How to: Fix a Slow Garage Door

Hello Blue Collar Workman readers! I’m starting a new series where I answer questions about home/car repair and other blue collar stuff that you guys submit! If you have a question you want answered (how much should a contractor for XYZ cost? do I really need to get my tires rotated? why does road construction take so long to finish?), leave a comment at the bottom of this post, or email me (bluecollarworkman1(at) and I’ll answer it honestly for you!

painted garage door

Awesome painted garage door

The question for today comes from a reader with an ever-slowing garage door.

Question: Hey TB! My garage door is starting to act a little funny lately…opening really slow. I’m wondering if the tracks need to be lubricated or something?  I bought a spray that was supposed to be for garage openers a long time ago, but it was awful and I ended up tossing because it came out bright red and was leaving stains.  I can’t remember if I did anything after that or not.

Any advice or products you recommend for the tracks? I used to use WD40 for everything until I heard it is a de-greaser and not a lubricant. So now I’m confused on when to use WD40.

Answer: Try using white lithium grease to grease the track…grease the chain as well.

white lithium grease

white lithium grease

WD40 is a good temporary lubricant (and a good de-greaser — I don’t get the chemistry on that one, but it’s true), but you want something that is better than temporary.

If that doesn’t work, you might need a new garage door opener motor. The motor in the electric door opener may be beginning to fail. They should go for about $100, give or take. I’m sure you can find somebody to install it for around $100. Heck, if you were local to me, I’d install a new one for $100.

Another thing could be that you need your door spring tightened. The spring is usually located up above the garage door (or along the rails, if it’s old). Definitely hire a professional for that, it can be dangerous.

Photo credits: flickr users “otzberg” and “commondream


How to: Fix a Slow Garage Door — 5 Comments

  1. Sure, plenty of questions…

    Here’s a girly one: The gas water heater needs to be drained every now and again, right?

    Well…I’ve never done that. ‘Cause I’m scared of it. I don’t understand how to turn it off, and I don’t see how to turn it back on without blowing up the house (and myself in the bargain). There’s instructions glued to the thing, but mostly they consist of dire warnings, scary warnings, and downright terrifying warnings. The stuff packed in around those things doesn’t seem to make much sense.

    How do you turn a gas water heater off? How do you turn it back on? And…do i REALLY HAVE TO??????

  2. WD-40 winds up being a good degreaser and temporary lubricant because the primary ingredient is kerosene. Kerosene gets underneath the grease to make it easier to wipe away and then creates a barrier between the metal pieces to make them move more smoothly. It’s only good as a temporary lubricant because kerosene actually evaporates at room temperature.

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