DIY Garage Door Maintenance

Ultimate Guide to Residential Garage Door Springs

July 21, 2016   |   Posted by Angelina Johnson

Garage door maintenance can, at times, be very difficult to keep up with.  But don’t fret, this blog is going to become your very best friend when it comes to needing DIY garage door maintenance!  Most people probably think that as long as they have a semi-new garage door and they regularly use it, that’s pretty much all.  But there is so much more to it! You need to know how to lube your garage door, how to tighten loose bolts, how to adjust safety sensors, how to clean garage door tracks, and how to adjust the motor. These are the essentials of garage door maintenance, and if you don’t know exactly how to do each of those things, I strongly advise you to keep reading this article.


How to lube your garage door:


Lube can be the difference between a noisy garage door and a happy homeowner. Lubing your garage door is one of the biggest essentials for DIY garage door maintenance, and if you don’t lube your garage door, don’t be surprised when the garage door breaks down whining.


When actually trying to find out how to lube your garage door, first you want to make sure your track is clean. If it isn’t, don’t worry, if you keep on reading you’ll see step-by-step instructions on how to clean garage door tracks below. After your tracks are clean from debris and excess dust, you can lubricate your garage door.  First make sure that you have the right lubricant. Many people confuse WD-40 and similar products too that as lubricant for your garage door parts, when in fact it will do the opposite of lubricant, and could be very harmful for your garage door.  As long as you have confirmed that the lubricant is for lubricating your garage door parts, you should be good.  Now that you have your lube you are going to want to lubricate your springs, steel hinges (don’t lubricate if your hinges are plastic), and rollers. To lubricate your springs, spray them down, covering them in lube while making sure they aren’t dripping.  Lubricating the steel hinges is what comes next, still following basically the same essential idea of lubricating the springs, you are going to want to spray the lubricant all over the pivot points of the hinges without putting too much excess lubricant.  With rollers, you have to pay a little more attention. If you’re rollers are made of nylon to where the nylon is directly touching the track, you’re going to want to make sure that you only lubricate the bearings, without getting the lube on the nylon, as it can hurt the track.  Metal rollers don’t matter as much for being precise, as long as you wipe off some of the excess lubricant off.  And VOILA your garage door has been lubed.


How to tighten loose screws bolts:


If your screws and bolts for your garage door are all messed up, it can potentially stop your garage door’s ability to open and close.  Now we don’t want that do we?  Lucky for you, there are easy ways to tighten loose bolts and screws for your garage doors.  A way to do this is through taking out the screws and replacing them with self tapping sheet metal screws with a slightly larger diameter.  You install these new screws by drilling holes through the garage door frame and bracket with the self tapping screws. If you want to know how to tighten loose bolts without replacing them and just keeping the same screws and bolts, you can just follow the following simple procedure.  First, you’re going to want to observe the screws on your garage door and screws. This is because sometimes the screws will have warped the hinges, so it would be pointless to tighten up the screws on messed up hinges that will only have more problems if they are not replaced. If your hinges are all good, there are a couple of other things to look at. Check out to make sure the wood (if it does happen to be wood) around the screws and bolts is not cracked or broken. If there are a lot of cracks, having some wood filler could be a life-saver.  Also, you may want to get longer screws, if it seems necessary for some of the screws. Now you can just replace what is necessary and tighten everything, while remaining cautious for over-tightening as that can lead to more problems!  Who knew that garage door maintenance could be so much work? If you’re tired at this point you better grab some lemonade and take a power nap because we are barely just scratching the surface of our DIY garage door maintenance!


How to adjust safety sensors:


If everything seems to be tightened down and is free to move as loosely as needed with the help of your lube, but your garage door refuses to close, there is a pretty good chance that the problem is as simple as the safety sensors needing to be adjusted.  To do this is very simple, but you have to follow all the steps so that it will work. First, you might want to trip the fuse to turn off the electricity for your sensors, since you will be working with electricity, even though it is probably not necessary. Now you want to loosen the screws a little bit on the sensors so they can be adjusted easily, and move both sensors downward so that they are as close to the ground as possible. Take a long piece of string that you tie around the middle of one of your sensors, and bring it across your garage to the other sensor and position the string so that it is tied around that sensor as well in the same position. Now take a level, and make sure that the string is level, adjusting the sensors if necessary. Once the sensors are level, tighten the screws back up on the sensors and then check one more time to make sure that the sensors are level with the string (readjusting the sensors if necessary) until the sensors are perfectly level, at which point you take off the string. And that, ladies and gentleman, is how to adjust safety sensors for your garage door.  But there are still other things to maintain for your garage door.


How to clean garage door tracks:


First, you have to inspect your garage door tracks, and see what needs to be done.  If there is a lot of dirt built up, you may want to start off using a broom or vacuum to try to get out all of the loose dirt.  Once all of the loose dirt is taken care of and you just have a dirty oily track, it is time to move onto the next step. Grab a toothbrush (no, not the one you plan on using to brush your teeth tonight) an brush off all of the grime buildup that you can.  Then get soapy water and a rag, and down the tracks until satisfied. Don’t be afraid to get some elbow grease into there, to make sure that they get really clean. And alas, you should be able to see your reflection on the tracks because of how clean they are. (Note: Do NOT use the lubricant on your track, it can mess up your track really bad, use the disk brake cleaner, or a similar product that is made to clean tracks.)


How to adjust your garage door motor:


Your garage door motor or sometimes known as the garage door opener is fundamental to work. If your garage door motor doesn’t work, then there is no way that your garage door will work at all, unless you are able to pull it up and down yourself.


Imagine this, you never adjust or fix your garage door. You’re in a rush to go to work one day, for a super important event, and you’re in your nicest Sunday clothes.  You get in your car (that is already in your garage), buckle up, and push the button to open your garage door.  In response, the motor lets out a groan, and won’t work. What are you to do?  Well at this point, you might just have to buy a new garage door opener.


Buuut… if you just maintain your motor every once in awhile, you wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place.  So now you must be wondering “How would I go about adjusting my garage door motor or opener, so that this traumatizing story won’t end up being my own.”  Well let me go right ahead and tell you.  First, you are going to want to look at your garage door manual.  If you no longer have it, you could probably find it by looking up your garage door manufacturer on Google.  Once you have the manual, you want to find out which of your dials controls the opener and which motor controls the reverse sensor. The opener’s adjustments will control the speed of the garage door and where it stops. Now for this step you’re probably going to want an extra person, or to have a portable garage door opener button that you can have with you while adjusting the opener. You are going to adjust the knob little by little, testing the garage door with each adjustment, until the garage door stops opening right at the top of the garage opening. (Be careful not to adjust it too far or too little, because that’s just a broken motor waiting to happen.)


Now you adjust the reverse sensor motor with the other dial. Make sure your garage door is open first. Take something hard and put it in the way of the garage door’s ability to close, while making sure that the sensors won’t be able to detect the object. Now have your garage door close. Ideally, as soon as your garage door hits the object, it should bounce back and re-open. If this is not the case, you have to adjust the reverse sensor motor until this is the case.  If your motor does not do this properly, it could be a huge problem. If it is too sensitive then it could think that something is in the way when nothing is, which means that if you don’t notice, you could leave your garage door open when you leave the house. However, on the other end of the extreme: if your garage isn’t sensitive enough, it won’t notice when something is in the way, and will keep trying to close, which will strain the motor and garage door.  If your garage door reverse sensor motor just seems to refuse to cooperate despite your adjustments, it could be a serious issue, that you need to adjust right away, by having someone come and see if there is a fixable issue or if you’ll need a new opener.


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