How to Protect Your Garage Doors from Tough Winters

Like it or not, winter is coming, which means it’s time to make sure your garage door is ready for the change in weather. In much of the country, winter is the harshest time of year for garage doors. Even if you live in a place with a mild climate like Tucson or Houston, the winter chill in the air can still put extra strain on your door’s moving parts and result in poor performance and potential breakdowns. That’s why you should take the time before the temperature drops to schedule a tune-up with a NationServe technician. It’s the best way to keep your garage in good condition throughout the winter months.

Snowman

Why is winter so hard on garage doors?

Low temperatures and frequent precipitation cause your door’s metal parts to rust and seize up, which can lead your door to malfunction. The springs that keep your door opening and closing also become more brittle and can snap more easily. Plus, the lubricant that allows your door to move smoothly along its tracks becomes thicker and more viscous in colder weather, which can make it difficult for the door to open and close.

 Some common garage door problems resulting from winter temperatures that we see at NationServe include broken springs or cables, cracked rollers, bent or misaligned tracks, imbalanced door weight, corroded metal hardware, and interference with the auto-reverse safety features. Wood garage doors also tend to contract in the cold and absorb extra moisture, which can cause them to crack, splinter, or warp.

 If you live in a place that gets a lot of snow, you also need to watch out for your garage door freezing to the ground. When snow melts on your garage door during the day and then freezes at night, the door can become frozen in place. Make sure to keep the area around your door free of snow to prevent this from happening.

garage door with shovel in the winter after a snowfall

Tips for your Garage When the Cold Weather Hits

To keep winter from wreaking havoc on your garage door, take the time to perform some basic maintenance before the cold weather hits. Here are a few steps you should take:

1.       Do a visual inspection of your garage door

Standing inside your garage with the door closed, inspect your door’s springs, cables, rollers, pulleys and mounting hardware for signs of wear or damage. If something doesn’t look quite right—or if you’ve been hearing strange noises when the door opens and closes—you should call in a professional to look it over.

2.       Clean and lubricate your door’s moving parts

It’s important to lubricate the metal parts of your garage door at least once a year to prevent rust and wear from interfering with its performance. Wipe away any dirt or debris that has built up in the tracks and apply a silicone-based lubricant designed for use on garage doors to the axles, rails, springs rollers and hinges. If you have a chain- or screw-drive opener, lubricate its metal parts as well.

3.       Check your door’s weather sealant

Most garage doors have weather stripping along the bottom and sides to help with insulation and keep water and debris from getting into your garage. If you notice that the sealant is cracked or broken, contact NationServe to have it replaced before winter.

4.       Check your door’s balance and auto-reverse safety features

An off-balance garage door, or one whose safety sensors aren’t working, is very dangerous as it could accidentally shut on someone or something. To test your door’s balance, check that it stays in place when you manually open it halfway. If it closes on its own, there’s not enough tension in the springs; if it opens all the way, there’s too much tension.

You can test your garage door’s photo eyes (safety sensor beams) by hitting the button to open your garage door and then sliding an object under the pathway of the garage door. If the door doesn’t automatically reverse, you’ll need to call a NationServe technician right away.

Genie Garage Door Opener Operator 1028 Belt

Schedule a tune-up with a NationServe technician

At NationServe, we recommend scheduling an inspection with a garage door professional once a year to make sure there are no major problems. The best time for these tune-ups is late fall so that your door will be in top shape for winter. In addition to performing planned maintenance and safety inspections, our technicians perform all kinds of repairs, from sensor alignments and broken spring replacements to complete garage door replacements with Wayne Dalton garage doors.

Wayne Dalton 6600 SOMERSET WOOD GRAIN WINTER Garage Door

Keep winter in mind when replacing your garage door

If you’re preparing to install a new garage door, don’t forget to think about what winter in your region is like when you’re choosing the material for your door. For instance, if you live in a place that gets very cold, consider choosing a material other than wood, which requires a lot of upkeep and can be damaged by harsh winter weather. Materials like vinyl and steel are better at standing up to freezing temperatures. You’ll also want to invest in a door with a high level of insulation (R-value).

 At NationServe, we’re proud to help our customers keep their garage doors in pristine condition all year round, from the dead of winter to the height of summer. Contact us today to find a location near you and learn more about our teams in Houston, Tucson and 16 other cities across the United States.