Garage Door Maintenance and Repair Tips

Q. What maintenance does my garage door need?

The better you maintain and clean your garage door, the longer it will last. The best way to get the most out of your garage door is to maintain it regularly and, when you notice a problem, to address it immediately before further damage can occur.

You can begin by simply cleaning your garage doors with a mild detergent using a soft car brush four times a year. Some people remember to clean their doors whenever they wash their car. Washing your garage doors regularly will reduce the build up of corrosive elements. Avoid using any abrasive cleaners or corrosive chemicals on or around your garage doors. In Chicago's winter, it is tempting to salt your driveway. However, you should avoid using salt to melt snow near the garage door as it may corrode the door elements / hardware.

Wooden garage doors should be cleaned and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations. Generally, they recommend you paint them initially on both the inside and outside and repaint the exterior surface every year or two. If you finish only the outside of a garage door, the door may warp due to moisture infiltration.

Finally, keep the area under the door where it meets the ground free of obstructions. This area tends to build up dirt, leaves, cobwebs, snow, ice, and more - all of which prevents the door from creating a solid seal with the ground and potentially affecting the weight distribution and alignment of the garage door.

Q. Should I oil or lubricate the garage door, torsion spring, or chain?

A good preventative maintenance strategy is to apply any light weight oil (WD40 or spray oil is easiest) to the moving parts of the garage door - the rollers and hinges - annually. There are end hinges with rollers, which hold the rollers in the track, as well as center hinges. Lubricate all pivot points to keep the door running smoothly.

Garage door springs should be coated about once every season. Allow the oil to drip down and coat the cables on the sides of the garage door.

While lubricating, you should also check the garage door hardware parts. With repeated use, the hardware on the garage door wil tend to loosen over time. This hardware holds a lot of heavy weight (the door), so if you notice any loose screws, bolts, or nuts, tighten them so this hardware won’t fall out of adjustment.

Q. The opener is noisy when opening the garage door. What should I do about it?

Your garage door may be out of balance or the spring(s) may be broken. Close the door and pull the emergency release handle to disconnect the door from the motor track. Open and close the garage door manually. A door that is properly balanced will stay at any point when you lift it due to the spring tension. A door that seems too heavy to lift may have a problem with the springs. For help with springs, please contact Frank's Garage Door Service for a spring adjustment. Do not attempt to adjust the garage door springs yourself as they are under very high tension and can be very dangerous.

Q. What if the garage door opener does not operate from either the wall-mounted control or the remote control?

Does the opener have electric power? Plug a lamp into the outlet the opener is plugged into. If it doesn't light, check the fuse box or the circuit breaker to see if the circuit is tripped. Keep in mind that a wall switch may control some outlets ( remember the christmas light scene in Christmas Vacation?).

Are the safety reverse sensors working? These devices located at the end of each door must be able to "see" each other. If there is any obstruction or if they have been accidentally knocked out of alignment, try re-positioning them. Some electronic eyes have an LED to let you know whether the device is receiving the signal from its partner across the doorway opening. More about safety reverse sensors.

Is there a build-up of ice or snow under the door? The door may be frozen to the ground, clear the area and apply salt or snow-melt.

Pull the emergency release cable and try to manually lift the door. If the garage door does not lift, the door spring(s) may be broken. This requires professional assistance. Call us to replace or adjust the springs.

Repeated operation may have tripped the overload protector in the motor. Wait 15 minutes and try again.

Q. The door operates by the illuminated wall button, but not from the remote control. What should I do?

Is the wall button flashing? If your operator model has a Lock feature, it has been pressed and is locking out the remote control. Make sure it is off. The wall button has an LED that must be constantly on for the Lock feature to be off.

Q. Why is the opener noise so loud inside our home?

If operation noise can be heard in your home, an optional Vibration Isolator Kit can be installed. This kit is designed to minimize vibration to the house. We can also replace chains with belts to minimize noise. Finally, if the garage is below living quarters, adding ceiling insulation, or thicker padding for carpeted areas can help reduce noise transmission. Contact us to solve your garage door noise problems.

Q. Why will the garage door open, but will not close?

If the opener light is blinking, check the safety-reversing sensor for alignment.

If the opener light doesn't blink and it is a new installation check the down force on the operator motor case, or contact us for professional garage door repair.

Q. What if the door reverses for no apparent reason and opener light does not blink?

Is something obstructing the door? Clear any debris, dirt, leaves, ice or snow from the garage floor area where the door closes.

Pull the emergency release handle and open the door manually. If the door is unbalanced or binding, please contact Frank's Garage Door Service for professional garage door service.

Q. What if the door reverses for no apparent reason and the opener light blinks for 5 seconds after reversing?

Check the safety-reverse sensors, located near the ground on both sides of your garage door. The photoelectric eyes need a clear line of sight to operate properly. Remove any obstructions and check that the receiving eye is properly aligned. Sometimes these photoelectric sensors are inadvertently bumped which may cause them to work improperly.

Q. Why is my garage too drafty or too cold?

The extent of drafts in your garage door(s) can be reduced. Sectional doors and roller doors come complete with a weather resistant strip at the bottom of the door that creates an effective seal to keep wind and leaves outside your garage. An optional extra jamb seal is often installed for sectional garage doors, which also reduces drafts along the sides of the garage door.

To maximize your energy efficiency, consider replacing any garage doors attached to heated living space with an insulated door. This will help keep the temperature stabilized in the garage. An insulated garage door will not only provide an energy-saving airtight seal, but also an effective water seal too.

There are many do-it-yourself garage door insulation kits available to add to an existing overhead door. If you decide to do this, be careful about applying insulation yourself to the door as it may affect the balance and proper operation of your garage door.

Q. Where can I get additional information before choosing to buy a garage door?

Many garage door manufacturer websites offer much more information. Some even include interactive design-your-own-door activities where you can select various options. Once you've settled on a design that works for you, contact us to order and install your new garage door.

Additionally, you may be interested to check out a very informative article titled, the Garage Door Buying Guide with even more information about the types of doors and options available.

Frank's Garage Door Service provides this information as a service and assumes no liability for omissions, errors or the outcome of any project discussed herein. The reader must always exercise reasonable caution, follow current codes and regulations that may apply, and is urged to consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures.