Regardless of season, you definitely want your garage door to open and close reliably. But in winter months, cold temperatures and moisture can be especially tough on the door's moving parts, potentially causing the door to stick and make your opener work extra hard. To avoid being stranded in or out of your garage as winter winds blow, consider taking care of these few maintenance checks. They are easy to do and will give you peace of mind through toughest weather.
WARNING: Your garage door is heavy and a moving door can cause serious injury or even death. Do NOT close the door until the doorway is clear. For safety while you are working around the door, be sure to disconnect the opener to prevent someone else from actuating the door by mistake. Red colored components are under extreme tension and can cause serious injury or death in removed. Unplug the opener or switch off the breaker to that circuit. Also, move your vehicles out of the garage so you have full access to the door's mechanism and also won't accidentally drop something on the vehicles.
1. Lubricate rollers, hinges and springs
There are a few things to know before you begin squirting lubricant on everything that moves. First, wear safety glasses to prevent any spray lubricant from getting in your eyes. Next, use a silicone lubricant or one that literally states "garage door lubricant" on the label. It will do a better job of repelling moisture and grit while protecting against corrosion of moving parts. Then, close the door and apply lubricant to these specific areas:
Apply lubricant to the pivot points and stems of each hinge. These are the areas that rub on each other as the door moves. Keep a rag handy to wipe off any excess lubricant.
Lightly spray the inner hub of the rollers where the bearings and shaft meet. Also lube the shafts that hold each roller.
Spring Shaft End Bearings
Lube the bearing plates (outside portions) and inside where the shaft attaches to the shaft.
When lubing springs, it is best to stay off the cones. Spray along the entire length of each spring, also wiping off any excess so that it doesn’t stain your floor or later drip onto vehicles.
WARNING: Do not attempt to adjust the springs. They are under high tension and can cause injury. Call your Raynor Dealer if the springs are broken or otherwise need professional attention.
NOTE: There is no need to lubricate the tracks.
The rollers actually should rotate, not slip, as they move along the track. However, it is a good idea to wipe off each track to remove any dirt that has accumulated. This is where you might use a lighter lubricant such as WD-40. It is a good cleaning agent for metal.
When you are completed with these lubrication steps, operate the door a few times and listen for any friction noise. If it still doesn't sound quite right and you can't spot the problem, call your Raynor Dealer for a professional inspection and repair if needed.
2. Check the garage door opener
The second most important thing to inspect for winter reliability is the automatic opener. If the opener has been working properly, it is still a good idea to check a few things to avoid future problems.
Changing bulbs is easy and is most conveniently done before cold weather. You might consider doing this routinely, just to avoid issues. Most openers have translucent plastic covers on one or both ends of the body. Unsnap the covers and replace bulbs with proper size and wattage. Or even better, upgrade to LED bulbs which will last longer. However, some LED bulbs can cause radio signal interference. Ask your local Raynor dealer about LED bulbs that are designed to work with garage door openers.
This can be difficult to judge. But if you've lubricated the door's moving parts as detailed above, and the door's travel or the operator itself are still emitting any grinding/scraping noises, it may be time for a service call from your area dealer. Potential problems include failing drive gears inside the opener, a loose drive belt or chain, a broken spring or other fixes that you should leave to a professional.
As mentioned for personal safety, any adjustments to the opener or the door mechanism including springs are best performed by a Raynor trained technician. However, knowing what symptoms to look for in terms of the door's operation will help you determine if any adjustments are necessary. If you notice anything out of the ordinary when doing these simple tests, you can take care of problems now and be in better shape all year round.
Adjustment Check 1: Door balance
Why important: Correctly adjusted springs will help your opener last longer, working trouble-free through the winter and hopefully for many more seasons. The springs should be doing most of the lifting, not the opener.
This test will help you determine if the springs are out of adjustment. It requires that you disconnect the door's drive trolley. This is something you and other family members should know how to do anyway if the power goes out. It will allow you to open the door manually. This article describes how you can pull on the trolley's cord (pull down to disconnect, pull back toward the opener to reconnect).
With the door closed, disconnect it from the trolley, stand away from the opening and gently open the door half way. It should remain in that position without holding it. If it doesn't, the springs likely need to be adjusted. If the door passes the test to remain in the mid-open position, open and close the door fully by hand to make sure it moves freely throughout the entire travel.
When manually moving the door up or down, do not insert your fingers into the section joints. Only utilize the lift handles that should be installed on the lower sections of your garage door to manually move your door.
Adjustment test 2: Safety eyes (sensors)
Safety sensors are located on the tracks about 6 inches from the floor on each side of the door opening. Their main purpose is to prevent the door from closing when something gets in the way of the opening (like your car, your pet or any person who steps into the lights' path). If there is anything amiss with the sensors, it's a sign they aren't operating safely and also may may prevent the door from moving on wintry days.
A simple checkup involves looking at the sensors to be sure they are clean, mounted securely and pointing at each other. If they are aligned, their LED lights should be on, not blinking or dark. You may have to bend down to see the LEDs. Retighten or bend the brackets to re-align if needed. If they have lost power, check their wiring for breaks or corrosion.
To test sensor function, open your garage door. Then place a box or other object in the opening and press your remote. The door should immediate stop closing and return to full open. Your opener's lights should also blink to signal that the sensors have detected something.
3. Check your remote controls
If your door doesn’t open or close when you press a remote, or has been showing signs of intermittent operation, a first thing to check is the condition of batteries in your remotes. A good rule of thumb is to replace the batteries if you haven't done so in the past year. It's fairly common to think your opener is going bad when, in fact, you may just need new batteries in your control devices.
CHECKLIST FOR REMOTES
Hand Held Devices
Follow these simple steps to change batteries in hand-held remotes as well as in your keypad if you have one.
In Raynor remotes, you can access the batteries by removing the retainer clip and using it to carefully pry open the case.
Because it is exposed to weather extremes, your keypad and its batteries typically need more frequent attention than your other remote controls. If it has been a while, replace the battery and double-check that the last codes you set are still working. The numbered keys can also stick, indicating that the keypad itself has gotten wet or needs replacement for other reasons. Check out this article for more about keypad care and usage.
To access the battery, remove the front lower cover.
If the door is working fine with your hand-held remotes and keypad but not when you press the HomeLink® control button in your car, that pairing may need to be reset. This is also something you should do for security if you've recently moved into your home and are still using the previous owner's codes.
General steps for reprogramming your vehicle's HomeLink button:
- Reprogram a hand-held remote if necessary. This will be used when setting the vehicle's code.
- Hold the remote device near the vehicle's transmit button, simultaneously pressing both transmit buttons until the remote's indicator light flashes.
- Press the opener's Learn button.
- Return to the vehicle and press the vehicle's transmit button two times for two seconds each. The opener should activate upon the second press.
This article will walk you through the specific steps for how to reprogram your garage door remote control. Note that you'll need a ladder or step stool to reach the "Learn" button on the opener. If you are uncomfortable doing this, ask for assistance from a friend, another family member or from your Raynor dealer. You will also need a working hand-held remote to do this reset of your opener to the vehicle.
What to do if Your Garage Door Door Is Frozen Shut
If your driveway tends to get a buildup of snow and ice around the lower edge of your door, it may literally become stuck to the garage floor. Follow the steps in this article to free the door.
Quick Tips To Free A Frozen Door:
- Disconnect the door's trolley.
- Scrape ice and snow away from the door with a flat blade shovel or spade. Use caution to avoid hitting the door as it may damage the finish.
- If door is still not free to open, use a hot air gun or hair dryer to soften the ice.
- Keep the gun away from the door and weather strip to avoid damaging or burning them.
Do not cycle your automatic opener in an attempt to break the door loose from the ice. The opener is designed for normal loads, not for lifting against a solid freeze.
Stay warm and safe this winter!