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Savvy Garage Door Maintenance

Garage door maintenance isn’t sexy but it can save you from hearing that screeching sound every time you hit the door opener.

Since on average we open and close our garage doors 6 times every day you can only imagine how much wear and tear occurs.

Read further if you want to eliminate these annoying sounds and ensure your garage door is safe to use.

Our garage door definitely was in need of an inspection. So this weekend I decided to do just that.

The first thing I did was to open the door while standing underneath it. This allowed me to listen and look for any signs of trouble.

The main sources for noise were the rollers, roller hinges, and chain. The rollers looked terrible.

Dirty Garage Door Rollers

After cleaning all the rollers with a rag I then sprayed them with Blaster garage door spray lubricant.

Blaster Garage Door Lubricant

There are two reasons to use a special garage door lubricant like this one:

  1. It will loosen up all moving parts
  2. It will prevent dirt and grime buildup because it’s silicone-based

Because it’s tack-free you can spray this product on the roller and not worry about it getting on the garage door track.

I sprayed it on both the left and right sides of the roller where the pin meets the wheel then wiped off any excess spray.

Lubricating Garage Door Rollers

The rollers look and move a lot better after this step.

Make sure not to spray any nylon roller wheels with lubricant and if you get any on the track remove it as this may cause the garage door to slip.

Clean Garage Door Rollers

When it comes time to work on the garage door opener unplug it from the outlet. Do this to eliminate any injury from someone else unknowingly opening the door while you’re working on it.

By the way, we have a fantastic tutorial on how to do a garage door opener installation.

Check all the roller hinges for loose bolts.

Tightening Garage Door Roller Hinges

Even if you don’t use the manual lock mechanism you’ll want to make sure it’s working properly.

Slide it back and forth to verify it won’t accidentally engage and lock you out of your house.

Take a look at lock mechanism mounting bolts for looseness as well.

Garage Door Manual Locking Mechanism

Check the track brackets for tightness. They are fastened to the wall inside the garage door.

Look for any irregularities on the track like dings or bumps.

Pound these out with a rubber mallet or just replace that particular section.

If the tracks are dirty use brake cleaner to remove any buildup.

Garage Door Track Mounting Brackets

Use a level to inspect the garage door tracks on the left & right sides as well as the front & back.

The vertical section of the garage door tracks should be exactly plumb.

If they are not plumb unscrew the track support bracket bolts just enough to move the track to the right or left.

If you need to move the track out from the garage door frame to make it plumb then use a wood shim behind the track bracket before tightening its bolts.

Plumb Garage Door Track

Test the garage door reversing sensors to see if they work.

Press your garage door opener and then place your hand in front of one of the sensors.

The garage door should reverse and move back to the open position.

If it doesn’t you will need to check the wire connections, sensor alignment and clean the sensor lenses.

Sometimes dirt or spider webs cause the garage door sensors to malfunction.

Garage Door Reversing Sensor

Inspect the garage door support arm that connects the garage door opener to the door itself.

Specifically, make sure the cotter pins that hold the arm to the door and opener are in good shape.

Garage Door Support Arm

Carefully look at the garage door traveler that sits on the rail.

The chain to the garage door opener is connected to the traveler.

The chain tension can be adjusted by tightening the nuts that connect it to the traveler.

Tension will be different for each door opener so check your owner’s manual.

Garage Door Traveler & Chain

You can adjust the travel of the garage door down or up by turning the limit screws on the garage door opener.

Run the garage door through a cycle and adjust the limit screws as necessary to get the door to close or open properly. This picture is pretty self explanatory.

Garage Door Opener Adjustments

Check all the brackets holding the garage door opener to the joists.

Any loose bolts need to be tightened if the brackets are moving when the garage door is operating.

Do the same inspection for the brackets holding the track to the joists.

In this example, the drywall is covering the bracket attachment to the joist.

I’d have to knock out the ceiling to reach the bolts but it would be worth it to fix an unsafe garage door.

Garage Door Opener Bracket Inspection

Garage Door Track Bracket Inspection

The extension springs and pulleys should be inspected for loose fittings. Springs hold so much tension that they’re perhaps the most dangerous component of the door.

Make sure there’s a steel safety cable that runs inside the spring. This cable should be securely fastened to a bracket that holds the track to the joist or the the track itself.

If the spring breaks the cable will prevent it from hurting someone or something in the garage. Replace any frayed cables and garage door extension springs.

Garage Door Spring Safety Cable

If one of your garage door springs needs to be replaced you should install two new ones instead of just one.

This will maintain the garage door’s balance and keep it working more efficiently.

As you can see from the picture below my springs have uneven spaces between the coils, indicating they’re worn out. I’m saving this project for another blog post.

Worn Garage Door Extension Springs

Take a look at the garage door weatherstrip that rests between the door and the garage floor when the door is in the closed position.

This helps prevent drafts and rodents from entering your home. As much as I love my children they always forget to close the basement door that’s in the garage.

Since I’m the designated mouse catcher I make sure this seal and the surrounding weather stripping on the garage door frame is in good shape.

The following picture is me pointing at the garage door weatherstrip on the bottom of the door.

Garage Door Weather Strip

Here’s a picture of weather stripping around the garage door frame. If you don’t have any make sure to get some at your local hardware store.

It can save you money on your heating and cooling bills. We also have a great weather stripping tutorial for exterior doors.

Garage Door Frame Weather Stripping

The final step is to lubricate all moving parts of the garage door opener.

I sprayed the chain, pulleys in the garage door opener, and the rail.

Any excess lubricant should be wiped off with a rag.

Lubricating Garage Door Chain and Rail

This pulley at the end of the rail (closest to the garage door) should be lubricated, too.

Sorry for the spider webs, we don’t dust the garage that frequently.

Garage Door Rail Pulley

What’s Next

Garage door maintenance is important because of the next picture.

Keep Your Kids Safe

Nobody would ever want their kids or grandchildren to get hurt because of a faulty garage door.

If not for yourself do it for your loved ones-conduct semiannual maintenance checks. I realize we’re all busy but 30 minutes is all it takes.

Definitely replace garage door extension springs if they’re irregular or distended.

If you’re doing a bathroom remodel and need help, join one of our online courses – they’ll make your bathroom renovation much easier!

Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to help.

Thanks as always for reading, watching, and being part of our awesome community.



Garage Door Maintenance

  1. Merrie says:

    Don’t put this off! Hubs and I kept saying we needed to run a check every time our door screeched but never got around to it and one day the spring snapped. Not a simple replacement; the door bowed and buckled, requiring an entire new garage door (actually two, as we have two separate doors.) Turned out the insulation we’d put on the door added just enough weight to place too much tension on that single spring, which we would have noticed had we done a good look over. We love the new insulated doors but it was an expensive lesson in not procrastinating on maintenance!

    1. Jeff says:

      Thanks Merrie for your story-replacing one garage door is expensive and having to buy two isn’t any fun! Your comments will hopefully encourage us all to diligently check our garage doors for wear and tear.

  2. Paul Ogle says:

    Thanks for the checklist.. Well done.

    1. Jeff says:

      Thanks Paul for your kind words. Let me know if anything needs to be added to the list. I love getting great tips from others.

  3. Jack Reynolds says:

    Don’t forget that you must keep the drive chain aligned. Usually 1/2 inch above the bottom of the drive track. This keeps uneccesary strain off of the garage door motor and prevents the loud screeching of the motor.

    1. Jeff says:

      Thanks Jack for the nice tip. I will add it to my own checklist πŸ™‚

  4. bob Thomspon says:

    Having experience with mechanical engineering and garage doors, I can greatly endorse all these tips except one. I would recommend not making the vertical tracks plumb with the wall because they all built to be tilted out exactly 2 1/2 inches at the top for the door to fit nicely against the frame. You will notice the hinges progress in how much they push the rollers out, the bottom roller being flush with the door and the top roller being two inches out from the door. If the track is made plumb with the wall, the door wont seal correctly. It would tilt in towards the bottom. Just a thought. πŸ™‚

    1. Jeff says:

      Thanks Bob for your great tip. I really appreciate any advice that can make garage door maintenance less of a mystery πŸ™‚

  5. Amanda Z says:

    So glad I found this today! We have been having an issue with our garage door not wanting to stay closed. It will hit the bottom and then automatically start opening again. I’ll definitely be using your guide to go through and see if I can spot the problem.

    1. Jeff says:

      Thank you so much Amanda for your kind words. Please let me know how you solve the problem, I’d love to know in case someone else runs into the same thing πŸ˜‰

  6. Banny says:

    garage door maintenance was such a technical thing for me that only can engineers do this. But now after reading your post i can say i will try and surely maintain my garage door by myself..

  7. Thanks for these great tips. I really hate that screeching sound everytime I open my garage door. So I will definitely spray lubricant this weekend.

    1. Jeff says:

      You’re so welcome Jerry. I feel the same way about my garage doors. Let me know if you have any more questions after lubricating:)

  8. Check-ups on the garage door and all its mechanisms should be done regularly. Repairing anything on the garage door should never be put off. There’s no telling the kind of damage that can be done by faulty garage doors. Well-oiled hinges are always best, and sturdy cables. Cables are susceptible to breakage, so it’s good to replace them every few years or so to keep them fresh and strong.

    1. Jeff says:

      Thanks Libbie for the great tips

  9. Jeff,
    I’m really glad to have found this post on garage door maintenance. After we moved into our current house last year, I checked for loose bolts, but definitely see now that I’ve got some other maintenance to perform! Thanks for the tips, I’m a fan of the blog, consider me a regular from here on out!

    1. Thanks Matt, I really appreciate your support. By the way, I’m a big fan of you, too.

      I’m tapped into your RSS feed and really enjoy reading about all your projects. The travertine tile installation in your kitchen was especially good.

      It shows homeowners that with a little elbow grease they can transform a kitchen into a unique space that radiates their own style.

  10. Thanks for sharing tips. Find very useful.

  11. bill says:

    Great info on garage doors EXCEPT how often do you need to lubricate roll up garage doors???

    1. Hey Bill, probably once a year is good just to keep the door running smoothly.



  12. Robert Stringer says:

    Jeff, just read your advice regarding Garage Door Maintenance. All great ideas and will begin the practice tonight. I was reading this because I’m looking for a reason and solution to stop or prevent my garage door from buckling. The top panel seems to have developed a bow at the center hinge between the top & second panel. I’m confused as to why this would start now after so many years of use. I will begin by cleaning all the parts & lubricating them…..but I would really appreciate your feedback on my problem….Please.
    The door is 14 ft wide and 5 panels high. My garage is almost two storeys high, so they used angle struts. Also, the door seems to be tracking off center more roller & shaft exposed on top left & bottom right. Less exposed on Top right and bottom left.
    Last but not least, I have been in the house 15 yrs and have had to replace the shaft spring three times. I don’t think this is right!

    1. Hi Robert,

      Boy I wish I could help you but your problems is over my head as well. Especially since your door is almost two stories tall.

      One thing I will say is that if your door has a torsion spring make sure to consult a professional garage door installer. Torsion springs are under tremendous pressure and I’d hate to see you get harmed.

      Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful on this one πŸ™

    2. Rick P says:

      Robert, it’s metal fatigue. Just like when you bend a piece of metal over and over again in your hands, eventually it will break. Your top panel should have a strut across the top. I personally like to install struts on all panels whether the wind load requirements require it or not, just because it adds strength to the door. Depending on how much you use your door, 5-7 years seems to be about the life of a torsion spring with regular use. Your track sounds like it needs a little adjustment to get the door to track straight.

  13. shon morkel says:

    Thanks for sharing tips. Find very useful.

  14. tad says:

    Nice of you to mention that I should get a bottom weatherstrip at hardware store. Be even nicer if you tell how to install it.

    1. I hear ya Tad. Wish I had a tutorial on this. Hopefully that’ll be down the road.

  15. Diego G says:

    Does any knows what is the reason for the Slide Lock has a box? Couldn’t the system be just simpler (I know there is a spring inside of it? Or there is an important reason for it.

  16. Cathy Westcott says:

    I have one place in between two panels that separate about 1/2 in when opening and closing, I pound it back in place because once i could not get the door to close, it goes back into place but i know there has to be an adjustment that will fix it without having to call a repair guy, can you give me any suggestions, i don’t want it to get worse, and i do not have an automatic opener for it, all manual,,, Thanks Cathy

  17. Brian says:

    Hi, great tips. I have a problem (I am new to the garage door) but the portion where the Traveller is connected to the garage door too that bring’s it up (with two screw bolts) that has unscrewed and now its not screwing back its way to loose and now my garage door won’t pull up since that traveller arm is dislocated from the garage door. can you please help me on this .. can i put some sort of stud in the hold so the screw bolt get’s tighten ?

  18. Ed says:

    Jeff you are a brave man, riding a kids bike under that garage door. Extra points for wearing a helmet!! I will use your good advice and do some annual maintenance on our garage door. Been looking online for tips…found several places…but none with your videos.

  19. Maria says:

    Such a nice website! Although I have a question: what type of door roller does the garage door have? If you knew then please tell me? I’ll be so appreciate! πŸ™‚

  20. Sean Renard says:

    Nice blog. This is great collection of helpful tips for garage door maintenance and I think everyone can easily use these tips in order to maintain his/her garage door without the need of any professional. I think everyone should read this blog once and apply these tips by itself. Thanks for sharing this valuable content with us.

  21. Jim Sanders says:

    Keeping your garage door in shape will not only make sure it’s working well, it’ll more than likely help you avoid expensive repairs in the future. These are all pretty simple and quick things to do and just keeping an eye out will make your door last a very long time. Thanks for the article!

  22. I can certainly sympathize with those who are woken up by a squeaky garage door early in the morning, as you alluded to. The garage door at my parents’ house has squeaked loudly for years, and I just came to accept it as normal. After reading this I think I’ll have to visit them and see if I can follow your advice to get it to stop.

  23. My garage door has been squeaking for some time. You’re right, it’s hard to leave the house early in the morning with the garage making so much noise! I’m not sure what’s causing the problem, though. I’ll be sure by standing under it while it’s opening, like you did, to see if I can spot the problem.

  24. Albie Cardew says:

    The tip about lubricating the garage door rollers with spray is a very clever way to maintain your door. You cautioned, however, about using it on nylon rolls, which I have. Do you have any other suggestions for how to lubricate my door to prevent it from sticking?

  25. Thanks for the tips. The garage door at my house has always been a bit temperamental, and it could be because I’ve never done any of these things to maintain it. I definitely need to do some of these things to get my garage working better. I will be especially sure to try cleaning the rollers and using the spray lubricant.

  26. David says:

    Hey Jeff, great article as always. You are right, it’s really important to do regular maintanance of your garage door especially when you have children so you prevent bad accidents. A lot of people hurt themselves though when they attempt to repair or maintain their garage door simply because they don’t have the necessary experience. But thanks to your easy to follow step by step guide that should make the whole thing a lot easier – and safe. Keep up the good work!

  27. Your garage door repair maintenance tips are very useful with images. I found so many interesting tips in your blog, especially its discussion about repair and maintenance.

  28. These are some great tips for DIY garage door maintenance! My garage door has been screeching really loudly when I open it and it’s annoying to both my family and the neighbors. I’m glad to know I can probably fix that problem myself! I’ll try the tip about the garage door lubricant to see if that works!

  29. Mike says:

    Awesome site for some of the customers that we come across that end up wanting to DIY after our quotes.

  30. Justin Knox says:

    Thank you for the help. Recently the rollers on my garage door have been running unevenly. I didn’t realize that there is lubricant especially for garage doors. How many times do you need to apply the lubricant to see a good result?

  31. Debbie says:

    My husband gets VERY upset when I use the overhead door for entry from the front instead of the front door. I use it after being outside and do not want to enter the front. He claims that using the door cuts the door life in half to thirds. We use the door 2-3 times a day – normal use for working people, we are retired. He just installed the opener in November – am I causing undue stress on a door and cutting it’s life by 1/2-1/3?

  32. Pancho Cham says:

    I love do it yourself projects, and I’m glad someone else has the same passion. There is nothing pleasant about a screechy garage door, so I’m happy you show how to fix that! Such a great help and inspiration! Thanks for the great pictures and advice!

  33. Sam Wilkins says:

    Great tip about installing two new garage door springs if you need to replace one of them. I didn’t know that only replacing one can throw the door off balance and cause it to run less efficiently. Now that I know this, I will be sure to remember that in case I ever need to replace a spring.

  34. The problem is that many people purchase their homes and the garage doesn’t even come to mind when it comes to home maintenance. They just expect it to always work or they completely forget about it and just use it as storage. Even if you never use the door, when you want to sell your house, you need it to function properly and that’s when repair costs can come up. Always maintain!

  35. Elizabeth Nall says:

    Thanks for sharing tips,it’s good ,great information this content:welldone!

  36. Lou Luckeroth says:

    question…when i open my garage door the top of a panel hits the door frame…..suggestions

  37. Lou Luckeroth says:


  38. Manny says:

    Great advice, thanks!
    I do have a question. My garage won’t close when it’s cold, such as in the brisk mornings or late evenings. I have cleaned the sensors. Other than that it works fine. Why is that?

  39. Roy Clark says:

    My door was stopping and rough and so hard to move manually – I am going to give this a try.
    Thanks for sharing…

  40. Louis says:

    Good ol PB Blaster!!!! I can’t believe I never used it before I started working as a maint tech at our local state park. Fell in love with it immediately, and stopped on my way home to get two cans!! Sure WD 40 still has a h hi one in my heart, but PB B has so many other uses. Works great on stubborn bolts and nuts!

    Love the tips on garage doors too. Mine are just now starting that screeching and clanging. Time to put your list to task! Thanks!

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