Guide on how to lubricate garage doors so they can last for decades
Garage doors may look like a simple system but they have several moving parts and they operate in perfect alignment. All of this makes maintenance a mandatory part of ownership. Below you can see the full guide on how to maintain and lubricate your garage door and which lubricants you should use. In return, your garage door will last as long as you need them to last.
Most garage doors use a counterweight
Did you know that almost all garage door systems use a counterweight? This is precise as the name tells you. Garage doors are operated when the counterweight goes down, it lifts the door and it will open. Some systems have one while others have two counterweights attached.
This system is common on elevators, carnival rides and etc. It is the most common and the best system ever invented. This part of the system does require some lubrication as well, as you shall see later.
Extension spring system explained
Due to some reasons, this part of the system is taboo for most homeowners. It looks extremely complicated and impossible to install by yourself. Actually, it is a very simple type of system that works alongside the counterweight system.
The springs are connected to the cables which are connected to the garage door corners. They will use the stored energy to open or close the garage door and you can see the system working all the time. Keep in mind that the average homeowner will open his garage door over 1500 times per year and each time the garage door is used, this system will be activated.
The system is obviously based on the extension springs and their ability to store energy. Once the garage door is open, the energy from the springs will be used. This also means that the springs are under constant tension and they have to be properly maintained and lubricated.
Torsion spring garage doors
This system is used as a separate type and it is the most common these days. However, it is also very different than the extension spring system we mentioned above. In the previous case, we saw that the springs are attached to the bottom parts of the garage door. In this case scenario, the springs are attached to the top section and they have cables which are used to store energy. The garage door will open horizontally.
The system is well-designed and it can last for a long period of time, but it has a weak link. As some of you may know already the weakest link in the system is the cable. It can snap if the system isn’t maintained which will cause a severe failure. By maintaining the system you are positive that it will last for a long period of time without any issues.
Here’s how garage door system actually works
By now you should know all the main parts of the garage doors and you should know it because we explained them earlier. The one part that is left behind is the electric motor and the gear system. Most garage doors have an electric motor of ½ or 1 HP and around 6 Amps. This isn’t many thanks to the counterweight system we mentioned in the beginning. Garage door systems don’t need a lot of power to operate.
The electric motor is linked to the T rail system or chain or belt depending on the version of the system you are using. This component is linked to the trolley which is linked to the garage door. When you press a button, the electric motor will pull the trolley and it will pull the garage door. Anyway now you know the basics.
The housing where the electric motor is stored is usually paired with the battery and the inverter. This system allows for the garage door opener to be used with AC and DC when needed. Some systems are more complex and they have more parts but all of them work on the similar or the same principle.
Drive system of a garage door opener
In order to understand how to maintain your garage door properly you will need to know which drive your system has. There are three options. The first one is a chain and it is the most affordable, the most durable and also the loudest of them all. Systems of this kind are usually chosen for garages that are not close to the house or bedroom.
A screw drive is a popular option. It is the mid-range system that is quieter than chain drive but a bit more expensive. At the same time, we can add that this system is reliable and can last for ages, but it does require plenty of maintenance and silicone lubricant. Basically, the entire drive needs to be covered with silicone lubricant. In addition, it is faster than a chain drive.
A belt drive is the best option due to the fact it doesn’t make any sounds at all. You can install it on a garage which is located under the bedroom and you won’t hear a thing when the garage door is opened or closed. The level of maintenance is extremely low as well. The only drawback is the price. These systems are the most expensive of the three. The belt is made from Kevlar so it won’t snap and it can last for years so don’t worry about this.
How to care for your garage door
There are a few steps you will need to take in order to lubricate the system and make sure it works perfectly. The most common symptom is noise and it can be present with all three drive systems, even belt. This means that something isn’t fine and there is some issue with the garage door opener. You need to find and correct it as soon as possible in order to make sure the garage door opener will work in the future. Below are the steps you need to take.
- Test the system
The first thing to do is to open and close the garage door several times. Do it while standing inside and take a closer look at the moving parts of the system. Try to isolate from where the sound is coming and check the system for any additional issues and problems that are obvious. Make sure to disconnect the garage door opener before you move to the next step.
It is important to add that you can adjust the force and the height of the garage door opener at this point. In most cases, the adjustments will solve the issue and you will end up with fully operational garage door. Also, you will need a second light source due to the fact the one on your garage door opener will be disconnected.
- Clean the dirty parts
Now is the right moment to clean the dirty parts of your garage door. Here is how you should clean it. First and foremost you will need to find the track and remove all the old grease, the dust and debris that are present inside. You should use a vacuum cleaner or degreaser to make this a bit easier. Although some of you will skip, we advise you to clean the exterior of the tracks and rails as well. It is nice having a perfectly clean system that works like brand new.
The point of cleaning these sections is to remove the old grease and dirt that won’t allow for the new lubricant to stick to the moving parts. In the lack of a better word, it will slip from the parts and you will have to do all over again. Make sure to use old cloth and anything that can help you with the cleaning so you complete the task like a professional.
- Now you are ready to lubricate
For this purpose, you will need a grease based on lithium or oil that is based on silicone. The best option is to use aerosol lubricant which is designed specifically for gorge doors. All of those lubricants are easier to apply than regular engine oil and they will stick to the parts for a longer period of time. You will also have to lubricate them less frequently.
The most important thing to remember is that WD-40 must not be used. It is designed to be used for corrosion and hard to undo bolts, not lubrication. As we have mentioned, there are silicone and lithium-based greases that are designed specifically for this purpose. Now when you know which lubricant to use, let’s reveal what you need to lubricate in the first place.
- Hinges- All the hinges have to be lubricated as much as possible. They move each time you use the garage door so you will have to keep them lubricated.
- Rollers- They have bearings inside which have to be lubricated. When a bearing fails you will hear a loud noise and the garage door will operate slower.
- Bearing plates and all the springs have to be lubricated as well.
- Lock and armbar- You will lubricate these parts in order to make sure there is no rust inside. Also, add the oil to the lock inside.
- Rail, the upper part- Yes the upper part of the rail has to be lubricated as well. Use as much lubricant as you want. The lower part of the rail doesn’t have to be lubricated.
The final word
It is very easy to lubricate your garage door and to make sure they can last for many decades to come. Just follow the steps and the sections we listed above and you will be able to get the job done in no time at all. It is easier than it sounds and it is more important than you believe.