Common Garage Door Problems You Could Run Into This Winter

As temperatures plummet, your garage is usually the first part of your home to experience winter's effects. The cold weather can have a number of strange effects on your garage door, which could get in the way of it operating properly. By knowing what could cause these wintertime issues, you can have your garage door repaired quickly and effectively.

Sluggish Garage Door Opener

If your garage door is equipped with an automatic garage door opener, you might notice that it's working a bit more sluggishly than usual. This is because some garage door openers may have a harder time operating under cold temperatures, especially if it's below freezing outside. In some cases, severe cold could even stop your garage door opener from working at all.

If your garage door opener is having a hard time opening and closing the garage door, then you may need to increase the amount of force required for that task. Most garage door openers offer settings for increasing operating torque. Changing the torque amount in small increments may help alleviate sluggish operating issues.

If your garage door opener barely functions under severe cold, then you may need to have it replaced with one that proves more robust in winter conditions. But it's a good idea to rule out other potential issues with your garage door before committing to a replacement.

Hardened Grease

Water isn't the only thing that can freeze solid under severe cold. Lubricating greases can also harden up when subjected to cold temperatures for long periods of time. Thickened grease makes for a poor lubricant and hardened bits and pieces can jam up or even derail rollers and other moving garage components.

When you encounter hardened grease, your first step should be to remove the grease using a strong grease-dissolving solvent. Use old rags and toothbrushes to thoroughly clean the tracks, springs and other lubricated components. Afterwards, wipe down the entire area with a clean cloth.

Next, re-lubricate all of your moving garage door components with a lubricant that's better at surviving cold temperatures. Silicone-based lubricants and white lithium grease generally fit the bill. You don't want to use too much lubricant, as this could cause the rollers to move out of alignment and make it harder to open and close the door smoothly.

Most experts recommend that you lubricate your garage door at least twice a year and inspect it periodically to ensure the lubricant you've used is doing its job.

Contracting Metal Components

As the weather gets colder, your garage door's screws, springs and other metal components may shrink due to thermal contraction. The colder bare metal gets, the more it shrinks. This phenomenon could cause your garage door to slip out of its tracks and jam up, making it nearly impossible to open or close the door until it's properly repaired.

Aside from insulating your garage, there's not much you can do to prevent thermal contraction from happening. However, you can mitigate its effects by adding more lubricant to the roller bearings, springs and other metal components.

Brittle Weather Seals

Excessive cold combined with dry winter air can cause rubber weather seals to become brittle, making them more likely to fall apart with use. The problem can become more severe if the weather seals are already deteriorating due to natural aging.

You might be tempted to "restore" your weather seals' moisture by wiping them down with lubricant. However, doing so may cause the seals to deteriorate even further. Instead, brittle weather seals and gaskets should be replaced.

Identifying and tackling the above winter issues can help keep your garage door in great shape for years to come. Check out websites like for more tips.