How Often Do Garage Doors Need Maintenance?

Man tightening nuts and bolts on a garage door system.

How often do garage doors need maintenance? That’s a great question. Most folks don’t contact us until their door system needs to be repaired or replaced. Routine maintenance will help keep your door operating smoothly and hopefully extend its useful lifespan. 

How Often Do Garage Doors Need Maintenance?

If you’re a DIYer you can practice regular garage door maintenance a few times throughout the year. If you prefer assistance you should schedule a tune-up once or twice a year with a trusted garage door company. Avoid costly repairs with preventative care. 

DIY Garage Maintenance Tips

Use caution at all times. 

Garage doors weigh hundreds of pounds and can come down with enough force to cause serious injuries. The springs on doors also pose danger, if springs break during a repair they can release tension and send pieces of metal flying. Professional garage door installers and technicians can carefully and expertly handle repairs, replacements, and installations. If you do not have experience working on garage doors or in mechanics the best option is to leave the work to professionals.

That said, there are some things homeowners can take care of on their own, check out the list and explanations below. 

Remember to watch out for pinch points and loose parts.

Garage Door Maintenance Checklist

Inspect the door for obvious problems, even if they don’t prevent operation.
Is the door making noises?
Does the door make jerky motions? Or is it running smoothly?
Do the parts appear to be in alignment?
Perform safety tests
Garage door balance
Mechanical reverse feature
Door photosensors
Examine garage door hardware for wear and tear
Check for: loose and worn out parts, loose cables, warped springs, bent tracks and hinges, damaged rollers, rust on any moving parts
Service the chain or belt
One reason garage doors make noise as they operate is that the chain or belt may be loose
Clean the garage door surface
Spray down the outside surface of the door with water
Inspect the surface to see if it needs to be repainted or stained
Inspect the door for dents, rust, and insect damage
Replace old batteries and bulbs
If you’re having trouble getting your door to open by remote try replacing the batteries on the remote or door panel. 
Lubricate moving parts of the door system
Use a silicone spray to lubricate the tracks, springs, hinges, rollers, and locks 
Replace damaged seals
If the weatherstrip is brittle or torn, replace it; it’s also called a U-shaped astragal.
Problems you may want to seek help for, whether a partner or professional, include: damaged rollers, bent or rusted hinges, tensioning the springs, 

Garage door problems always begin with something small. Little problems snowball into big problems and that’s usually when homeowners call us, which is great for business but usually inconvenient and frustrating for our customers.  

Make note of noise

Some noise from your garage door is normal but in some cases, it’s a sign that something is not in good condition. If your door was new when you moved into your house or you purchased a new garage door take note of when it begins to make noise. Performing regular maintenance inspections and taking notes will help you keep track of problems. Some door opener motors are noisier than others but if you have a silent motor and it gradually or suddenly makes more noise, you want to make note of that and address any problems.

Make note of jerky movements

Your garage door should move smoothly. If the door is shaky and looks like it’s struggling to move up or down the track you’re going to want to have it inspected to identify the problem. Is something bent? Rusted? Worn out rollers? Get them fixed before the movement in the door strains the motor or bends the tracks.

Address misalignment

Another way to keep your door running smoothly up and down the tracks is to keep it aligned. If the door is out of balance you’ve got other problems. At this point, the door may not even open or close all the way leaving your garage further exposed to outside critters like mice.

Perform safety tests

There are a few safety tests you can perform on your garage door before calling a garage door repairman. 

  1. Garage Door Balance Test
  2. Mechanical Reverse Feature Test
  3. Door Photo Sensor Test

Garage Door Balance Test

  • Begin by disconnecting the door from the trolley. The trolley is connected to the motor by a chain or belt and when the motor is working the chains slide the trolley which controls the motion of the door (because they’re connected). Pull the red release cord.
  • Stand at the center of the door, make sure nothing is under the door, especially not your feet. Manually lift the door halfway up, then release the door.
  • If the door is in balance it should stay where you lifted it, if the door isn’t balanced it will begin to fall. Call a service technician to schedule a repair.

Mechanical Reverse Feature Test

Newer garage door motors have a mechanical reverse feature to improve garage door safety. When the motor senses resistance it reverses direction assuming something is obstructing its path.

  • Place a brick or part of a two-by-four on the garage floor under the path of the door.
  • Activate the door to close.
  • The door should reverse direction when it encounters the brick or block of wood. If the door does not reverse, call a technician to learn what is causing the failure.

Door Photosensors 

Photosensors are also a safety feature you can test. These also operate with the reverse feature but the sensors are located 4 to 6 inches above the floor, so they need to be tested as well.

  • Locate the two sensors, there should be one mounted on each side of the garage door frame.
  • Check the alignment of the sensors. When the sensors are properly aligned they light up. If they are not lit, attempt to correct the alignment. If they will not light, contact a technician, if they do move forward with the next step.
  • Activate the garage door. Stand away from under the door and wave an object across the sensor path, a broom could work for this. The door should reverse when the object crosses the sensor.
  • Test a few points in the beam’s path. If the door does not reverse contact a professional for assistance.

Examine garage door hardware for wear and tear

The garage door is the biggest moving feature of your home and it’s made up of lots of small parts. Make sure to inspect each part for signs of wear and tear to prevent major damage.

  • Take a socket wrench or screwdriver and tighten any loose bolts or fasteners on moving parts. Remember to check the door tracks and hinges, too.
  • Inspect the door rollers to see if they’ve worn down, bent, or cracked.
  • Inspect the cables and springs for rust, deterioration, broken strands, tangles, or warping.

Abnormalities with cables and springs need immediate attention. 

Service the chain or belt

Door motors push the door trolley by belt or chain, if you hear noise like the groaning of chains or slapping of belts, the drive may have some slack.

  • Disconnect the opener motor from the power source. Disengage the door from the trolley by pulling the red emergency release cord.
  • Locate the adjustment bolt on the drive, it’s on the trolley connected to the chain.
  • Use a wrench to loosen the nut on the side with the chain, then tighten the nut on the other side to pull the chain tight. Do not over tighten, over tightening the chain can cause the chain to break a gear. Tighten it so that the chain still has some slack but isn’t hitting anything, if it’s still making noise later you can tighten it some more. It’s best to make incremental improvements.
  • When the chain is where you want it, tighten both nuts on the bolt.
  • If the manufacturer recommends lubrication on the chain, this would be a good time to apply it. Check the manufacturer’s instructions first.

Clean the garage door surface

Keep your garage door working good and looking good.

  • Gently spray down the surface of your garage door with clean water.
  • Inspect the surface for holes, dents, and chips in the finish.
  • Inspect the surface for signs of insect damage.
  • Patch any holes before staining or painting as needed.
  • Brush off any cobwebs and dirt on the inside surface of the door. 
  • Clean any additional areas that are covered in debris.

Replace old batteries and bulbs

  • Check the backup battery by unplugging the door opener from its power source and then pressing the wall button or remote.
  • Replace old batteries in the door opener as well as remotes and door panels.
  • Replace the garage door opener light bulbs as needed, make sure to choose the appropriate size and wattage.

Lubricate moving parts of the door system

Many of the moving parts on your door need lubrication. You can consult a manual to see specific recommendations for your particular system. Below is a list of parts that typically need to be lubricated. Make sure to use a garage-safe lube like a silicone spray.

  • Tracks
  • Springs
  • Hinges
  • Rollers

Replace damaged seals

The weatherstrip at the bottom of your door is also called a U-shaped astragal. Its job is to protect the interior of the door from the elements, it also prevents small animals from getting in under the door.

  • Disengage the garage door from the opener and raise the door to about chest height. 
  • Secure the door in place with a clamp on the track under the bottom roller. This will keep the door in place while you work.
  • Remove the old weatherstrip then clean and dry that surface of the door.
  • Slide the new weatherstripping into place.

Contact Doorvana for Garage Door Replacement in DFW

Garage door replacements should be completed by a professional. Schedule an inspection or replacement service with a trusted garage door company. 

For service from the friendliest garage door experts in Texas, contact our team at Doorvana. We build, service, and install garage doors in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. We invite you to learn more about our company, services, and products by exploring our website. If you’re ready to talk shop, give us a call at  817-500-5988 or send us a message

Doorvana Blog How Often Do Garage Doors Need Maintenance?