Garage doors often get overlooked on our home maintenance lists unless and until they break. But keeping them running smoothly and preventing wear and tear can increase their lifespans and also make them quieter. To avoid costly repairs later, you should maintain your door now, including, at minimum, lubricating it about once every six months.
How to clean and maintain your garage door
Lubricating the parts of your garage door not only keeps them moving smoothly by minimising metal on metal friction, it also protects them from rust. Keeping buildup from accumulating in the tracks or on the ball bearings of the rollers will also keep the door moving evenly and prevent sagging down the road. The rollers can jump the track if they’re not spinning easily, so making sure that doesn’t happen will save future you a big headache.
Give it a good cleaning
The first step to a successful lubrication is to thoroughly clean the door’s rollers, runners, and hinges. Vacuum out any dirt and dust and use a dry rag to wipe away any remaining debris, as any material that sticks to the door hardware between the lubricant and the surface of the hardware will prevent the lubricant from doing its job. As you’re cleaning, check the tightness of the nuts and bolts, inspect springs for rust, and make sure the chain is tight. If you encounter stubborn dirt, you can use an automotive brake cleaner to remove it, or give it a good blast of air from a pneumatic hose. Avoid water based cleansers or bleach, as they can cause rust and contribute to wear and tear.
Apply your lubricant
Once you’re done cleaning, the next step is to begin lubricating parts with a silicone spray lubricant or white lithium grease. These are recommended over oils or other types of grease like WD-40 because they’re less likely to attract and cling to dirt.
Start by applying lubricant to the hinges first, lifting the door slowly, one panel at a time, and working the lubricant into each hinge. Then you’ll need to lubricate the rollers. Next, use a ladder to reach the springs and bearing plates located in the ceiling of the garage above the door, and apply your lubricant to them as well. Finally, don’t forget the arm bar along the ceiling, as well as any latches or locks. Raise and lower the door a few times once you’re finished to work the lubricant in.
If you discover any damage to the springs during your inspection, call in a professional, as they can be difficult and even dangerous to replace. Other parts, like hinges or bolts, you can easily replace yourself. Don’t forget to inspect the wether stripping on the bottom of the door, and replace it if it’s damaged in order to keep moisture from seeping into your garage. If you’re not sure what part you’re looking for, bring the broken one with you to the hardware store to assist in your search for a replacement.