If you have noticed your garage door has become sluggish when you open and close it, look at the garage door springs. If they are rusty, the corrosion may be keeping the coils from working properly. Try the three steps below for removing the rust from the springs without taking them off the door, using sandpaper, white distilled vinegar, a paintbrush and a steel wire brush.
Step 1. Remove Excess Rust With Sandpaper
The first step in cleaning your garage door springs is to remove any excess rust with sandpaper. You will need a sheet of 800 (medium grit) and 1000 (fine grit). The medium grit knocks off the loosest rust, while the fine grit digs into the stuck-on rust to prepare it for step two.
Cut a one-inch wide strip of medium grit sandpaper and fold it lengthwise in half. Then, use your forefinger and thumb to rub the springs with the coils. This will remove the loose rust on the surface of them. Then, insert the bent part of the sandpaper between the coils. Rub it back and forth to remove the rust in the open space.
Once you have sanded all of the springs with the medium grit paper, repeat the above steps using the fine grit sandpaper. The fine grit breaks down the top layer of the remaining rust that will allow the vinegar in the second step to soak into its core.
Step 2. Paint White Distilled Vinegar onto the Coils
After you have removed any excess rust, the next step involves painting the coils with white distilled vinegar. The vinegar breaks down the corrosion caused by oxidation, making it easier to remove in the third step. Along with a cup of vinegar, you will also need a one-inch wide nylon paintbrush and a small container.
Pour the vinegar into the container. Dip the paintbrush into the liquid, saturating the bristles. Do not wipe any excess vinegar off because you will want as much liquid on the coils as possible.
After soaking the brush for a minute or so, paint the undiluted vinegar directly onto the coils. Dip the brush into the solution as needed to keep the bristles wet. Once the springs are saturated with vinegar, let it soak in for about a half an hour or until the springs are completely dry. Then, go on to the third step.
Step 3. Brush the Springs With a Steel Wire Brush
Once the vinegar has dried, this set involves brushing the coils with a steel wire brush. The steel bristles will penetrate to the metal beneath the vinegar-softened rust, allowing for clean removal of the corrosion. You will also need a cloth diaper or mechanics cloth to remove the loose rust.
Working in a sawing motion, use medium pressure on the steel brush using short strokes. Going with the coils will allow the bristles to remove any rust in the spaces between them.
Once you start to see bare metal, wipe the area with the cloth. Then, repeat until the rust has been completely removed. If you see any stubborn rust, repeat the application of vinegar as described in the second step, then use the steel brush on the springs a second time.
Once you have completed the above steps, open and close the garage door to see if there is any improvement. Even after removing the rust, you may find that your garage door is still not opening and closing properly. If so, you may want to visit this page or other resources to contact local professionals to get to the root of the problem.