How to Maintain a Smooth Garage Door Operation

Routine upkeep is needed to make it last.
modern double garage doors
Photos: Courtesy of Raynor Hawaii Overhead Doors

It might be hard to believe, but your garage door gets a lot of mileage every day. For a smooth drive, you’ll want to watch out for anything that looks or sounds out of the ordinary and give it a tune-up from time to time. Follow these guidelines from Peter Eldridge of Raynor Hawaii Overhead Doors to keep your garage doors operating in the best condition.  

1. Tread Lightly

Eldridge advises that homeowners should not attempt to adjust the springs, torsion bar or the cables that lift the garage door. “These are under extreme tension and maladjustment can result in extreme damage to the door or serious injury to yourself,” he says. “For spring tension or cable adjustments or replacement call a professional who is licensed and insured for garage door work.” 

2. Inspect Everything

When inspecting your garage door, pull the release cord to unfasten the garage door form the operator. “A properly adjusted and lubricated door will feel slightly heavy at first but roll up smoothly,” explains Eldridge. “It may hang into the opening a few inches when opened but should not roll closed on its own.” He warns that you should never put your fingers between the sections as this may lead to severe injury. 

Throughout your inspection, be sure to look at all the nuts and bolts and ensure they are snug and tight. Look at the clearances, too. “The door should not rub hard against the door frame or rub on the tracks as it rolls up or down,” he says. 

inside of a two-car garage 

3. Make it a Smooth Operator

The owner manual states that your non-contact safety reverse system should be tested regularly. “This involves placing an empty cardboard box that blocks the ‘safety eyes’ in the path of the door then pushing the wall button,” explains Eldridge. “The opener should move very little before stopping and flashing the light bulb several times. If the door continues moving stop it by pushing the wall button again before it hits the box.” 

You’ll also want to review the obstruction setting. “For most doors, placing a two-by-four in the exact center and allowing the door to close on it suffices,” says Eldridge. “When the door hits the two-by-four it should push firmly then reverse to the open position.” 

Apply lubricant often. “Regular lubrication with a lightweight oil or special garage door lubricant will ensure longer life and quieter, smoother operation,” says Eldridge. “Spray lubricant on the hinges, rollers, inside the track and on the springs (above the door) and cables down each side.” 

For operators that are chain-driven, lubricate it with the same lubricant but avoid getting lubricant on the motorhead as it may interfere with the electronics, he adds.   

4. Power On

Remember to replace the batteries in your remotes and outside keypad at least every couple of years or when you notice a decrease in range. “If your motor is over 8 years old consider that the new operators feature enhanced safety through current sampling and better sensitivity while offering quieter, smoother operation,” says Eldridge. 

With the proper care and maintenance for both your garage door and operator, it should run for many years, giving you safe service while making your home look beautiful.  

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