Everyone knows about spring cleaning, but in the garage door world, fall is the prime time to get some yearly to-dos crossed off the list. Spending a few minutes to check over your garage door and lubricate its moving parts can spare you a lot of frustration and avoid a potential breakdown when temperatures dip below freezing. Here is a list of garage door preventative maintenance tasks you should perform when the leaves begin to fall.

1. Lubricate the rollers, roller shaves, hinges, and springs.

During the winter, old lubricant hardens and becomes sticky, so make sure you have some new, fresh lube to apply before it gets too cold. If you do all your lubing when the door is open, any lube that runs off the rollers will run into the track instead of all over the floor, so this is what we recommend. If you don’t lube the rollers and shave, it’s possible for the rollers to climb out of the horizontal track.

To lube the spring, simply run a bead of oil across the top of the spring. You don’t need to lube the whole thing—only the area where the coils touch. Running oil across the top will allow it to run down in between the coils without dripping all over the door.

Many specialty lubes are available. We recommend anything oil-based—3 in 1 oil, for example. We actually tell people they can just run their old lawn mower oil through a coffee filter and put it in a squirt can; it is lightweight, doesn’t gum up during the winter, and is designed to handle repeated wear.

2. Check the spring tension.

So much of the longevity of your door and opener relies on balance. Therefore, a spring tension check is a necessity. All you have to do is pull the opener’s emergency release handle to check this. Make sure the door is already down before you release this to prevent an uncontrolled fall. Then, lift the door halfway up and release it. If the door falls, the spring needs more tension. If it shoots open all the way, it needs tension taken off. Either way, it’s time to call a professional to adjust this for you.

3. Check the opener photo eyes and safety reverse mechanism.

To check your photo eyes, place your hand over one of them and press the remote. The door should not move. Instead, the light on the motor should start flashing. If the door does go down, this means you either have an old opener (built prior to 1993), or your opener has a serious problem that needs fixing.

To check your opener’s safety reverse mechanism, place a 2×4′ piece of wood down flat on the ground under the door when it’s open. Make sure you place the board down the long way so at least two feet of it are under the door. This way, if the door fails to reverse, the board won’t damage the door. Your door should begin to close when you push the remote button then reverse as soon as it touches the board. If your opener fails this test, either the force setting or travel limits, or both will need to be adjusted.

If your opener fails either of the above tests, it’s best to call a professional to fix the issue. Older garage door openers can be finicky, and it may take some investigation to figure out the exact source of the problem.

4. As you lubricate and check your door, keep an eye out for any parts that need to be replaced.

This could include cracked or bent hinges, rollers with bad bearings (you will hear a clicking sound when the door moves), loose bolts or nuts, or lags coming out of the wall or ceiling.

Performing these tests and inspections should only take you about 15 minutes. However, that short amount of time you spend on preventative maintenance this fall could prevent you from dealing with the hassle of a door that won’t open or close this coming winter.

Garage Door Repairs in Iowa

If you have any questions or concerns about your commercial or residential garage door, give us a ring or shoot us a message online. We service and install garage doors across the state of Iowa.