Believe it or not, 63% of homes have garages or carports. That’s a lot of garage doors, and most will eventually experience some sort of mechanical failure. When this happens you’ll either need to repair or replace your door. To help keep your door functioning properly and avoid costly repairs, here are 10 garage door maintenance tips you should know.
1. Inspect the Door for Damage
The first step in the basic maintenance of a garage door is to inspect it for any obvious physical damage. Inspect each panel from top to bottom looking for dents, dings, cracks, scratches and rusted areas.
Dents, if they are severe enough, can cause the door to not sit in the tracks correctly, causing it to drag or get hung up when opening or closing. If you aren’t able to fix the dent, replacing the panel is recommended.
Cracks, if they are small, can serve as a warning sign that you will soon need a new garage door panel, but don’t wait until they become worse. Cracks weaken the panel and can cause your entire door to fall out of the tracks. The sooner it is addressed, the better.
A rusted door panel doesn’t get better over time. Keep a close eye on it to be sure it gets replaced before it threatens the integrity of the panel, causing even bigger problems.
2. Inspect the Tracks
The next step in performing your own garage door maintenance, is to inspect the tracks. Your door is designed to move easily up and down the metal tracks. These tracks must be straight for the rollers to move smoothly. It’s not unusual for tracks to become slightly twisted or mal-formed with age, so take the time to inspect both tracks very carefully addressing any issues you happen to discover.
3. Replace Worn Rollers
Over a period of years, the rollers on your garage door will endure a lot of use and abuse. Rollers wear out over time and can become bent or loose. If you have metal rollers, they can become rusted. Damaged rollers are one of the most common reasons doors get pulled off their track. Be sure to inspect all 10 of your rollers for signs of wear and damage and if even one or two are bad make the small investment and replace them all at once with nylon steel ball bearing rollers.
4. Service the Springs
Inspection of the springs should be part of regular garage door maintenance. To do so, first visually inspect the springs for signs of rust on the spring and torsion bar. If you see any signs of rust, consider replacing the springs before they break.
To further asses the spring, detach the garage door from the opener so that it can be lifted manually and raise it halfway to check the balance. If the door is not able to stay open and begins to close, your door is not balanced and is another sign of a worn spring.
If your springs appear to be damaged, don’t try to replace them yourself. Always contact a trained service professional to perform the task.
5. Check Cables
Attached to the spring and torsion bar are cables wound around a drum. Inspect the cables for signs of wear, fraying, damage. and tension. To check for tension, simply pluck the cable like a guitar string; both cables should have the same amount of tension. If they aren’t the same this can cause the door to open unevenly and must be fixed by a professional immediately.
6. Check the Weatherstripping
The weatherstripping located along the bottom of your garage door is the only thing keeping the outside elements from entering your garage. When it’s raining or snowing, that heavy-duty strip of rubber helps to keep moisture out so that your garage remains warm and dry. In the summer it helps to keep the heat out.
When the weatherstripping begins to fall apart or peel away from the door, it will need to be replaced not only to avoid debris from blowing in, but if not addressed the panel runs the risk of rusting.
7. Service the Drive Chain or Belt
One of the most important mechanical parts of a garage door opener is the drive system. Depending on the type of door opener you own, the drive system will feature either a chain or belt.
To inspect, disconnect the opener from the power source and detach from the door. Examine the chain or belt for any damage or signs of wear. If visible signs of wear are present, you will need to replace the chain or belt.
To service the chain use a garage door lubricant on each link, wiping up any excess with a rag. If you own a belt drive garage door opener, it does not need any lubrication.
8. Replace the Light Bulb and Battery
Be sure to include testing your battery backup as part of your regular garage door maintenance regime. To test, simply unplug the garage door opener and activate it using the remote, keypad, and wall button (if not hard wired). If it won’t open, your backup battery isn’t working and needs to be replaced.
When replacing your door opener light bulb, be sure to reference your manual for the proper size and wattage of the replacement bulb.
9. Perform Safety Tests
There are several safety tests you can perform to assess the operating condition of your door.
First, check the door balance. This is done by disconnecting the opener and lifting the door manually and releasing it about halfway. If it stays in place, it’s properly balanced. If not, you’ll need to call a technician to balance it for you.
Next, check the garage door opener’s safety reversal feature. Place a 2×4 piece of wood on the floor in the center of the door and activate the door. Upon touching the piece of wood, the opener should automatically reverse and open back up. If it doesn’t, the opener needs to be adjusted or replaced.
The third safety test involves the door’s safety sensors. This safety feature prevents the door from closing when something is in the pathway. To test, activate the opener and then place your hand in front of the photocell. If the door continues to close, repairs will be required.
10. Make Sure It’s Fully Operational
After performing your garage door maintenance to assess the condition of your garage door, make any repairs that you are able to and call the professionals at Ohana Garage Doors to handle the rest. Make sure you take care of the problems in a timely manner so you don’t run into bigger problems later. An ounce of prevention beats the cost, headache and hassle of a cure.