A Checklist for Garage Door Maintenance

by Fran DoneganFebruary 28, 2017

Garage doors are designed to provide years of uninterrupted service, but opening and closing the door hundreds, even thousands, of times a year does take its toll. To keep the door operating smoothly, perform a few routine maintenance tasks. Most should be performed monthly or bimonthly—they only take a few minutes. Here is a list of maintenance chores to keep your door operating at its best.

Consult the Door’s “User’s Manual”

The first step when performing maintenance on any product is to read what the manufacturer says about maintenance. If you cannot find the manual, you may be able to download a copy from the manufacturer’s website.
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Visual Inspection

Standing inside the garage with the door closed, make a visual inspection of the door. Look for signs of wear and tear, such as the condition of the weather-stripping at the bottom of the door. If it is damaged, you can replace it or have it replaced. Check the condition of bolts and other fasteners at hinges and rollers. If you find loose bolts, tighten them with a socket wrench. Don’t attempt to tighten any bolts that are painted red or have a warning tag attached to them, because it means the bolt holds a part that is under high tension and should be adjusted by a professional.
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Safety Inspection

Garage doors with openers manufactured after 1992 must contain two safety features that reverse the movement of a closing door should there be something in its path.

  • Reversing Mechanism. Open the door and place a 2×4, or a similar object, on the door’s threshold. Close the door using the wall switch or remote. When the door hits the 2×4, it should reverse and open fully. If it does not, call a technician.
  • Photoelectric Sensors. Located near the bottom of each track is a sensor that connects to the one opposite through an invisible beam. When something breaks the beam, it prevents the door from closing. To test it, open the door fully, then close it using the wall switch or remote. As the door closes, wave a broom or some other object in front of the beam. The door should reverse. If it does not, open the door and clean the sensors with a soft cloth. Run the test again. If there is still a problem, the sensors might be out of alignment. There should be instructions on aligning the sensors in the door’s manual. If you can’t get the system to work properly, call a technician.

Check the Door’s Balance

If the door is out of balance, your door opener is working harder than necessary, which could shorten the opener’s life. First, disconnect the electrical power from the opener, then disconnect the door from the opener mechanism. Manually lift the door to about waist-height and release it slowly. A well-balanced door should stay where you let go. If it rises or falls, it is out of balance and should be adjusted by a technician.

Lubricate Rollers, Bearings, and Hinges

About once a year, use a white lithium grease, or whatever the manufacturer recommends, to lubricate the rollers and hinges. Be careful not to get grease on nylon rollers. If you can see exposed ball bearings, lubricate them. Some systems have sealed bearings which cannot be lubricated. Many people like to lubricate the springs, but most manufacturers lubricate them at the factory, which should last for the life of the unit.

Clean the Tracks

Greasing the tracks is a common mistake. The grease does not make the door any more efficient, and it can trap dirt and debris. Be sure to clean the tracks with a cloth or old toothbrush and brake cleaner regularly to keep the door working properly.

By attending to some simple maintenance procedures, you can ensure trouble-free operation for years to come.


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About The Author
Fran Donegan
Fran Donegan is a DIY-for-the-home authority who currently writes for The Home Depot. Fran is a longtime DIY author, and has written several books, including Paint Your Home. To research options for garage door repair services, visit the Home Depot website.

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