Don’t ignore your garage door’s maintenance needs

Garage door maintenance is a must. Like anything in your home, it needs to be looked over and taken care of from time to time if it is going to provide you with the longevity that you deserve. If you aren’t keeping up on maintenance, your garage door will suffer as a result.

Your garage door is the largest, heaviest piece of equipment in your home. It’s something that you use all the time, or at least on an occasional basis. That’s why you need to make sure that it is safe for your family.

Annual garage maintenance

Prevention through maintenance

Thousands of accidents happen every single year as a result of garage doors that malfunction. In the US alone in 2014, there were more than 18,000 incidents that involved injuries related to garage doors malfunctioning or breaking.

Curious about the leading causes of these incidents? Although cases varied, there were three common answers among them: component failure, safety reversal system malfunction, and an unbalanced or defective spring system. Each one of these elements can be taken care of by doing some routine maintenance.

Add garage door maintenance to your routine

Tell Siri or Alexa to remind you to inspect the garage door next month. Use your phone’s calendar to save an event so that you don’t forget. We have so much technology available that you should be able to schedule in at least 30 minutes for a quick inspection and a little care for your garage door.

A quick look and a little lubrication is really all that you need. You should test the photoelectric reversal system occasionally, as well. These simple steps will give your garage door a longer life and give you peace of mind.

Your step‑by‑step guide

Now that you’re intrigued about taking care of your door, you might be wondering how to get started. Fortunately, it’s a fairly easy process. You should do this at least two times per year, and preferably once in the spring and once in the fall. If you use the door more often, regular maintenance should be done every couple of months.

The inspection

Open and close your door a few times with your electric opener (if you have one). Make sure that you’re not hearing anything unusual and that the door appears to be opening like it should. Then, check out the lift cables beside the tracks. Are there any frayed or worn spots? Is the drum wound properly? If everything looks like it is in order, you can move on. If anything needs attention, take notes.

Next, you’ll want to look over the spring system on your garage door. There are two systems available, and they are located in different spots. Extension springs are found above the door tracks along the ceiling (horizontal). The torsion springs, which are more common, are often found mounted at the front of the garage above the door. Do the springs appear to be in good condition? Are they making unusual noises?

You should also inspect the rollers on your garage door. Do they all roll correctly, and not slide in the track? Are they well‑lubricated and not in need of repair? Check the same things on the hinges: make sure there are no broken, loose, or missing parts. Check the bottom of the door where the lift cable attaches to the bracket, too.

Check out the weatherstripping that goes along the garage door. Look for cracks or signs of wear that might warrant replacing. Make sure the door is secure to keep pests and air out. Finally, if your garage has a photoelectric reverse system, you should make sure there is nothing blocking any of the sensors.

Visual inspection

Proper lubrication is key

There are two types of lubricants necessary to maintain your garage door. Something like a 5W30 engine oil will take care of the metal parts, while you will need something that is silicone‑based for the weatherstripping. You can find all of the lubricant products that you need at Hicklin Door Services. Keep in mind that before you start lubricating, you need to wash the door and clean the parts to remove any leftover grease or oil.

For the metal parts:

  1. Put some oil on the spring and rub it in with a cloth, removing all of the excess.
  2. Apply a little oil to the bearings on the rollers.
  3. Use a little oil on the hinges and brackets.
  4. Apply some lubricant to the horizontal tracks and the curves.

For weatherstripping:

  1. Apply the lubricant to the entire strip around the door, from the inside.
  2. Use lubricant between the door sections.
  3. Add some to all sides of the u‑shaped weatherstripping at the bottom of your garage door.

Perform a safety test

There are two safety systems on your garage door, if it is equipped with the proper systems. You should inspect these at least every few months, although some manufacturers recommend monthly inspections.

Test the mechanical reverse safety by laying a 2’ x 4’ piece of lumber or a similar piece across the threshold of the door. Then, close the door and see what happens. If the door hits the wood and then immediately reverses, the system works. If not, call a technician immediately.


With the photoelectric system, all you have to do is push the button on your remote. Then, wave your foot in front of one of the sensors (at the bottom of the door) and see if the door goes into reverse. Again, if it does, the safety system is in working order. If it fails to reverse, make sure that you call a repair technician and don’t use the door until it is repaired. Contact Hicklin Door Services immediately for safety system failures.

If you can take a few minutes to do this little bit of maintenance, you can get a lot more life out of your garage door. It will also help you identify and resolve small issues early, preventing them from becoming big issues that cost a fortune.

Would you rather let someone else take care of it?

Whether you don’t have the time, or you’re just not interested in doing your own garage door maintenance, we can help. Let us come out and handle it for you, taking care of maintenance and all of your other needs. Contact us at 515-276-3700 (Des Moines) or 515-233-4210 (Ames) to discuss your tune‑up service and other needs.

Looking for a full upgrade or just a new garage door? We’ll be happy to send along an email quotation.

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