10 tips for garage door maintenanceMarch 23, 2021
Garage door maintenance is typically overlooked, but inspection and seasonal maintenance twice a year should be an area of your routine. Neglected garage doors can put a lot of strain on an automatic garage door opener, and spending an hour or two in early spring and late fall each year can save you a costly repair bill.
There is an easy 10 step routine you can follow. For your convenience, you’ll schedule your garage door inspection to coincide with other seasonal activities, like winterizing your lawn sprinklers and turning them back on within the spring, or having the mower in and out of the deposit for the season.
See and hear the door in operation
Problems with the garage door and automatic opener often manifest themselves in jerky movements and scratching sounds. A well-maintained and tight-fitting garage door is relatively quiet when moving up and down, and you shouldn’t see jolts when moving. Look at both sides of the system – springs, pulleys, and cables – and make sure they appear symmetrical.
Clear the tracks
Inspect the treads on both sides of the door to make sure they are free of debris and rust. You can also use a level to make sure the rails are plumb (perfectly vertical) along their vertical sections. You can make minor adjustments yourself, but major rail adjustments are a job for a professional technician.
Because the typical garage door moves up and down many hundreds of times each year, movement and vibration can loosen the door and track hardware. Look at the brackets that hold the door rails to the wall and ceiling, as well as the fasteners that anchor the garage door opener unit to the frame. Use a wrench to tighten any loose bolts you find.
Inspect and replace rollers
The rollers on the edge of the garage door should be inspected twice a year and be replaced every 5-7 years. During inspection, replace any rollers that you find chipped, cracked, or worn. Most rollers may be removed just by removing the brackets that hold them to the door.
Warning: Do not remove the lower roller brackets on each side of the door as they are attached to the elevator cables, which are under extreme stress.
Check cables and pulleys
Inspect the lift cables and pulleys that connect to the lower door roller brackets. These provide the connection between the springs and the door to help raise and lower the door safely. Garage doors have one of two different types of springs: Extension springs Extension springs are long, thin springs that run along the horizontal portion (above the head) of each door rail. Torsion springs are mounted on a metal rod above the door opening. Both types use cables to lift the door.
Most experts advise that cables and springs should not be touched by homeowners, as these high-voltage parts can be dangerous. If you see any broken wires or other signs of wear or damage to the cables, call a technician for help.
Lubricate moving parts
Keeping the rollers and other moving parts lubricated will help reduce stress on the rollers and door openers and thus extending their life. Twice a year, apply a high-quality spray lubricant, such as lithium white grease (which is available in a spray can), to the rollers and hinges, and then wipe off any excess. If any rollers or hinges appear to be stuck, spray them with a penetrating solution, such as WD-40, then clean and apply grease.
Also, lubricate the pulleys on the extension spring openers and the bearings on the torsion spring openers. Wipe some oil on the torsion spring if it’s rusty. If the opener has a metal chain or screw, spray white lithium grease on the chain or opener screw, but do not use a lubricant on a belt drive opener.
Test the balance of the door
If the garage door is not balanced properly, the garage door opener will have to work harder, and it will not last as long. The door should be so well balanced by its springs that it only takes a few pounds of force to lift it.
Test this by pulling the release handle on the automatic opener, and then manually raise the door so that it is about halfway there. The door should be able to stay in place even without your help. If it doesn’t, the door is out of balance or the springs are aging and worn. Call an expert to assist you with the springs.
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