How to maintain and fix garage doors

Troubleshooting overhead doors; adjusting springs; locks. If an overhead roll-up door binds or sticks, tighten loose screws or bolts in the hinges and in the track brackets. Replace broken or corroded hinges and roller shafts.

Use a level to check that the vertical tracks are plumb. To adjust track that is out of alignment, loosen the track brackets (they have slots for adjustment) and tap the track with a mallet until it is plumb. Bends or crimps in the track impede roller movement. If you can’t straighten them out, replace the track.

Keep the door’s moving parts lubricated. Once a year, apply a few drops of lightweight oil to the hinges and roller bearings. Oil the cable pulleys and wipe the cables with an oiled rag. Occasionally clean the tracks with a rag dampened with paint thinner.
On one-piece swing-out doors, with or without tracks, make sure that the hardware is tight, the moving parts lubricated, and the tracks, if any, are clean and free of bends.

Periodically examine the bottom weather stripping for wear; replace as needed. Before installing new weather stripping, sand the door bottom and wash it with a mild detergent; let it dry for 2 or 3 days, then paint it with wood preservative. Adjusting the springs

In both types of overhead doors, heavy springs counterbalance the weight of the door to facilitate opening and closing. If a door’s springs are properly tensioned, the door should stay in place when raised about 3 feet above the ground. Lifted a foot more, it should continue opening slowly on its own. Lowered a foot, it should gently close and stay closed. If the door closes too quickly or is difficult to raise, the springs may have lost tension.

Check the springs for breaks or rust. Replace a defective spring with one of the same size and strength and with the same method of attachment. Garage door springs are under great tension; use caution when adjusting or replacing them.

Some roll-up doors have a pair of springs, each mounted above an overhead track and connected by cables to the bottom corners of the door. The upper cable ends are usually attached to S-hooks that fit into the holes of wall-mounted brackets. To increase tension, open the door as far as it will go, use clamps or a block of wood to hold it in place, and move the hook forward one or two holes. Adjust both cables equally. If the cable is knotted to a hole in a plate above the door, increase tension by retying the holding knot closer to the spring.

In roll-up doors with a single spring mounted across the top of the door opening, increasing spring tension requires a great deal of force. This job is best left to a professional.

The springs in swing-out doors are usually mounted vertically at each side of the door. To increase tension, move the spring ends up one or two holes in the doorjamb brackets. Garage door locks The bars of a garage door lock should glide easily through the guide brackets into holes in the vertical tracks. If the lock does not work smoothly, try straightening bends in the bars. If that doesn’t solve the problem, loosen the guide bracket screws and move the bracket up or down to align the bar with the opening in the track.

Once a year, unscrew the lock and lubricate the latch mechanism with powdered graphite.