Automatic Garage Door Maintenance

Extend the life of your automatic garage door by cleaning, checking, and maintaining the various components that make it work.

Your automatic garage door is a wonderful convenience for the entire family. It opens with the touch of a button to let you park the car without stopping to get out and open the garage door. If equipped with a motion sensor, the door will stop and reverse when a child or animal pauses under the descending door. You can even have a security device installed so that no one but you can open the garage door.

To keep the door working properly and safely, it is important to inspect it every few months and replace any loose or damaged parts. If it squeals or whines, however, check it immediately to arrange needed repairs.

1. Wash the garage door, inside and out, every few months. Use a mild detergent in warm water, using a car brush, and rinse with clear water from the garden hose afterward. Don't use a pressure washer. Cleaning will remove dirt and damage caused by harsh weather and UV rays, enhancing the door's appearance and keeping it working better for a longer period of time.

2. Wash the weather stripping every other month and allow it to dry. If made of rubber, you may wish to apply a protective coating that is made for vinyl lawn furniture. Wipe it on the weather stripping with a rag, absorbing the excess to prevent dripping. Do not use a petroleum-based lubricant, as it may damage the elastic properties of the rubber. (Check the owner's manual to determine which substance your weather stripping is composed of.)

3. Check the door to see if it opens and closes evenly and completely. If not, read the owner's manual for adjusting the limits using the knobs that come with many garage door assemblies. Inspect bolts and hinges for rust, and lubricate if needed. Do not attempt to adjust settings or balance in the assembly yourself; this is potentially dangerous, since the door is so heavy and set on a tight spring tension, so leave the hoisting springs and cable as tasks for a professional.

4. Examine the motion sensor safety feature. Place a roll of paper towels on its side under the door while raised. Then lower the door to see if it will stop on contact with the paper towels. If it does the motion sensor should be working. If it crushes the towels, however, you need to get this feature repaired. Don't let children or pets play in the garage or near the door, even when it is working properly.

5. Keep the remote control door openers in a safe place. Don't let the kids play with them, to avoid breakage or accidents. Arrange your garage contents so that items are not stored near the motion sensor, as these may topple and break the light or interfere with its beam.

The garage door is a complex piece of machinery. Annual checkups by a garage door specialist and routine owner maintenance can keep it operating as expected. Keep the owner's manual handy for questions about operation, safety, or maintenance.

© High Speed Ventures 2011