There are a few times each year, 3 actually, that we recommend homeowners (that would be you) to perform some general maintenance on their garage door(s). Right about now is one of them. Just like replacing your smoke alarm batteries during daylight savings time the start of the new school year is a good way to remember some door maintenance.
Disclaimer: Generally speaking we do not offer advice on garage door repairs. The overwhelming majority of major, and even some minor, repairs should be done by trained experts. Aside from being physically heavy there are also parts of your door that are under tension and if you’re not familiar with how each part affects the other it could be dangerous.
Tighten your nuts and bolts.
We’re going to focus on the hinges that hold the door sections together. When your door was initially installed these were used for assembly over the course of a year or more these can become loose with normal use of your door. Once they get loose your door will not operate properly. These are typically a 7/16 screw head but can be different. You want to put a wrench or a socket and turn clockwise until very snug. Be careful not to over tighten to avoid stripping them.
Next, we want to tighten the bolts that hold the track to the side brackets to insure the tracks are held firmly in place. Again, the rule is very snug without over tightening. While you are there check the lag screws holding the side bracket to the wall.
This is also a good time to check on the hinges, and their screws, holding the rollers in place.
!!!DO NOT attempt to tighten the bottom roller hinge bracket. It is attached to the cable that operates your door and is under tension!!!
Lubrication: (you will need a good spray can of Lithium Grease and an old rag)
Let’s talk about what not to use. Never use WD40 or oil on your garage door. The reason is simple; those two items will act as a solvent and not a lubricant and do the opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish.
If at all possible try to get a can of Lithium Grease that has a straw that can attach to the spray nozzle.
First go back to the hinges and give a quick burst on either side of the pivot pin. Do this to each and every hinge. Next, do the same to the roller pins.
Now on to the rollers themselves: Before spraying the rollers do a visual check to make sure you can see the bearings inside the rollers. If you can’t see any bearings, or have plastic rollers, there is no need to lubricate them at all. They either have no bearings or have sealed bearings so spraying either one of these types of rollers will do no good. A quick pulse of the lithium grease to the roller bearings is all that is needed.
Your door also has pulleys that could use a little attention. Make sure you can see the bearings, just like the rollers, and if so give them a little squirt as well.
An important note: Never lubricate the track of your garage door. The rollers are meant to roll and not slide inside the track. The track only needs to be cleaned and that IS a good job for a WD40 type product and a clean rag. If your track needs lubrication to run properly then there is probably something else wrong with the door. Give your local Overhead Door Company a call to have them take a look and make the appropriate recommendations.
Lastly, If you have a torsion spring which would be located above the door mounted to the header go ahead and give that a spray with the Lithium grease as well and wipe off any excess with your rag. This will help the coils on the spring to move freely next to each other as the spring winds and unwinds during door operation. If your door has extension springs which are located at the back of the track they need no maintenance because they simply expand and contract as the door opens and closes.
That should cover it. Now run the door up and down a few times to help the new grease work its way in and around the moving parts and your door should be much quieter than it was.
If at any time you notice worn parts of metal shavings anywhere contact your local garage door professional. They may be able to make adjustments that will save you money and frustration in the future.
Your Overhead Door Team – Of Rutland Vermont