Day after day, your garage door works dependably, so you take it for granted. But since it’s the largest moving part in your home and endures multiple cycles per day, wear and tear can take a toll. Garage door failures often happen suddenly. They account for over 30,000 injuries every year, but fortunately there are warning signs to look for. Preventative maintenance is the key to avoiding injuries and inconveniences.
These garage door maintenance tips can avoid stressful, expensive, and dangerous issues in the future:
Ensure Your Safety
Unplug your garage door opener, clamp locking pliers to roller tracks (which prevents an open door from dropping), and remove tension from springs if working with cables. Overhead torsion springs should be left alone. Any adjustments or repairs should be handled by a professional technician.
Observe Your Garage Door
Look and listen. When the garage door is running, observe whether it moves smoothly or if there are any jerking motions. If you hear grinding or scraping sounds, lubricate the door or have it inspected and/or repaired. Do both sides look symmetrical? This is a good way to find pulley, spring, or cable problems.
Moving parts should be lubricated from time to time. It can prevent noise and reduce friction that can increase wear and tear. Lubricate hinges, tracks, and rollers and even the chain or drive screw mechanism. A spray lubricant is often all you need, and the process takes just a few minutes. Many parts need lubricating just once a year, while overhead torsion springs and extension springs should be cleaned and lubricated twice a year.
Tighten Up Hardware
Every time your garage door moves up or down, there is motion and vibration that can loosen the hardware. Check the track brackets, garage door opener fasteners, and any nuts and bolts. In many cases, all you need is a socket wrench to tighten loose bolts and brackets.
Check Door Balance
An unbalanced garage door puts more work on the opener and other components, which can lead to premature failures. A door balance test is simple. Pull the release handle to disconnect the opener and then move the door to the halfway point. If it holds position, the door is balanced. But if it falls or begins to edge up, have a professional adjust the spring tension.
Examine the Sealing
Check the rubber weather seal located along the garage door’s bottom edge. If it is cracked or brittle, replace it. Weatherstripping can be found in hardware and home improvement stores and be cut to size and installed without a technician’s help. Maintaining the sealing can avoid moisture problems in your garage and with the door itself.
Test the Auto-Reverse System
The auto-reverse function is the most important safety feature. If your garage door has a mechanical safety system, place a brick or piece of wood under the door to see that it reverses upon contact. With photoelectric systems, just move your leg under the door and it should reverse direction. If these safety features are lacking or don’t work, have a professional address the issue immediately.