Garage Doors

Maintaining garage doors

While doing a home inspection, one of the components we take a good hard look at is the garage doors.  Most people take it for granted that they are safe as long as they work when you push the button but that is often not the case.  When properly maintained they generally are very safe but when they are not, these doors can be very dangerous.  Over 30,000 people a year are injured by garage doors.  The good news is that, with a few simple tools and a little time, they are easily inspected and maintained.

Things to keep in mind when working on your door:

  • Unplug the opener and put away the controllers when working on moving parts. 
  • Clamp locking pliers to the tracks under the rollers when working on an open door. 
  • DO NOT attempt to adjust or remove the tension from the overhead torsion spring.  Leave this to a professional!
  • And DO NOT attempt to remove the lift cables.  They are also under very high tension and can cause serious injury! 

Maintenance Steps:

Start with the hardware: 

  • With the door closed, take a good look at the whole door and then the hardware.  If you see any major damage to the door, torsion springs, lift cables or to the tracks, it's time to call a professional.
  • Check for any broken or rusted springs, cables, tracks, rollers, hinges and fasteners.  Again, DO NOT attempt to repair or replace the torsion spring or lift cables.
  • Tighten any loose nuts and bolts and replace any damaged rollers and hinges (DO NOT remove the bottom roller brackets.  These are where the high tension lift cables are attached.) 
  • Clean the tracks and lift cables if there is any dirt or buildup paying special attention to the bottom areas. This area is the most exposed to moisture.  If the lift cables are frayed or worn, have a professional replace them. 


  • Spray the rollers, tracks, hinges and springs with a high quality garage lubricant such as Liquid Wrench Door Lube. This will dry after application so it is less likely to attract dirt and dust.  Make sure to get into the bearings of the rollers if they are not sealed.
  • Spray the openers drive chain or screw with a high quality white lithium grease like Liquid Wrench White Lithium Grease


  • Check the emergency reverse.  To do this, place an object like bucket or trash can on the ground in the center of the doorway (without blocking the infrared sensors) and close the door.  When the door presses against the object it should automatically open back up.  If not have this checked out right away!  Failure of this important safety feature can lead to damage to vehicles, serious injury and even death.
  • After making sure that the emergency reverse is working properly I will check it again by just holding up on the door by hand as it closes.  This is insuring that the emergency reverse activates before the door applies enough force to cause damage. 
  • Test the infrared eyes.  These are the little boxes near the tracks that make sure that the doorway is clear before the door closes.  First make sure that they are within 6 inches of the floor then just place an object in the way of the beam while closing the door and the door should reverse and open back up.

Well, that's about all there is to it!  Hope you enjoyed these tips!

Contact Information:

Capitol Home Inspections LLC.

3045 North Fulmer Circle

Tallahassee, Florida  32303

850 545-0232