How to Maintain a Garage Door: A Step-by-Step Guide

Garage doors get a lot of action, opening and closing around 3 to 5 times per day. For that reason, you need to provide proper care. Otherwise, you might end up with a squeaky door that requires costly repairs.

Luckily, you can dodge all that hassle with some good old maintenance tricks. In this article, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of how to maintain a garage door. So, stick around for all the details!

How to Maintain a Garage Door

To maintain a garage door, you need to inspect it twice a year and perform routine maintenance. This typically includes cleaning, lubricating, and painting the door. The good news is that the process is straightforward.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help keep your garage door working flawlessly:

Step 1: Gather the Necessary Tools

Before jumping right into action, make sure to gather the necessary tools. This ensures a streamlined process, saving you time and effort. Here’s what you need on hand to maintain garage doors:

  • Vacuum
  • Clean cloths
  • Wood scrap
  • Screwdrivers
  • wrenches
  • Work  gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Spray lubricant

Step 2: Test the Garage Door

You need to conduct a safety check before beginning garage door routine maintenance. After all, the last thing you want is troublesome injuries, like broken bones or concussions, due to garage door accidents.

Generally, modern garage doors are equipped with an automatic reverse system. As the name suggests, these devices force the door to reverse once it meets an obstruction.

To test if the mechanism is working, here’s what to do:

  1. Open the garage door.
  2. Place a 2×4 piece of wood scrap on the ground.
  3. Position the block at the center, with the highest part facing upward.
  4. Close the garage door. It should re-open once it contacts the wood scrap.
  5. Adjust the downforce control limit if the door doesn’t reverse.
  6. Follow the directions in your manual and re-test the safety mechanism until it works.

Step 3: Clean Out the Tracks

To ensure your garage door slides up and down smoothly, you need to regularly clean the tracks.

For those wondering, the tracks are the two vertical lanes on each side. They allow the garage rollers to glide to open and close the door.

Over time, dust, dirt, debris, and other contaminating elements can accumulate on these components. Not only does that damage the track’s aesthetics, but these build-ups can cause rust.

That’s because dust contains water-soluble salts, which facilitate corrosion. As a result, your garage door malfunctions.

The good news is that cleaning the rails at least once or twice a year can help you prevent this issue. And the process is simple too.

Before jumping into action, make sure to wear protective equipment. Once you’re done, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Cut the power.
  2. Vacuum out dust and dirt using the hose extension.
  3. Using a clean, damp cloth, wipe down the inside of the tracks.
  4. For stubborn grime, use an automotive brake cleaner.
  5. Let the solution sit as instructed, and wipe it with a lint-free cloth.

Step 4: Tighten Loose Hardware

Like the rails, wear and tear can take a toll on the bolts and nuts. That’s especially true if you use the garage door multiple times throughout the day.

This constant vibration from opening and closing can cause the hardware to loosen up a bit.

Inspect the door to see if there’s a squeaky noise or unusual movement. If that’s the case, all you need to do is tighten the hardware, and you’re done!

Use a wrench and a screwdriver to secure the nuts and bolts. Make sure to check all the hinges and roller brackets. However, avoid overtightening, as that can damage the components.

Additionally, steer clear of the red bolts and those on the torsion spring. These elements are under high tension and require a specialist. Fixing them yourself can damage your door. Not to mention, you risk getting injured.

Step 5: Lubricate the Door System

Lubrication is probably the most important step when it comes to maintaining a garage door.

That’s because sliding objects can cause friction. This force slows down the door movement. Not only that, but it can easily wear the tracks, among other components.

That’s when lubricants come to the rescue. These chemicals form a slippery layer between surfaces, preventing them from rubbing against each other. As a result, they reduce friction and improve the door’s movement.

To lubricate garage doors, follow these steps:

  1. Disconnect the garage power source.
  2. Open your garage door manually.
  3. Using lithium grease or garage door lubricant, spray the hinges.
  4. Lubricate the small ball bearing inside the rollers and wipe out any excess. Skip this step if you have nylon rollers.
  5. Spray the outside of the springs, bearing plates, locks, and armbars.

Step 6: Consider Painting the Garage Door

Now that your door is working flawlessly, all you need to do is give it a makeover. Not only does new paint enhance your home’s aesthetic, but it can also protect against rust.

Generally, you want to cover up oxidized, chipped spots. However, applying a new paint layer can help extend the door’s lifespan. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Check the manufacturer’s label and consider the weather conditions to purchase the best paint and primer.
  2. Scrape and sand the door.
  3. Wash the garage door with soapy water and rinse.
  4. Dry the surface with a clean rag.
  5. Tape off the hardware.
  6. Prime the panels using a paintbrush and wipe out any excess.
  7. Apply two paint layers, allowing the door to dry between coats.


Q. Can you use WD-40 on garage doors?

No, you shouldn’t use WD-40 or petroleum-based lubricants on garage doors. These products contain oils, which can attract dirt and water. As a result, they facilitate corrosion, causing the working mechanisms to break.

Q. How often should you schedule professional maintenance?

Generally, you should have a professional check your garage door once a year. While you can do some routine maintenance, many issues, like repairs, require an expert. This complete inspection will also help you find undiscovered problems early on.

Wrapping Up

Figuring out how to maintain a garage door is crucial to ensuring both safety and functionality.

Cleaning out the tracks, tightening loose hardware, and lubricating the components are key steps to keeping your garage door in tip-top shape. Adding a fresh coat of paint not only makes for a stylish finish but also helps protect against rust.

Combining these steps with professional maintenance ensures you extend the lifespan of your door, all while enhancing your home’s curb appeal!