new garage door parts corner house imagenew garage door parts logo
left corner imageright corner image
Garage Door Parts Home Bearings Bearing Plates Bottom Brackets Bottom Seals Brush Seals Cable Drums Cables Center Support Chain Hoists Door Butler Garage Door Tune Up Emergency Release Exhaust Ports Fasteners Hinges Door Insulation Keyless Entry Lift Handles Lock Handles Lubricant Operator Brackets Operator Parts Parking Wedges Pest Control Pulleys / Sheaves Radio Controls Rollers Rubber Astragal Safety Reverse Shafts Sliding Hardware Solenoid Lock Springs Spring Fittings Stop Moulding Top Roller Carriers Tracks Truck/Trailer Doors Vee Belts Contact Us Shipping Return Policy Glossary Safety Site Map Add URL
bottom left corner imagebottom right corner image
left corner imagebottom right corner image
by Sam Satterwhite

Perhaps no other part of your home experiences as much wear and tear as your overhead garage door. The average garage door will go up and down more than a thousand times a year. When kept in good working order, it provides convenience and security. But a neglected door can not only become as noisy as a locomotive but also pose a significant safety risk to your family, especially your kids. In this article, we'll show the steps involved in the annual inspection and maintenance of your automatic overhead door for reliable, quiet operation and safety. Many of these tips also apply to overhead garage doors that don't have an automatic opener.

The simple maintenance steps shown in the following photos require no special skills and take less than 10 minutes each to perform. Any materials you may need are available at home centers and garage door dealers.

The vast majority of garage doors have either torsion springs, which mount on the header above the door (opening photo), or extension springs, which float above the upper roller track. Except for the installation of containment cables shown in Photos 10 and 11, all the steps featured in the following photos apply to both types

Tighten all nuts and bolts. Because your door moves, the hardware can loosen. Inspect and tighten all roller brackets and the bolts that hold the rails to the support brackets.

Inspect the rollers for wear and tear. Nylon rollers tend to crack or chip when they deteriorate, so defects should be easy to spot. On steel rollers, the bearings wear and the wheel begins to tilt like the one shown. Buy replacement rollers at a hardware store and install them by removing and reinstalling the roller bracket. Caution: Do not remove the bottom roller bracket. The cable attached to it is under extreme tension.

Inspect the lift cable for wear. Look for broken strands. Damage is most likely to occur where the cable attaches to the bottom roller bracket, where it's most exposed to moisture. Clear away the gunk from this area with an old toothbrush so you can check the condition of the cable. Since this cable is under high tension, don't try to replace it yourself. Call a garage door professional to replace it.

To be safe while working on the door, take the following precautions:

1. Unplug the automatic door opener so it can't be activated.

2. If the door is open while you're working, clamp a locking pliers onto the roller track below a roller to keep it from dropping.

3. Never remove a lift cable while a door spring is under tension. If released, it'll cut like a knife.

4. Never attempt to adjust or release the tension on an overhead torsion spring. This is a job for garage door professionals only.

Lubricate the chain or the screw on your opener annually with white lithium grease. Spray-on versions are available at most home centers. Lubrication will make the opener's operation smoother, quieter and extend the life of both chain and opener.

Coat the overhead torsion springs or the extension springs mounted above roller tracks with a lubricant/cleaner like WD-40. Don't wipe off the excess. All springs will eventually break because of metal fatigue and/or corrosion, but this annual maintenance will prevent corrosion. Note: Replacing springs is a job for a professional. If one spring breaks, both should be replaced.

Replace the weather seal on the bottom of your door if it's brittle and worn. On wood doors, remove the old seal with a flat pry bar. Install the new seal with the wide angle of the flange to the inside of the door. Use 1-in. galvanized roofing nails to attach one end of the seal, then pull it across the door and nail the other end. Next place a few nails in the center. This technique will help you keep the seal aligned as you go back and place nails every 3 to 4 in.

The hollow rubber weather seal on the bottom of steel doors is called a U-shaped astragal and is subject to damage from wear and mice. U-shaped astragals are sized according to their width as they lie flat. Choose the width that best fits your situation. Use a larger seal if you need to fill a wider gap between the door and the garage floor. The best source for U-shaped astragals is a garage door dealer.

USE a flat-blade screwdriver to open the ends of the channels that hold the old seal on both ends of the door. Then pull out the old seal.

Slide the new seal into the channels. To make the job easier, lubricate the channels with silicone spray or rubbing alcohol. After the seal is in place, crimp the channel ends on both ends of the door with a pliers

Test the balance of your door. A properly balanced door is less likely to crush someone or something and keeps your door opener from working too hard. First, disengage the opener from the door by pulling the opener release handle (see opening photo). Then lower the door about halfway. A properly balanced door will hold the halfway position without assistance. If the door rides back up, the springs are under too much tension. If it falls, the tension needs to be increased. Adjusting the spring tension is tricky and dangerous. Call a garage door professional to perform the service!

Test the auto reverse feature of your automatic opener by placing a roll of paper towels directly under the point where the opener is attached to the door. The door should get no closer than 1 in. to the ground and should reverse direction within two seconds after coming to a stop. If your door opener doesn't have an auto reverse feature, buy a new opener.

Install a lift handle on both sides of the door. Make sure the handle will clear the top of the door frame; otherwise, you may need a lower-profile handle or your door may need adjustment. If there's a handle, you're less likely to pull down on the spaces between sections, a habit that results in hundreds of crushed fingers every year.

Mount an extension spring containment cable on extension- spring-type doors by bolting one end to the bracket at the front of the upper rail.

Feed the cable through the extension spring and bolt the other end to the upper support bracket. Make one full loop of the cable around the bolt and secure it with a fender washer and a locknut.

For More Information
* "Automatic Garage Door Openers," July/Aug. '93, p. 43.
* "Install a New, Safer Steel Garage Door," Nov. '99, p. 97.

For a free safety kit, which includes a lift handle/step plate, contact Wayne-Dalton at
(800) 827-3667 or

Manufacturers have made great strides in improving the safety of garage doors and garage door openers. One of the biggest improvements is the addition of photoelectric eyes on door openers manufactured since 1993.

Photoelectric eyes are mounted above the floor and cause a closing door to reverse when movement is detected in the door opening. If you have an older-style door opener, consider replacing it with a new one that has all the latest safety features. A new opener costs from $100 to $150 and can be installed by a homeowner in two to four hours.

A second safety improvement is adding a containment cable to extension-spring-type doors (Photos 10 and 11). (Extension springs are mounted above the roller tracks.) When an extension spring breaks, the spring and cable become a heavy whip that can smash into cars or unsuspecting victims. A containment cable stops the recoil.

Containment cables cost only $4 each and are available at home centers. Follow the steps in Photos 10 and 11 to install one.

Reprinted with permission from The Family Handyman magazine
2001 Home Service Publications, Inc.
an affiliate of:
The Reader's Digest Association, Inc.
Suite 700
2915 Commers Drive
Eagan, MN 55121

All Rights Reserved.

bottom left corner imagebottom right corner image
- Copyright © 2002 - Garage Door Parts, LLC - All Rights Reserved.- Passaic - New Jersey - 07055 -