My neighbors suggested this blog post because several of them have the same recurring issue. Garage door maintenance isn’t sexy but it can save you from hearing that screeching sound every time you hit the door opener. Since on average we open and close our garage doors 6 times every day you can only imagine how much wear and tear occurs. Read further if you want to eliminate these annoying sounds and ensure your garage door is safe to use.
Our garage door definitely was in need of an inspection. So this weekend I decided to do just that.
The first thing I did was to open the door while standing underneath it. This allowed me to listen and look for any signs of trouble.
The main sources for noise were the rollers, roller hinges, and chain. The rollers looked terrible.
After cleaning all the rollers with a rag I then sprayed them with Blaster garage door spray lubricant.
There are two reasons to use a special garage door lubricant like this one:
- It will loosen up all moving parts
- It will prevent dirt and grime buildup because it’s silicone based
The rollers look and move a lot better after this step. Make sure not to spray any nylon roller wheels with lubricant and if you get any on the track remove it as this may cause the garage door to slip.
When it comes time to work on the garage door opener unplug it from the outlet. Do this to eliminate any injury from someone else unknowingly opening the door while you’re working on it.
Check all the roller hinges for loose bolts.
Even if you don’t use the manual lock mechanism you’ll want to make sure it’s working properly. Slide it back and forth to verify it won’t accidentally engage and lock you out of your house. Take a look at lock mechanism mounting bolts for looseness as well.
Check the track brackets for tightness. They are fastened to the wall inside the garage door. Look for any irregularities on the track like dings or bumps. Pound these out with a rubber mallet or just replace that particular section. If the tracks are dirty use brake cleaner to remove any buildup.
Use a level to inspect the garage door tracks on the left & right side as well as the front & back. The vertical section of the garage door tracks should be exactly plumb. If they are not plumb unscrew the track support bracket bolts just enough to move the track to the right or left. If you need to move the track out from garage door frame to make it plumb then use a wood shim behind the track bracket before tightening its bolts.
Test the garage door reversing sensors to see if they work. Press your garage door opener and then place your hand in front of one of the sensors. The garage door should reverse and move back to the open position. If it doesn’t you will need to check the wire connections, sensor alignment and clean the sensor lenses. Sometimes dirt or spider webs cause the garage door sensors to malfunction.
Inspect the garage door support arm that connects the garage door opener to the door itself. Specifically make sure the cotter pins that hold the arm to the door and opener are in good shape.
Carefully look at the garage door traveler that sits on the rail. The chain to the garage door opener is connected to the traveler. The chain tension can be adjusted by tightening the nuts that connect it to the traveler. Tension will be different for each door opener so check your owner’s manual.
You can adjust the travel of the garage door down or up by turning the limit screws on the garage door opener. Run the garage door through a cycle and adjust the limit screws as necessary to get the door to close or open properly. This picture is pretty self explanatory 🙂
Check all the brackets holding the garage door opener to the joists. Any loose bolts need to be tightened if the brackets are moving when the garage door is operating. Do the same inspection for the brackets holding the track to the joists. In this example, the drywall is covering the bracket attachment to the joist. I’d have to knock out the ceiling to reach the bolts but it would be worth it to fix an unsafe garage door.
The extension springs and pulleys should be inspected for loose fittings. Springs hold so much tension that they’re perhaps the most dangerous component of the door. Make sure there’s a steel safety cable that runs inside the spring. This cable should be securely fastened to a bracket that holds the track to the joist or the the track itself. If the spring breaks the cable will prevent it from hurting someone or something in the garage. Replace any frayed cables.
f one of your garage door springs needs to be replaced you should install two new ones instead of just one. This will maintain the garage door’s balance and keep it working more efficiently. As you can see from the picture below my springs have uneven spaces between the coils, indicating they’re worn out. I’m saving this project for another blog post.
Take a look at the garage door weather strip that rests between the door and the garage floor when the door is in the closed position . This helps prevent drafts and rodents from entering your home. As much as I love my children they always forget to close the basement door that’s in the garage. Since I’m the designated mouse catcher I make sure this seal and the the surrounding weather stripping on the garage door frame is in good shape. The following picture is me pointing at the garage door weather strip on the bottom of the door.
Here’s a picture of weather stripping around the garage door frame. If you don’t have any make sure to get some at your local hardware store. It can save you money on your heating and cooling bills 🙂
The final step is to lubricate all moving parts of the garage door opener. I sprayed the chain, pulleys in the garage door opener, and the rail. Any excess lubricant should be wiped off with a rag.
This pulley at the end of the rail (closest to the garage door) should be lubricated, too. Sorry for the spider webs, we don’t dust the garage that frequently.
Garage door maintenance is important because of the next picture.
Nobody would ever want their kids or grandchildren to get hurt because of a faulty garage door. If not for yourself do it for your loved ones-conduct semiannual maintenance checks. I realize we’re all busy but 30 minutes is all it takes.
Thanks for your time and make it a great day!
P.S. If you didn’t know, we have online classes for homeowners doing a DIY bathroom remodel.
They’re affordable, step-by-step and awesome for newbies.