Maintaining your garage door is an essential aspect of homeownership, especially in areas like St. Louis, where weather conditions can be unpredictable. Yet, upkeeping a garage often goes overlooked by many homeowners. A well-kept garage door not only enhances the curb appeal of your home but also ensures its smooth operation and prolongs its lifespan. Thankfully, some simple yet effective practices can add years to your garage door. From regular cleaning and lubrication to professional inspections, there are numerous ways to keep your garage door in optimal shape. We implemented some of these preventative measures during a recent transformation of a Chesterfield home. Let’s look at some practical tips to help you maintain your garage door for longevity!

The Anatomy of a Garage Door

Understanding the anatomy of your garage door is the first step toward effective maintenance. After all, if you’re going to maintain a garage door, you’re going to need to know what exactly it is that you’re maintaining!  

Here are the key components that make up a standard garage door:

  • Springs: Garage doors use either torsion springs, located above the door, or extension springs, found on either side. These springs counterbalance the weight of the door, making it easy to open and close.
  • Cables: Attached to the bottom corners of the door, these sturdy wires lift the door by winding and unwinding around a drum at the top of the door as it opens and closes.
  • Rollers: These small wheels run inside the track, allowing the door to move smoothly up and down.
  • Tracks: The metal tracks on either side of the door guide the rollers as the door moves.
  • Hinges: Hinges hold the sections of the door together and allow them to bend as the door moves along the track.
  • Weatherstripping: This is the seal at the bottom of the door that protects the garage from external elements like rain and wind.

Knowing these components and their functions can help you identify potential issues early so that you can remedy them before they become bigger problems. With regular maintenance, a new garage can last between 15 to 30 years. However, life expectancy drops drastically without proper care, often lasting around 10 years or less. 

How to Properly Maintain a Garage Door

A functional garage door is crucial for the safety of your family and valuables, as well as the convenience of smooth day-to-day operations. However, this workhorse doesn’t operate efficiently on its own. Regular maintenance is key to ensuring its longevity and reliable performance. Here are some handy tips to keep your garage door working optimally in St. Louis all year round.

Regular Cleaning and Inspection

Keeping your garage door in top shape requires regular cleaning and inspection. Ideally, you should perform these functions every three to six months. This frequency allows you to catch any potential issues early before they become significant problems. 

During these inspections, pay close attention to signs of wear and tear, such as rust on the springs, fraying cables, or damage to the rollers and tracks. Also, listen for any unusual noises when the door is in operation, as this could indicate a problem. When it comes to cleaning, each part of the garage door has its specific needs. For the door itself, a simple solution of mild detergent and water usually suffices. Use a soft sponge or cloth to avoid scratching the surface. 

For the metal parts like springs, rollers, and tracks, it’s best to wipe them clean with a dry cloth to remove dust and debris. For the weatherstripping at the bottom of the door, check for any cracks or brittleness. Clean it with a vinyl cleaner. Remember, regular maintenance not only extends the lifespan of your garage door but also enhances its performance and safety!

Keep it Well Lubricated

Lubrication of the moving parts of your garage door is crucial for optimal performance and can contribute to its longevity. During your regular inspections, be sure to lubricate springs, rollers, tracks, and cables.  By locating these parts, it can significantly reduce friction. This regular maintenance can prohibit wear and tear on the door, ensuring smooth operation all the time. It also helps to prevent rust, extending the lifespan of these components and reducing the likelihood of inconvenient breakdowns or costly repairs.

Use a product specifically designed for this purpose, such as a silicone or lithium-based garage door lubricant. Avoid using heavy oils or grease as they can attract dust and grime, leading to further complications. Only lubricate the sides where the rollers move and avoid the middle where the roller doesn’t touch. After applying, open and close the door a few times to distribute the lubricant evenly. 

Check Springs and Cables for Replacement

Garage door springs and cables are integral components that ensure the smooth operation of your garage door. With constant use, these pivotal parts may wear out and require replacement.

Signs that spring cables need to be replaced on your garage door include:

  • The door struggles to open or close
  • The door stops working
  • It makes unusual noises while operating
  • There are visibly frayed cables and/or rusted springs

Handling garage door springs and cables should be approached with caution due to the high tension under which they operate. Always ensure you’re wearing suitable protective gear, such as gloves and safety glasses, to prevent injuries.  If you encounter any issues during the inspection or if the springs or cables appear damaged or worn out, it’s advisable to call a professional for assistance. Replacing these parts can be complex and risky without the proper tools and experience. 

Professional help ensures the job is done safely and correctly, which can save you from potential accidents or further complications down the line. Consider contacting the tried and true Mosby blue for all of your garage maintenance needs. 

Adjust Sensitivity and Force Settings

One key aspect of garage maintenance is adjusting the sensitivity and force settings. These settings are designed to ensure your garage door operates smoothly and safely. 

The sensitivity settings refer to the amount of resistance the door should sense before it reverses direction, while the force settings determine how hard the door works to open or close. If these settings are not adjusted properly, it can lead to unnecessary strain on the door’s mechanisms, causing premature wear and tear.

To adjust the sensitivity settings, you’ll typically find a knob or dial on the garage door opener marked “sensitivity.” This allows you to set the level of resistance that triggers the door to reverse. Start by setting this to a mid-range level, then test the door by opening and closing it. If the door struggles to close or reverses too easily, gradually adjust the sensitivity until it operates correctly.

For the force settings, it’s a similar process. You’ll find a separate knob or dial on the opener marked “force.” Begin with a mid-range setting and adjust as necessary based on the door’s performance. If the door seems to be working too hard to open or close, reduce the force setting. Conversely, if the door isn’t fully opening or closing, increase the force setting.

Weatherproof It

Weather seals play a crucial role in maintaining the longevity of garage doors, especially in St. Louis. They serve multiple functions, such as keeping critters, insects, moisture, and even cold air out. More importantly, they protect the overall stability of your door and the surrounding areas while preventing air from entering or escaping your garage.

Ideally, you should check your seal every 6–12 months for signs of damage or wear. Some signs that your garage door weather seal needs replacing include visible cracks or gaps, difficulty in opening or closing the door, and an increase in energy costs due to air leakage.

When replacing weather seals, it’s important to choose high-quality materials that can withstand extreme temperatures and weather changes. This will ensure the longevity of your garage door and provide you with the most out of your investment.

Regular Professional Servicing for Garages in St. Louis

Regular professional garage servicing in St. Louis offers numerous benefits. One of the most significant advantages is the time you save. In our fast-paced lives, delegating tasks like cleaning to professionals can free up hours for more important or enjoyable activities. Moreover, regular professional servicing contributes to a healthier environment. Dust, allergens, and germs tend to accumulate over time. Professionals use specific techniques and products to eliminate these, improving the overall air quality in your home or office.

Financially, it may seem like an added expense, but in the long run, you save money. Professionals can spot and address issues that could potentially turn into costly repairs if left unchecked. Extend the longevity of your garage or install a new garage that will stand the test of time. Contact Mosby today!