Maintaining your garage door is not just about improving the security of your home; worn out parts can cause potential injury to yourself and family. A properly maintained door will serve you for longer. Through simple maintenance checks, you can keep it fully functional and avoid the inconvenience of having to find emergency repair services when the door or door opener system fails completely. Read on to find out more.

1. Check the springs

There are two main aspects of garage door spring maintenance: lubrication and adjustment. You can perform lubrication yourself, but any adjustment and repairs with extension and torsion springs should only be done by qualified professionals. The springs are responsible for much of the work involved in the opening and closing of a garage door. Tampering with them could cause the door to come loose and fall on you or whatever is in the path of the door.

If you discover that the door is moving too slowly, or creaking/squeaking, you may need lubrication in the moving parts. Use white lithium grease or silicon spray to lubricate not only the springs, but also pins, rollers, tracks and hinges to enable smooth movement. Engine oil or mechanic's grease could be used, but these will attract dust much faster than the aforementioned.  You can also inspect for rust and use WD-40 spray and fine steel wool to remove rust before lubrication. If the problem persists after lubrication and cleaning, call in a professional to inspect and adjust the springs as needed.

2. Inspect the hardware

With the help of the garage door expert at installation, make a list of all hardware parts in your garage so that you can methodically inspect them during your bi-annual tune-up. You should look out for overly-worn metal that needs replacement, as well as proper connection of levers, cables, hinges, rollers and tracks. As with the springs, do not attempt anything more complex than regular cleaning and lubrication on these parts, as they are vital to the proper function of the entire system.

Inspect tracks for dents, rust and other damage. Clean them by using a paintbrush to remove debris and dust particles, then wipe with a soft cloth and household cleaner before lubricating as described above. Rust can be removed using steel wool and minor denting can be pounded out with a hammer. Anything more serious will require track replacement by professionals.

3. Paint the door

Painting your garage door not only protects it from damage, it also increases curb appeal by making your front yard look well-maintained. You should paint both sides of the garage door to prevent moisture from getting into the wood through the unpainted side and causing it to warp. This not only increases potential for rotting, it will cause the paint on the other side to peel off. Repaint the exterior surface every year to keep it looking new. The interior surface is not directly exposed to the elements and can be repainted less frequently.

4. Test for balance

Test your door balance at your bi-annual tune-up. To do this, start by closing the garage door. If your door is connected to an opener, use the release mechanism to allow you to manually operate the door for this exercise. Lift the door by hand about halfway up and let it go. The door should flow smoothly, showing little resistance and then remain where you lifted it to. If it doesn't you need to call in a professional in garage door service to confirm its adjustment.