Garage Door Maintenance

Over time parts can wear out and break, creating potential hazards. Although you should conduct monthly safety checks and provide regular limited maintenance to your garage door system, you should call a professional at least once every year to have it fully inspected and serviced.

Perform routine maintenance steps once a month. Review your owner's manual for the garage door. If you don't have a manual, look for the model number on the back of the door, or check the lock handle, hinges, or other hardware for the manufacturer's name and request a manual from the manufacturer.

  1. Watch Your Fingers! If your door lacks pinch-resistant joints, you should have lift handles or suitable gripping points on the inside and outside of the door. Even if your door has a motor operator, the door must occasionally be operated manually. Never place your fingers between the door sections. If you manually open or close the door, use the lift handles or gripping points!
  2. Keep the owner's manuals for your door and operator near the door for easy reference. Every model of door and operator has specific safety instructions unique to that model. For a replacement copy contact the door or operator manufacturer.
  3. Make sure your opener has a reversing feature. If a reversing feature is not present it should be replaced. The garage door MUST reverse on contact with a 1-1/2 inch high object (or a piece of two-by-four lumber laid flat) on the floor. If the door doesn't stop and reverse after contact with the object, disconnect the operator and use the door manually until the operator is replaced or repaired by a qualified technician.
  4. Photoelectric sensors: From inside the garage, with door closing, interrupt the photoelectric beam. The door should stop and automatically reverse direction to the fully open position. If the door doesn't stop and reverse when the beam is blocked, disconnect the operator and use the door manually until the operator is replaced or repaired by a qualified technician.
  5. Force setting: Test the force setting of the opener by resisting the downward movement of the door with your hand at the bottom of the door as it begins to close. If the door does not reverse as you apply moderate resistance, the setting is probably excessive. (Consult your owner's manual for specific details about adjusting the setting.)

Caution: For safety sake unplug garage door opener before proceeding with the following operations.

  1. Regularly lubricate the moving parts of the door. However, do not lubricate plastic idler bearings. Many manufacturers recommend cleaning the tracks and then applying light machine oil, except to plastic parts. Some door makers say to oil door rollers, bearings and hinges monthly using a silicone lubricant or light oil. Consult the door owner's manual for the manufacturer's recommendation.
  2. Conduct an inspection of the complete counterbalance system, including the cables, springs, and hardware. There are some fixes any homeowner with a level and socket wrench can take on, such as aligning the tracks. Though door wheels have some leeway, if the tracks are not parallel and plumb, the wheels can drag and also wear out prematurely. The solution is to loosen the bolts in the track mounts just enough so you can realign the tracks before retightening. If you don't have adequate knowledge of the mechanisms, then consult your owner's manual. And if you still don't understand what to check call a professional garage door installer. When you've done that you need to test the balance. Start with the door closed and trip the release mechanism so you can maneuver the door by hand. If the door is balanced (properly spring-loaded and running freely on its tracks) you should be able to lift the door smoothly without much effort and it should stay open about three or four feet above the floor. If the door flies up or down when you let go, the balance needs adjusting.

About Garage Door Springs:

Torsion and extension springs and attached hardware are under extreme tension at all times. All tension must be released from springs before any work is performed on the springs, hardware, or bottom cable brackets. Only a professionally trained service person should relieve the springs of any tension. Torsion springs:
Torsion springs are the springs that take the weight of your garage door and distribute it evenly throughout the system. When these springs are wound up they hold a tremendous amount of tension. If a torsion spring releases it could lash out with enough force to kill you! If you don't know what you're doing, and even if you do, it's highly recommended that torsion spring installation and adjustments be left up to a professional garage door installer.

Extension springs:
If your garage door has extension springs a containment cable should run through each spring and should be connected to the wall or ceiling at each end. When your garage door is closed extension springs are under high tension. If a spring breaks a potentially hazardous situation can result. A containment cable can keep that broken spring contained. If you have extension springs but do not have containment cables call your local dealer for a safety inspection.