They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that is just as true a sentiment when it comes to maintenance on garage doors as it is your health! The garage door isn’t something you think much about in all likelihood, you take for granted that it will work reliably and dependably, but imagine that upset to your day if you go to raise that trusty old workhorse and it won’t budge? How understanding will your boss be when you call in reporting you can’t get your car out of the garage to get to work on time? Better to take a few minutes to do inspections and head off potential problems!
Here’s what to look for:
If you’ve got a wooden garage door peeling or cracked paint is more than a cosmetic concern. Paint seals and protects the wood of the door, if you compromise the seal then you’re on the road to rot and warping. Catch the small stuff early, patch and refinish your garage door and you might be able to head off a complete garage door replacement. Pay careful attention to the ease with which your garage door opens. More than any other opening in your home structure, the garage door has the most moving parts and the highest level of use. If your door is creaking and groaning, the mechanism is straining against stiff hinges that cause it to operate in fits and starts.
Garage Door Parts That Need Special Attention
Garage Door Hinges: it seems a no brainer, but how often do you remember to lubricate the hinges on your garage door? These are the workhorses of your garage opening and need to be frequently checked for signs of rust and strain. If warped or bent they’ll need to be replaced, but don’t forget the occasional drop of oil.
Garage Door Torsion Springs: A broken or cracked torsion spring can bring the door down—literally and catastrophically. Test the springs on your garage door by disconnecting the door from the automatic opening mechanism by the pull rope with the door down, then open the door halfway. If it does not remain in place you’ve got torsion spring trouble and they’ll need to be either adjusted or replaced. This is not a job for the do-it-yourselfer—you’ll want to call in professional help for this job.
Garage Door Extension Springs: Likewise, wear and breakage on the extension springs can present safety hazards and have the potential for severely damaging the integrity of the entire door. Springs need to be inspected for uniformity of the coil—if you are noticing bigger gaps between some of the coils than others, or damaged, bent ends—the spring needs replacement. Be sure that the extension spring you choose as a replacement is made of the highest quality steel and is the correct rating for the weight and height of your door!
Garage Door Cable Drum: manufactured to help the garage door remain balanced as it opens and closes with the help of the torsion springs. Make sure that the integrity of the drum structure is maintained and that the cables play out from the opening without interference. Cables MUST be inspected regularly for signs of fraying. Any problems here can result unreliable operation and safety concerns.
Garage Door Tracks: Proper installation at the outset is essential—all tracks must be level and plumb to operate correctly. Inspect the tracks to make sure that they have not bent, warped, gone off level or shifted. Make sure that screws along the length of the track are properly and fully seated. Tighten any loose screws, replace any broken or missing ones.
Garage Door Opener: It isn’t enough to replace the batteries in your garage door opener remote when they go dead, you should also be checking the functioning of the entire unit periodically. Defective or improperly adjusted reversing mechanisms can result in damage to the door, injury to you or your family and in the worst case scenario—could have fatal consequences for failure. Make sure that the reversing mechanism responds immediately when the infrared beam at the bottom of the door is broken.
Garage Door Rollers: These should operate quietly and smoothly. If you observe any excessive wobble in the garage door rollers, or hear any roller noise they must be replaced immediately. High quality nylon rollers are your best bet for long life and reliable lubrication free operation.
Remember: All moving parts on a garage door require lubrication on a periodic basis. At least once a year, lubricate all door hinges, rollers, sheave bearings, torsion springs and lift cables with light 3-in-1 household oil. It just takes a few minutes and a little tender loving care to keep your garage door working at peak efficiency for its full life expectancy. Careful observation of changes in the components of the door will keep you on top of potential trouble and will pay off by extending the life of this seldom thought of but very essential part of our daily lives.