after coming to a stop. If your door opener doesn’t have an auto reverse feature, buy a new opener.