Overhead Garage Door Maintenance: Part 2


In Overhead Garage Door Maintenance: Part 1,  I talked about the real workhorse of your garage door, the spring or springs.  A common cause of garage door spring failure is rust.   A buildup of rust increases coil friction on the moving spring. Combine that with the corrosive damage of the rust itself, and you have everything you need for early torsion spring or extension spring failure. A little quick and easy preventive maintenance on your part can keep rust at bay and increase the life of your garage door springs. Every three months or so, spray on some silicone based lubricant, or add a few drops light machine oil (10, 20 or 30 weight),  or better yet some 3 in 1 oil. This keeps the spring lubricated and prevents harmful rust buildup.

You may be thinking why not WD-40? WD-40 is essentially kerosene and a carrier/spray. Nice for cleaning metal, loosening things up, etc., like a penetrating oil, but NO long-term lubricant properties.  The “WD” in WD40 stands for “Water Dispersant”, which is what WD-40 primarily is, not a lubricant.

Did you know that your garage door springs will let you know when they’ve about reached the breaking point? It sounds crazy but it’s true – if you know what to look for. This is a great preventive maintenance tip to add to your spring cleaning to-do list.

To test the balance of your garage door, with the garage door closed pull the red-handled emergency release cord(its a good practice to check this once a year and make sure other family members know how it operates). This disconnects the door from the opener, allowing you to open your door by hand. While raising and lowering the door a few times, listen carefully for any squeaking noises. This is the sound of hinges that need to be lubricated. Your garage door hinges will generally need to be lubricated once a year.

The next step is to lower your door all the way down, then raise it to about two feet off the ground and let go. Good springs will prevent gravity from pulling down the weight of the door. Did your door stay in place with little downward slide? If yes, your springs are still working fine. But if the door feels very heavy and sags, your springs are showing their age and starting to wear. Contact your garage door contractor for a thorough inspection. Remember these springs are dangerous and repairs are best left to the professionals.

A little lubricant will do wonders in keeping the springs operating smoothly!

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
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