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Simple Electronic Garage Door Maintenance



The vast majority of homes that I inspect include garages with electronic garage door openers. The average-size home has a two-car garage door. There are a few different types of garage doors and electronic openers. For the purpose of this Blog, I am focusing on standard, hinged, overhead garage doors that use an overhead tension spring and cable system to pull the door up and down. The opener mechanism is typically mounted on the ceiling and includes a motor attached to a cable, chain or screw drive.


Due to frequency of use and changing weather conditions, electronic garage door maintenance is often overlooked by the average homeowner.


Here are a few tips for maintaining your garage door and opener:

  1. Keep the rails and other mechanisms clean.
  2. Do not use grease. Grease, especially when applied to the inside of rail tracks, creates a slippery surface for rollers that need to bear friction for the door to move up and down.
  3. Periodically, sparingly apply your favorite lubricant such as silicone spray, to moving parts such as spindles and brackets that attach to door panels and to linkage systems for the opener.
  4. Periodically tighten bolts that attach linkage brackets to ensure that the linkage is affixed to the door surface. Most door bolts of this type are 7/16” and a nut driver works well for this activity. Do not overtighten.
  5. Periodically conduct two tests of the door’s operation:
    1. Test the electronic sensors that are installed at both sides of the bottom rails. Pass your leg in front of the sensors as the door is lowering. The door should reverse direction and open to a full open position. Sensors should be mounted from 2”-6” off the floor to ensure that a small child cannot crawl underneath their path without interrupting the beam.
    2. Place a 2” by 4” wood block on its flat side on the garage floor so that the bottom of the door will hit the block at the end of the close cycle. (See Photo). The door should hit the block and instantly reverse. This wood block reversal test is conducted to ensure that the door will not hold someone down against their will if the electronic sensors are out of alignment, in the sun, or broken.


The life of a garage door and its opener system can be extended by proper maintenance. Any substantive repairs should always be performed by an experienced garage door technician, especially the adjustment of overhead springs or tension cables.


Happy Holidays!

2 Responses

  1. Hi John, Very good stuff. My dad and I had to have the garage door fixed a month ago. Now I have the info to do maintenance. Thanks, this is invaluable! Good work.

  2. John Elson says:


    Thanks for the feedback; glad you enjoyed it.
    I like either Elmer’s Dry Lube spray or silicone spray for the lubrication. You could also use WD 40 but I find the surfactant seems to collect more dust and debris than a lighter spray.

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