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Maintain a Garage Door

The garage door is the last thing you see when you leave the house and the first thing that greets you when you return. Your garage door needs a little maintenance to keep it operating smoothly and safely. These instructions outline regular garage door maintenance steps.

Tools & Materials

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Cleaning the Garage Door

Clean the outside of the garage door at least once a year; more frequently if you live in a salt-air climate.

Step 1

Dilute 1 cup of detergent in 5 gallons of warm water, and wash the door with a soft sponge or cloth. Then thoroughly rinse the door with a hose.

For wood doors, clean the outside of the door by wiping it with a dry, soft cloth. After cleaning, a wood door may also require repainting or staining. Inspect your door once a year or as needed, depending on finish quality and climate, to determine if it needs to be painted or stained.

Step 2

Clean the inside of the garage door in the same way, depending on condition. If relatively clean, use a broom to remove any cobwebs or other debris.

Inspecting a Garage Door for Safety

Visually inspect the springs for condition, and correct operation every three months.

  • Torsion springs are round springs mounted under high tension above the garage door.
  • Extension springs are long springs that are stretched horizontally above the door’s roller tracks. Replacement parts are available at Lowe’s. Wear work gloves to minimize pinching when handling springs and other parts.

Step 1

Inspect the rollers, tracks, cables, brackets and hinges for condition, and correct operation every three months. Make sure all the bolts and screws are tight. Look for anything that seems worn or frayed and replace it.

Step 2

Test the door balance:

  • Disconnect the power to the garage door opener, if equipped.
  • Disengage the opener, typically by pulling the cord and the handle hanging from the trolley on the central track.
  • Manually lift the door to waist level and slowly release. If the door drops or rises, it isn't correctly balanced and should be adjusted by a trained technician. Also, the owner’s manual may offer safe procedures for balancing the garage door.
Caution

Torsion springs should only be adjusted or removed by a trained technician with the proper tools. By law, tension springs and cables will have a red paint mark, an adjustment bolt painted red or have a safety tag to identify it and provide cautions.

Lubricating a Garage Door

Lubricate the door’s hinges, springs and bearings with a nonsilicon-based lubricant, as recommended by the door manufacturer. Motor oil can be used to lubricate the parts.

Step 1

Lubricate the door’s rollers:

  • All-metal rollers: Use a nonsilicon-based lubricant such as motor oil.
  • Nylon rollers: Lubricate the bearings, but make sure that oil doesn't come in contact with the nylon rollers.
Caution

Don't oil the roller tracks as lubricant can cause the door to slip and become unbalanced.

Step 2

Clean the garage door tracks with a cloth and brake cleaner. Wear latex gloves when using brake cleaner.

Step 3

Make repairs as needed, following the instructions in the garage door owner’s manual, or call a trained technician for help.