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A Guide to Maintaining Your Garage Door

The modern garage door is almost entirely automatic. Without hands-on operation, garage door owners may not realize that their garage doors are slowly breaking down and need to be maintained. Help your garage door operate problem-free by conducting basic maintenance on a regular schedule. You can maintain your garage door at home using household tools.

Clean At Least Once a Year

Cleaning your garage door is a maintenance step that keeps your moving door parts free of obstructions. The process differs slightly depending on what material makes up your garage door.

Steel Doors

Clean the exterior of your door using a detergent and water solution. Soak up the solution with a soft sponge that has a large surface area. Wipe down dust, dirt, and oil. Rinse soapy residue off the surface with a garden hose, preferably one with a low-pressure spray attachment.

Don’t forget to reach into the edges and corners. Dirt that collects in the pockets between the door and your home cause friction when the door opens and closes. Extra friction puts additional pressure on the springs and mechanics of your garage door opener.

Steel doors in coastal areas affected by salt should should receive a thorough cleaning at least 2 or 3 times a year. These extra cleanings remove salt that causes surface erosion and promotes oxidation on steel. Preventing rust before it happens preserves the appearance of your door as well as its ability to open and close.

Wood Doors

Exposed wood is absorbent. Make sure your wooden garage door has a fresh, unbroken coat of paint and sealant. These extra layers will prevent your cleaning regimen from weakening the wood.

If you need to renew the paint on your garage door, sand the old paint and finish off the door before lightly cleaning. Then apply at least one coat each of primer and paint. Use a sealant to prevent the wood from retaining moisture, enabling regular cleaning of your garage door.


Clean the tracks, the pathway for your rollers that raise your door. Using an automotive cleaner (brake cleaner works best) and a rag, pull out any excess dirt or dust to keep your door from slipping or becoming unbalanced.

Lubricate Moving Parts

You’ll need to lubricate any garage door parts that facilitate or rely on movement as part of your maintenance plan. This includes:

  • Rollers
  • Springs
  • Hinges
  • Bearings

Clean these parts first. Removing old lubrication is key to preventing serious buildup that causes moving parts to strain. In general, you can use a non-silicone based lubricant to maintain ease of movement.


Your rollers will either be made of metal or nylon. Lubricate metal rollers with your normal lubricant. Keep lubricant away from nylon rollers. Lubricated nylon will slip across metal tracks without rolling, disabling your garage door’s functions.


Torsion springs are under high tension, so be careful when handling them. Without touching torsion springs, spray lubricant directly onto the top of the spring. Extension springs don’t hold the same tension as torsion springs, but be careful.


You’ll find the hinges between the slats of your door. They roll inward when your door moves. Make sure the roll easily by spraying the entire hinge with lubricant.


Bearings allow the larger parts of your garage door to move slowly while handling the extra weight. Lubricated bearings ensure your door doesn’t meet with any hangups.

Perform a Safety Check

The safety check allows you to confirm that your rollers, springs, and track are operating as they should. Perform safety checks as part of your regular garage door maintenance every few months. Keep children and pets away from dangerous areas while maintaining your door. Inspect visually:

  • Springs
  • Rollers
  • HInges
  • Brackets
  • Cables

If you find any parts are worn or frayed, call for repair or replacements. Call a garage door technician for inspection of:

  • Springs
  • Bearings
  • Track

These items are usually marked with red paint. The paint signifies a high-risk part that should be inspected, repaired, and replaced only by a qualified, experienced garage door maintenance technician.

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