Your garage door is an integral part of your home and your commute, and it’s easy to take it for granted. Every homeowner is used to simply pressing a button and having this enormous piece of equipment do its job with no hassle and no fuss, as it should work.
However, like any piece of equipment, it will need maintenance from time to time to continue working as well as possible.
Your garage door contains multiple large, moving parts, and each of these represents an element that needs to be attended to if you want a garage door that continues to do its job.
Repairing a broken door can be a costly hassle, but with the right preventive maintenance tips by the right crew, you can avoid the breakdowns and keep your garage door (and your commute) running smoothly.
If you are looking for a way to keep your garage door in good shape, then we have just the thing. Here is our list of preventive maintenance tips that will help keep it safe and functional. Are you getting frustrated by your clutter and garage organisation? Here at Garage Storage Solutions, we offer extensive professional organising and declutter service.
Preventive Maintenance Tips For Garage Doors
Check Your Door For Unusual Sights And Sounds.
It’s easy to get used to the way your garage door operates. After all, when you’re leaving the house, you likely have other things on your mind.
Next time you’re using your garage door, keep an eye and ear out for any unusual sights or sounds like slow rising, visible straining/jerking, or squeaks and scrapes.
These could be signs that there’s an issue, and if it’s not taken care of, this could lead to a significant repair.
Inspect Your Door’s Balance.
Your garage door works on the principle of proper counterbalancing to allow your opener to operate efficiently.
Test your balance by pulling your garage door opener’s release handle and opening the door halfway up. If it moves, your springs aren’t balancing correctly and may need to be tightened by a professional crew.
Make Sure Nuts And Bolts Are Tightened.
With so much movement constantly going on with garage door parts, nuts and bolts can become less tight and lead to less safety for your door.
Inspect your door’s nuts and bolts, tightening where necessary to ensure everything stays in shape.
Lubricate The Moving Parts.
In garage doors, the most significant element that leads to problems is friction. Luckily, lubrication is quick and easy, and it also adds years of operation to your system.
Your opener’s chain or screw and the overhead springs are the best places to lubricate, perhaps as little as only once per year with products including white lithium grease.
Review Your Door’s Rollers.
Your garage door rollers are the tools that allow your door to move quickly and smoothly, and cracked or warped rollers lead to more vibration, friction, and strain on the system.
You’ll be amazed at the difference a few new rollers can make. If you need help replacing your cracked rollers, contact the crew at Garage Doors of Indianapolis.
Clear Your Tracks Of Debris.
Your rollers run on a track, and if anything happens to be in that track, it can damage the rollers and strain your garage door opener.
Check by hand or with a tool to make sure that there isn’t any loose debris on the track, and you can avoid a much more costly problem in the future.
Review Your Lift Cables
The high-tension cables in your garage door allow the system to work correctly, but if they wear down enough to the point where they snap, this could lead to serious injury.
Review your lift cables, and if they seem to be worn down, get a professional crew in to replace them. It’s a quick and easy job that can avoid a hassle down the line.
Test Your Safety Features.
Garage doors rely on mechanical and photocell safety features to avoid crushing anything in their path.
First, make sure with a brick that your garage door will bump into it and reverse instead of continuing to put pressure on, and then run your leg against the strip that detects movement to be sure the door will reverse.
If your door is old enough to have these safety features, it’s time to get a new unit.
Keep Moisture Out With Weather-stripping.
Keeping moisture out can lead to a better, drier garage in general, as well as make sure your pants don’t rust.
Check your weather stripping for cracks or missing parts, and if it’s not up to snuff, replace them for more comfort and more extended lasting garage door components.
Keep Your Door Looking Good.
Whether it’s water damage, warping, rust or more, groom your door and take care of these minor issues before they affect its structural integrity and need to be replaced.
Look And Listen
The most important preventive step you can take is to observe your garage door in action every time you use it.
Is it moving smoothly, or is it jerky in places? Does it operate silently, or does it make grinding or scraping noises? Do both sides of the system (springs, pulleys and cables) look symmetrical?
Tighten Up The Hardware
The average garage door moves up and down more than a thousand times a year. That’s a lot of movement and vibration, which can loosen the hardware. Examine and tighten all roller brackets and bolts with a socket wrench.
Test The Garage Door Balance
If your garage door is not balanced correctly, the garage door opener will have to work harder and won’t last as long.
After disconnecting the opener by pulling the release handle (usually a red cord), manually move the door about halfway up.
If it doesn’t stay put, the counterweight system (springs) are improperly balanced. Therefore, garage door spring adjustment is best left to the professionals.
Inspect And Replace The Rollers
Whether steel or nylon, the rollers need to be inspected twice a year and replaced every seven years or so, and even more if you use your garage door many times a day.
Worn chipped or cracked rollers should be replaced as soon as possible. You do this by removing and reinstalling any roller brackets not directly attached to the cable system.
Lubricate The Moving Parts
Keeping your garage door parts greased up will add years of seamless operation to your system, and it takes just 10 minutes a year!
Use white lithium grease on the opener’s chain or screw, and a spray lubricant, available from your garage door specialist, to coat the overhead springs.
Check The Cables
It would help if you never tinkered with the high-tension cables that lift your door because they have enough force to maim and kill.
But you can check their condition, so you know when to hire a pro. Check for broken strands and damage near the bottom roller bracket.
Test The Auto-reverse Safety Features
There are two mechanisms: mechanical and photocell. To test the automatic feature, place a piece of wood or a brick on the ground in the path of the door.
When the door coming down touches that object, it should reverse direction and go back up again.
To test the second, the photoelectric system with beams at each side, close your door and pass your leg in the door’s path. Your entry should reverse.
If your opener is more than 20 years old, it may lack these essential safety features – and so it’s time to buy a new garage door opener.
Clear The Tracks
Make sure the tracks on either side of the door are free from debris and, if you are so inclined, you can use a level to check the plumb. A professional garage door technician must make any significant adjustments to tracks.
Groom Your Garage Door
Don’t forget to examine the door itself. Wood doors will need to be checked for water damage and warp, as well as chipped and peeling paint.
Steel doors may have rust spots that need to be sanded, primed and painted. Wash your garage door regularly with a mild all-purpose cleaner at the same time you do your car.
Why Preventive Maintenance?
It’s a lot easier — and cheaper — to keep your garage door running than it is to repair it when it breaks. With the right amount of preventive maintenance, you can ensure your garage door lasts for years to come.
Avoiding costly emergency repairs is one of the best ways to save money as a homeowner.
Check The Tracks
Garage doors are notoriously fickle. If your garage door is old or heavily used, it’s a good idea to check the track alignment from time to time.
You can examine the garage door tracks. If you see anything out of the ordinary (bends, cracks, or breaks), your garage door is likely in need of maintenance.
Rule of thumb? If your garage door is crooked, off-balance, or tilted, it’s a sign that your garage door tracks are not in alignment.
Adjusting a garage door by yourself is usually not recommended. Instead, it’s a good idea to bring in a professional: it’s safer, and you don’t run the risk of injuring yourself.
Check The Cables
Give your garage door cables a good once-over often. Look for signs of fraying, decaying, or broken strands, particularly near the roller.
If you see what looks to be excessive wear, be careful! Garage door cables are under high tension and bear a lot of weight.
If you see any signs of damage, bring in an outside professional to work on your garage door.
Don’t mess with garage door cables on your own. Garage doors can weigh upwards of 400 pounds — it takes solid lines to lift them.
Check The Rollers
Damaged garage door rollers are often the reason that a garage door may not close or open properly.
Garage door rollers are little wheels that track along the side of your garage door. The rollers slide up and down the track to raise or close the door.
Depending on what sort of garage door you have, you may have rollers that are either:
- Steel: Noisier (but cheaper) than nylon rollers.
- Nylon: Quieter than steel rollers, resistant to rust, and long-lasting.
Check rollers for signs of deterioration. For nylon rollers, look for cracks, splits, or other signs of damage.
Steel rollers are unlikely to crack or split but check for uneven wear around the bearings. Rust and proper lubrication are perennial concerns for steel rollers as well.
If you are using steel rollers, weatherstripping (more on that below) becomes extra essential. You’ll want to keep excess moisture away from metal whenever possible.
Check Up On Nuts And Bolts
Garage doors are heavy—regular use of a garage door all but guarantees that nuts and bolts will eventually work themselves loose.
You’ll want to check with your garage door manufacturer regarding proper torque specifications, but tighten it or call professionals to help if anything is loose.
Check The Lubrication
The screeching sound may indicate that your garage door needs lubrication. A garage door has many moving parts: rollers, tracks, hinges, and springs.
If you’re using nylon rollers, make sure the metal bearings are adequately lubricated. The same applies to springs, tracks, locks, and hinges: lubricate only the ‘contact patches’ of the metal bits.
Once the door is appropriately lubed, raise and lower the door several times to ensure the lubricant spreads evenly.
Don’t overuse lubricant — use a clean rag to wipe off any excess material. Garage Storage Solutions features an innovative wall storage system with heavy-duty sliding wall components such as hooks, garage shelving and stylish, durable steel cabinets designed to hold your gear securely and neatly in place.
Check The Weatherstripping
A working weatherstrip keeps the weather out of your garage! Whether it’s rain, snow, or sand, a weatherstrip is a simple way to prolong the life of your garage door.
Weatherstrips are typically made of rubber. You’ll find that weatherstrips eventually dry out and fall apart. If you notice that parts of your weatherstrip are decayed, broken, or flaky, it’s time to get a replacement.
Immediately replace the rubber weather seal strip on the bottom of your door if they appear brittle or cracked.
Weatherstripping can be purchased at your local hardware store by the foot. Cut the strip to size and insert it into the door’s grooves, positioning the flange’s wide part inside the door.
If the rubber weather seal strip on the bottom of your door is brittle or cracked, replace it right away to keep the elements out of your house.
Weatherstripping is sold by the foot at hardware and home improvement stores. Just cut to size and insert into the grooves with the wide-angle of the flange inside the door.
Be sure to purchase the correct type of weatherstripping for your garage door. If you’re unsure which one to buy, check with the manufacturer of your garage door.
Check Your Automatic Reverse Function
Perhaps the most critical safety feature of any major appliance in your home, the automatic reverse function is probably the most overlooked.
Most people never interact with their automatic reverse mechanism except when they trigger it by accident.
Auto-reverse functionality has been a standard feature on all garage doors sold since the early 1980s. This feature prevents the garage door from closing if an object is in the way.
Most systems follow a two-pronged approach utilising both the opener motor and infrared sensors.
If the opener motor senses a certain level of resistance, it automatically reverses the direction of the door. Infrared sensors — little invisible tripwires about 5 inches off the ground — will do the same if the beam is blocked.
Check your opener motor sensor by placing a 1 ½” block underneath the door. If the door doesn’t reverse after encountering the block, call a technician.
To test the infrared sensors, lower the garage door and waggle your foot — but make sure to do it safely — to trip the beam.
Check The Paint And Surface
A painted garage door attracts good attention. Take a moment to inspect your garage door for cosmetic damage.
Check the surface for old or peeling paint, flakes, scratches, water damage, and rust. Cosmetic damage can evolve into something more serious.
Chipped paint, for example, exposes the wood of your garage door to the elements and can lead to premature wear. Likewise, rust spots on a metal garage door can damage your door’s structural integrity and lead to costly repairs.
Treat your garage door like your car. Give your garage door a quick wash using a gentle cleanser every few weeks.
Watch For Cobwebs (Seriously)
If there’s one place in the home that’s almost guaranteed to have cobwebs, it’s the garage. So keep an eye out for cobwebs, especially near the infrared sensors that control the auto-reverse function on your garage door.
More than a fair share of homeowners have called in professional technicians to fix their garage doors only to find a cobweb blocking the photoelectric sensor.
A quick check for cobwebs works exceptionally well as part of your regular garage door maintenance. Vacuuming every few weeks could help.
Look And Listen
Take the time to listen to your garage door. If the door takes longer than usual to open or close, that’s a good indicator that maintenance is needed.
At the same time, listen for unusual, weird, or loud noises coming from the mechanism. Properly functioning machinery should sound smooth — if your garage door is screaming at you, call a professional.
Nylon rollers make far less noise than steel rollers. If noise is a significant concern, consider swapping to nylon rollers.
Bring In A Professional
Garage doors are complicated, heavy things. If you’re looking to delve into the world of garage door maintenance, it’s better to do it with a professional at your side. After all, safety is paramount — there’s no point risking your health and safety.
Tips For Residential Garage Doors
Make A Visual And Audible Inspection
Watch your garage door in action each time you use it. Does it move quickly and smoothly, or does it stop or jerk in places?
Is it a quiet operation, or are you getting grinding or scraping sounds? When the door goes up and down, does it seem balanced and symmetrical? All of these are often the first indicators of a problem.
Inspect And Tighten Hardware
Over time, the daily use of a garage door can lead to loosened hardware. Therefore, it’s a good idea to regularly inspect and tighten roller brackets and bolts to keep future breakage or misalignment from occurring.
Lubricate Crucial Moving Parts
Take about ten minutes a year and keep your garage door operating smoothly by greasing the opener’s chain or screw. You can use a simple spray lubricant on the overhead springs.
Examine Cables (With A Caveat)
Check your high-tension cables for signs of wear or other damage. However, please do not attempt to fix these yourself as they can be extremely dangerous. Instead, always call in a professional for actual cable repair or replacement.
Check Or Replace Rollers
The rollers tend to last about seven years, but it’s good to check them every six months or so for wear, chips, or cracks. Should you find damage, replace them as soon as possible.
Inspect The Tracks
Over time, debris can collect along the door tracks. Therefore, they should be checked from time to time and to see if they line up properly. If not, having a professional come in to handle significant adjustments would be a good idea.
Check Overall Appearance Of Your Garage Door
Check wood doors for water damage, warp, or chipped and peeling paint. Metal doors may have rust spots that need to be smoothed and repainted.
Use a mild all-purpose cleaner when washing your door. You might time this cleaning at the same time you wash your car.
Preventive maintenance is key to extending the life of your garage door. In this post, we’ve outlined some simple tips to help you get started with a routine that will keep your garage door in excellent condition for years to come. Garage Storage Solutions features an innovative wall system with heavy-duty sliding wall components such as hooks, garage shelving and stylish, durable steel cabinets designed to hold your gear securely and neatly in place.