If you’re like most homeowners, your garage door is the main entryway into your home. In fact, the average door opens and closes more than 1500 times a year and all that use can put some serious wear and tear on its components.

The best thing you can do is to take care of some preventative garage door maintenance every month or so. However, if you’re not sure where to start, it’s easy to feel a bit overwhelmed by the concept.

Taking care of your garage door is easier than you think. Here are a few key maintenance tips to help you get started on the right track.

1. Inspect Your Weather Stripping

Every modern garage door has a layer of weather stripping at the base to keep the elements out of the garage. When it’s in good condition, water, dirt, and debris won’t seep inside. When it’s damaged, all the gunk from outside your garage can make it indoors, increasing the amount of time you’ll have to spend cleaning the space.

Get in the habit of inspecting your weather stripping at least once a month. Look for tears in the rubber and watch for missing chunks that compromise the seal.

If you notice any damage, you can either hire an experienced professional to replace the weather stripping for you or tackle the job on your own. Keep in mind that it’s typically best to leave it to an expert. The last thing you want to deal with is improperly installed weather stripping creating an easy access point for dirt, water, insects, and pests.

2. Pay Attention to the Way It Sounds

No matter what type of garage door you have, it always makes noise. This is because the door itself is incredibly heavy and the motor has to work to raise and lower the door every time you leave your house.

That said, some noises are normal and others should signal that it’s time to get your door inspected.

Start paying attention to the way your garage door sounds every time you open and close it. If you hear any sounds that aren’t normal or start hearing grinding noises that you’ve never heard before, call your repair technician and schedule an inspection.

Those strange noises are a surefire sign that something is out of alignment with your door, the opener, or the tracks. Leaving even a single component out of alignment is the easiest way to cause serious damage to your door and, worse, shorten its lifespan.

3. Make Sure It Opens and Closes Evenly

Your garage door should always be properly balanced. When it is, both sides of the door move together. This allows the motor to open and close the door smoothly and keeps the rollers and springs on the right track.

Over time, it’s normal for the system to get unbalanced. This can happen with repeat use and slight wear and tear on the system’s components.

Pay attention to the way the door moves when you push the opener’s button. If it moves evenly, the door is in good condition. You can also test the balance by lifting the door manually. If it stays open partway on its own and you don’t have to hold it in place, it’s in good shape.

However, if you notice that one side hangs lower than the other or part of the door stays off the ground when it’s closed, don’t wait. Hire an experienced overhead garage door preventative maintenance expert to make the necessary adjustments. The sooner you do, the less strain your door’s motor will experience, and the longer it will last.

4. Clean the Door Tracks

It’s normal for leaves and dirt to get picked up by your door’s rollers. When this happens, the grime gets pressed into the tracks that support and guide your door along its path.

Though small amounts of grime won’t hurt your door, the buildup can keep it from running smoothly. Cleaning the tracks will get rid of the buildup so you can keep your door running well all year long.

Grab a ladder and a few clean microfiber cloths. Inspect each side of the track for grime and wipe away any buildup in the tracks. If you have stubborn patches of dirt, use a little warm water to dissolve them and dry the spot with a clean rag.

Do this at least once a month to stay on top of the buildup.

5. Lubricate the System Regularly

Your garage door has a lot of moving joints. Every time you open and close the door, those joints move. If you stay on top of your garage door maintenance schedule, this shouldn’t be a problem.

However, if those moving joints and components get neglected, you’ll end up needing to replace them prematurely.

Try to lubricate the moving parts at least once every few months or as soon as you hear the components straining under the weight of the door. Use a dedicated garage door lubricant only. These will help extend the life of your door’s system.

If you’re not sure what to use for your door, ask your garage door maintenance service for advice. They’ll be able to recommend a few products that will work for your needs.

6. Schedule Professional Tune-Ups

No matter how much preventative maintenance you take care of, your door will always need a formal inspection. Schedule professional tune-ups with your trusted technician at least once a year.

During those tune-ups, they’ll inspect your entire garage system to make sure each component is working well. If they notice any signs of wear and tear to the motor, springs, rollers, or hinges, they’ll recommend the proper repairs.

If everything is in good condition, they’ll go over what you need to do to keep it that way so your door will keep your home safe year-round. Follow their advice and you’ll be able to keep your door working well until the next tune-up.

7. Tighten Hardware as Needed

If you’re like most people, your garage door is your primary entrance to your home. You open and close it several times each day and that constant use can cause the hardware to come loose over time.

Start paying attention to the nuts, bolts, and screws in your garage. Check them once a month to make sure they’re tight and holding the door in place. If they’re loose, tighten them with the appropriate wrench or screwdriver.

Take care not to overtighten them as you can accidentally strip the screws. Once you do, you’ll need a professional to replace the damaged hardware.

8. Pay Attention to the Springs

The most common lift mechanism in most garage doors is a system of springs. These springs support the weight of the door and help decrease the strain the motor experiences every time the door moves.

The springs are under almost constant strain and it’s not uncommon for them to stretch or snap.

Start turning your attention to your door’s springs every week or so. If you notice them stretching or see one that’s broken or snapped, call your repair technician immediately. Operating a door with a damaged spring will increase the wear and tear on the motor itself.

The longer that goes on, the sooner you’ll have to replace the motor.

Your garage door maintenance technician will be able to replace the springs quickly. Keep in mind that this repair is something you should always leave to a professional. The springs are under high amounts of tension and, if you’re not careful, you could end up getting injured if you try to handle the repair on your own.

9. Test the Safety Mechanism Each Month

Modern garage doors have a safety mechanism that keeps them from closing all the way when something is in their path. Though they typically work reliably, accidents can happen.

Check the safety mechanism each month to make sure your door won’t close if something is in the way.

Place an item like a stuffed animal or large rock in the sensor’s path and try to close the door. Once the door reaches about two feet off the ground, the sensor should pick up on the item and cause the door to move back up.

If it doesn’t and the door closes all the way, call your repair technician immediately. It’s likely that the sensor is either dirty or got knocked out of alignment, but they’ll need to inspect the door to find the root cause. Once they do, they’ll be able to fix it quickly.

Follow These Garage Door Maintenance Tips Now

Keeping your garage door and its components in good condition doesn’t have to be difficult. Follow these simple garage door maintenance tips throughout the year and you’ll keep your door running like-new year-round.

Just remember that if you feel overwhelmed or confused by anything, don’t try to fix it on your own. Instead, reach out to your trusted repair service and let them take care of the damage.

If your door needs a little extra TLC, don’t wait. Contact us to schedule an appointment and let our team give your door the tune-up it deserves.