Of all the doors or gates to your home, your garage door and opener probably experience the greatest amount of wear and tear during a year of ordinary use. Imagine how many times that door has opened in the last 365 days; how many round trips have you made to work, school or the local grocery store? How many times did you open and close the door just to get something from the garage, to access your storage or laundry facilities?
If your garage door has stopped working noiselessly and as smoothly as when you had it installed, it's probably long overdue for a tune up.
Start with a garage door inspection
The words "maintenance" and "repair" often represent opposite sides of home upkeep habits. Performing routine maintenance on garage doors can spare you the headache of repairing them. Put out the large fires first by doing a complete walk-around.
If it's become hard to lock the garage door, the locking bar has probably worked itself out of alignment. You can stabilize it again by loosening the guide brackets and lining them up again. Inspect the tension on the return spring, since it can be the cause of poor opening and locking.
Whether you've done the work yourself or had a contractor in to install a garage door opener, it's a good idea to inspect and secure the rails, brackets and roller tracks on the inside of the door.
Also check the tracks for plumb. If they're out of alignment, do an adjustment to the track mounting brackets. Next, check the rollers for damage. Steel or nylon, they can chip or tilt to one side. You may need to replace these right away. The lift cable is attached to a metal roller bracket at the lowest end. If the cable is frayed, call in a professional repair company.
Basic, sensible maintenance
Use lightweight oil to lube the pulleys, rollers, and door tracks. Try graphite powder as a lubricant on latches to prevent corrosion and clogging with dirt and grime. Contractors recommend white lithium grease to lubricate the opener chain or screw. Good old WD-40 is sufficient to prevent corrosion on the springs. Spray it on once a year.
It's important to replace any weather stripping or corroded weather seals on the bottom of the garage door. You can buy strips and fastener in a kit or apply new strips with galvanized nails.
A little effort on your part once or twice a year can extend the life of your door and opener. It's worth it!