Garage Door Maintenance

Here’s how a few hours of work once a year can increase safety and save money

  1. At least twice a year, test the safety features. Start by placing a 2×4 flat on the ground, and have the garage door close on it. When the door strikes the block, it should reverse. If it doesn’t, the closer itself can be adjusted.  Now check the photoelectric sensors, by blocking the light beam as the door is closing. The sensors themselves are those little camara things on each side of the door. They should be 4 to 6 inches from the floor and looking at each other. It’s not hard to accidently knock them out of alignment, but not at all hard to re-align them. If either of these safety features are missing or not functional, do not use the door untill the opener is repaired or replaced. If you don’t agree that this is a DYI project, it isn’t. But it is a very inexpesive repair to hire out.
  2. Visually check hinges, roller and cables. Door vibration can loosten hardware, so use a socket wrench to tighten bolts. 
  3. Clean and lubricate all moving parts. I use WD-40 and a clean cloth to loosten gunk, and follow up with spray silicone. 
  4. Test the balance. With the door all the way down, pull the red cord that attaches the door to the opener. Then try to open the door by hand. A person with the strength of, say, a ten-year-old should be able. The door should stay in place wherever you put it, all the way to fully open. Adjusting the spring is not a DYI project. This one gets hired out.
  5. Replace the weatherstripping. The rubber weatherstripping at the bottom of the door gets a lot of abuse. It keeps out cold, water debris and mice. I saw a video of an adult mouse getting through a hole the size of a dime. It was gross! Replacing the weaterstripping is not at all hard. On a wooden door, it is usually nailed in place, but most have a flange that slides int a groove in the bottom of the door. Just bring a small section to the hardware store or home center.