Chances are you use your garage door every day. In fact, it’s probably one of the first and last things you use every day. So how do you keep that appliance working at its best? I don’t know about you, but growing up, the garage door was always a mystery to me (and my mom). I know we both just hoped nothing would go wrong with it, because we really had no idea how to fix it.
As I got older and am now facing home ownership on my own, I knew the garage door was something I had to figure out. There had to be some basic maintenance I could do to ensure it was working properly…right? I decided to call a few garage installation companies to see if any of them had any helpful tips to recommend (shout out to Crawford Garage for being so helpful), and here are the tips I gathered.
Tip #1: Wash Your Garage Door Yearly
My new friend recommended washing the outside of your garage door yearly (or more often, if you live in a salt air climate). All you need to do is dilute about a cup of detergent into a five gallon bucket of water, and use a soft sponge to wash down the door. Then rinse it down with a hose. For a wooden door, just use a dry, soft rag to wipe it down. You may also need to repaint or restain your garage door once a year, and you should check out the quality of your paint job during your yearly washing.
Tip #2: Check all the Parts
After the first tip, I thought I was a total champ. Clean the front of the door? I totally got that. This is the part where my fear of garage doors really came back to me, because the next thing I was told to do was check all the parts of the garage door about every three months for wear or damage. Luckily, this step was broken down for me.
First, check the springs in your garage. There are two types of springs in your garage door: the torsion springs and the extension strings. The torsion springs are the round mechanisms that sit atop the upper corner of your garage door. By law, they should be painted red. Torsion springs should only be handled by a professional. If you notice wear and tear in a torsion spring, call someone in to have it replaced. Torsion springs last about 6-7 years with regular use (opening and closing the garage door a couple times a day)
Extension springs are long springs stretch horizontally along the two tracks that the door sits on. Check those for any wear and tear, and have them replaced if needed. Extension springs last about 6-10 years, depending on how much you use them, so they shouldn’t need to be replaced often. When they do need to be replaced, however, plan on having both done at the same time. They usually wear out evenly.
After you’ve checked the springs for wear, tighten any screws that might have come loose and check the door’s balance. Do this by unplugging the power source to your door, and pulling the cord hanging from the middle of the garage door’s tracks. Once you’ve done this, pull the door to mid height and let it go. If it drifts up or down, your door is unbalance. Move the door to a completely open position. If it drifts downward, your torsion springs aren’t tight enough. Pull the door to the ground, if it drifts upward, your torsion springs are too tight.
Tip #3: Lubricate Yearly
Once a year or so, the parts in your door ought to be lightly lubricated. First, clean out the roller tracks your garage door sits on. Do this using water and a non corrosive cleaner. Don’t lubricate the track itself, because this could make the garage door slip and become unbalanced. For all-metal garage doors, lubricate the roller with motor oil. If you have a nylon roller, don’t use oil on it. Just lubricate the bearings around it.
If you keep the parts of your garage door well oiled and maintained, you shouldn’t have too many problems with it. The springs need to be replaced every five to ten years, but other than that, there isn’t much to your garage door than simple maintenance (which is a huge relief to me).
Guest Author: Mary Kremer
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