Anything with moving parts is going to need some maintenance, no matter how well it is installed. And when it comes to moving parts, you can’t beat the automatic garage.
Your automatic garage has tracks, chains, cables, springs, and of course, the garage door itself. All of these parts will move every single day – that is until they stop moving and you’re stuck with a half-open garage door.
To avoid this nightmare scenario, we recommend regular automatic garage door maintenance is necessary. Thankfully, with the 10 steps we have outlined below, it’s not too hard to keep your garage door moving and ensure your automatic garage remains in the best condition possible.
How Often Should You Be Performing Garage Door Maintenance?
If you’ve partnered with a reputable supplier, your garage will be a quality product that’s perfectly installed. This means you should only need to check the condition of your garage door every few months – two to four times a year depending on its condition.
When you do check your automatic garage door, switch it to the manual setting and open and close the door. If the door opens and closes smoothly and consistently, that’s a great first sign. Also listen for any unusual sounds when opening or closing the door. If you’re happy with what you see and hear, your garage is probably in pretty good condition. To keep it that way, complete some quick preventative maintenance on all the essential parts.
7 Automatic Garage Door Maintenance Jobs You Can Do Yourself (and 3 You Should Leave to a Professional)
- DIY: Tighten Those Fasteners
The average garage door will go through a lot over the course of its lifetime, including being opened and closed approximately 1000 times every year!
When completing automatic garage door maintenance, ensure all fasteners are firmly in place and replace any nuts, bolts or screws that are in poor condition.
- DIY: Lubricate Those Chains and Springs
Keep the chains and springs on your garage moving smoothly with a bit of lubricant. You can spray just about any chain lube onto your opener chain but check with the door manufacturer if you want to be sure.
For the springs, don’t apply the lubricant directly. An oily rag will do the job just fine to keep your springs in top condition.
- DIY: Give the Hinges Some Attention
You’ll also want to loosen up and lubricate the hinges on your garage door. For plastic hinges, opt for a silicon spray and for steel hinges, general machine oil will do fine.
- DIY: Clean and Polish the Guide Tracks
The exact method for taking care of your guide tracks will differ a bit depending on the style of door you have. Generally speaking, a roller door will benefit from cleaning and polishing. However, a sectional door will only really need cleaning.
What you use to clean the door here is important, so always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to dealing with guide tracks.
- DIY: Check Your Garage Door Locks
The locks on your garage door are one of the lowest maintenance parts of the whole system. But if your key starts to feel stiff inside the lock, a bit of WD40 is probably all it needs to get back on track.
- DIY: Batteries, Sensors, and Safety Features
Can’t open your garage door with your remote? Things might not be as bad as you think. The first thing to check is the batteries in the remote itself. Dig out your manual and take a look at what batteries your garage door takes and how often it recommends replacing them. Changing your batteries could be a fast solution to your problem.
As well as testing out your batteries, take the opportunity to test out your sensors and safety features.
Modern automatic garage doors will have a mechanical safety function that sends your garage door back up when it makes contact with something. This is intended to protect your family and your four-legged friends.
To test this, place a brick under the garage door and see if the door reverses when it makes contact with the brick. If it doesn’t, you can adjust this safety feature by looking in the manual. You want to change the downforce control limit, which your manual should explain for you.
The other safety feature to check is the sensor, and this is even easier. Simply put an item in front of the sensor beam while the garage door closes and watch the door stop in its tracks. If it doesn’t stop, your sensor probably just needs cleaning, but if it still doesn’t function after this, it’s time to call a professional.
- DIY: Clean and Maintain the Door Itself
To maintain a steel door, look for rusty spots and remove them by sanding, priming, and painting. For wooden doors, it’s important to repaint them to prevent cracking and weather damage.
When it comes to cleaning, a wet rag and an all-purpose cleaner should be all you need. Choose a nice day every month or so to clean your automatic garage door.
- For Professionals: Door Balance Issues
You can identify door balance issues yourself by opening the door to the halfway point in manual mode. The door should stay still, even when half-open, and any movement may indicate a balance issue. Call a professional to get on top of this problem.
- For the Professionals: Lifting Cables
If you notice that the cables on your garage are frayed, you will need a professional to assist you with adjusting the tension or even replacing the cables.
- For the Professionals: Spring Tension
You can lubricate your springs, but if you notice they are loose and stretched out, you will need a professional to fix the issue. Springs that have lost their tension usually come with garage door issues like seizing or completely failing to open and close.
When to Call a Professional for Automatic Garage Door Maintenance?
As well as performing these maintenance checks every few months, you should get a professional to look at your garage door annually. If you notice any issues that you can’t fix yourself or you’re not confident dealing with, that’s also a good time to call a garage door expert.
With this checklist and an experienced garage door maintenance professional, you can keep your garage working its best for years to come.