No matter what season it is, what time of day it is, your garage door has to open every single time you need it to. We come and go many times a day and rarely have the time to find a way to fix a malfunctioning garage door. Preventive garage door maintenance is the way to avoid having the inconvenience of a broken or malfunctioning garage door is to take care of it before it needs repair. Here’s a list of ways you can keep it running for years with trouble free operation.
Keeping the Tracks Clear
Ensure that the tracks on both sides of the garage door are free from objects or debris. As an owner you can easily check the plump with a level to see how it’s weathering use, but if you see that it needs adjustment it’s time to call the professionals who have the tools, experience and knowledge to do this work safely.
Test the Safety Features
Most modern garage doors have a safety feature that prevents it from harming someone or something they happen to be in the garage doors path. There are a couple main ways that it can see if there is something in its way, a photocell and mechanical method. For the mechanical system you can just find a brick or a 2×4 for it to come down on close on, as soon as it touches the object it should reverse direction and come back up. For the photocell as your garage door is closing just wave your leg or an object under it and it should automatically stop and reverse direction.
Keep Moving Parts Lubricated
If you want your garage door to last for many years just keep it well lubricated. It takes less time than reading the paper and is very simple. You can find white lithium grease and use it on the screw or chain. Then most garage door specialists will have some spray lubricant you can use to spray directly on the overhead springs.
These high-tension cables are something only a trained professional should be working on. They are extremely dangerous and can maim and kill if not handled properly. You can’t work on them, but you can inspect them to see if you should have a professional come and do the work for you. Visually check them out looking for broken strands, especially down near the bottom roller bracket.
Roller Inspection and Replacement
The rollers need to be looked at about every six months, regardless of their material. They should also be replaced any time they look worn or at least every 7 years or so. If you notice wear, chips or cracks they need to be replaced. You can do this or a professional will be happy to come out and do a minor service on your garage. If you want to do it simply removing any roller brackets that are not attached directly to the cable system, and then reattaching after the roller replacement.
Garage Door Balance Testing
Even though you might not be able to see it with the naked eye an imbalanced garage door can cost you money. Being out of balance puts more strain on all the parts and will wear them out sooner. You can test the balance of the garage door. Simply start with your garage door in the closed position and pull the release handle (typically a red cord).
Then manually raise the garage door about halfway. It should stay right where you leave it, if it doesn’t your counterweight springs are out of balance and you need to call a professional as these are extremely dangerous to work on.
Tighten Loose Bolts and Other Hardware
Given that most garage doors open over a thousand times a year in all sorts of weather conditions they are subjected to a lot of vibration. Vibration loosens bolts and screws. Take a look at all the hinges, brackets, bolts and screws to ensure they are tight. You can even tighten these down with a socket wrench.
As you sit waiting for it to open before leaving in the morning its typically quiet and a great time to just be listening and watching how it functions. If it seems to run roughly or jerks at certain spots it’s a sign that something isn’t quite right and needs some attention. If you hear grinding or scraping noises it’s time to take a look at the tracks, rollers, and the general condition of the door. It can be difficult to track down the issue and a professional can come out and help you with an inspection.
Garage Door Care
Even if the all the mechanical systems are working perfectly it can still need some surface attention. Comprising about a third of the front façade of your home checking for rust spots on your steel doors will keep your house looking great. Wood doors need to be examined for signs of water damage like warping and will need any stain or paint checked out for peeling or chipping.
If you take care of your garage door, it will take care of you. A little time spent on a cool weekend morning will save you frustration some afternoon when the sun is out, it’s hot, and you just want to get in your garage.