The garage door is like many things in the home, wherein we don't pay much attention until something goes wrong. Pushing the button on the opener and leaving for work is an automatic daily task that we usually don’t think about, but having the garage door come off the tracks and crash onto the hood of your Buick might draw some attention. In order to preserve your Buick and your garage door, it's important to follow this checklist for regular maintenance.
Garage Door Maintenance Checklist
One of the best ways to keep your garage door sparkling and functional is by giving it a regular cleaning. This is an often overlooked aspect of upkeep, but it takes just minutes. Taking the time to carefully rid your garage door of dirt and debris will help it last longer and allow you the opportunity to inspect all the working parts to make sure they’re in functioning order.
The trickiest part of cleaning your garage door is finding a balance between a thorough job and making sure you don't damage the surface.
While there are plenty of cleaners you can use on your door, many of them are made with harsh chemicals that can damage the finish. Instead, look for gentle cleansers that will get rid of dirt and stains without scratching your door.
Wood Door Inspection
Wood garage doors need a slightly different maintenance approach than metal doors. As a plus, an old or damaged wood door can be brought magically back to life with some TLC. For instance, you can scrape off flaked paint and give a wood garage door a new color that breathes new life into your property. Rotten wood needs to be replaced, and the door should be glossed with a new coat of stain every couple of years.
Wooden garage doors are exquisite but require different maintenance approaches. (Photo credit Deco Design Center)
Any good garage door maintenance involves inspection of the rollers.
The rollers are the metal wheels that make contact with the tracks to move the garage doors up and down. Over time, these wheels can wear down or become damaged, and a door with defunct rollers operates like a car with a flat tire – it’s wobbly, uneven, and annoying.
This is why it's important that you check your garage door rollers to see if they're corroded, chipped, or sticking to the sleeve they're contained in.
If they are, the problem can be fixed by lubricating them with a silicone-based lubricant. However, if the rollers are severely damaged or worn down, then you'll need to hire a professional to replace them.
Virtually all the moving parts on your garage door should be inspected. (Photo credit Wikipedia)
Springs are dangerous, both when they break and when DIY maintenance is involved. While a professional typically should be called in to replace torsion springs (or anything on your garage door marked red for that matter), you can make it part of your maintenance checklist to inspect them.
To check the garage doors for torsion spring-related issues, do the following:
Disconnect power to the garage door opener. Open the door manually and see if it stays where you left it or if it falls down on its own. If it falls down, the springs are most likely broken or worn out and need to be replaced. This is important if you are dealing with an extension spring system.
If they're in good condition, you should be able to lift up the door with one hand while supporting it from underneath as well.
It's best not to repair or replace the springs yourself. It's a potentially dangerous job that requires special tools and skills, so unless you're experienced, call a professional who specializes in garage door repairs.
Check the Track
The track is the road for garage doors and making sure it's intact is an important part of their maintenance.
There are a few signs to look for when checking whether the track is in good condition such as:
Check for bulges, cracks, or other damage. To do this, start from the top and work your way down.
Check that the rollers are placed evenly along the track. They should look as though they're just sitting there comfortably, not fighting against one another to get on top.
Test whether they're functioning properly by giving them a gentle pull. The door should move up and down with ease.
Make sure there's no debris impeding the path of the rollers and that the track isn't cracking or defective in some way.
If you notice an issue with your track, such as missing or loose fasteners or dents or cracks in its surface, then you should call a professional immediately so they can repair or replace the damaged track.
If the track is beyond repair, then you'll need to get a new one installed (which may require replacing other related hardware). Either way, don't wait too long because otherwise, you could end up needing a new garage door as well.
Inspect Bolts, Hinges, Cables
Check if the bolts are rusted or damaged in any way and if they are, replace them. It is also important to note that the bolts can easily be seen and checked when the doors remain open. And it would be best to inspect them on a regular basis so as to prevent your garage door from becoming an emergency hazard.
If you see that the hinges are loose or damaged in any way, they should be tightened or replaced immediately, as this can lead to potentially unsafe situations such as the opening and closing of the garage door being compromised. It is also not a good idea to attempt repairing these types of problems yourself, as this can cause further damage and potential safety hazards if you don't know what you are doing.
Also, ensure that the screws have been tightened enough by using a screwdriver or wrench at least once every three months during the routine inspection of your garage door.
The cables should also be checked for any form of damage. If your cable is damaged in any way, it would be best to call a professional for help as it is not a good idea to attempt repairing this yourself.
Test Door Balance
Testing the evenness or balance of your garage door is also a telltale way of examining if other areas of the garage door unit are starting to fail. The steps for testing a door’s balance include:
- Closing the garage door
- Disconnecting the door from the opener, generally by pulling the red release cord.
- Opening and closing the door by hand to see if it opens smoothly and naturally. Lubricating the rollers or springs may help with the opening and closing transition.
- Open the door halfway and let go of it. The door shouldn't rise or slam to the ground. It is off balance if it does.
Red release cord common on garage doors. (Photo credit: okdiscountgaragedoor.com)
If the door fails the balance test, it's best to bring in a professional to examine the problem or perform the needed repairs. If the door is level and balanced, reattach it to the opener by pulling the cord and pulling the lever back towards the opener.
The importance of regular lubrication of your garage door components can’t be stressed enough. Use a non-silicon based lubricant like motor oil on metal parts, but be sure that nylon rollers or the door track don't come into contact. For nylon rollers, simply lubricate the bearings. For the garage door track, use brake cleaner and a cloth.
Maintaining garage doors may seem like a tedious task, but it can and will extend the life and appearance of your entire unit. The door and its parts left to rust, oxidize, and fill with debris can have adverse consequences that greatly affect the safety of you, your family, and your possessions.
While hiring a garage door technician to service and repair your door is vital for ensuring optimum performance, it's also important to maintain it yourself by following this 3-step plan for cleaning, inspecting, and lubing your garage door.
CAUTION: When performing any maintenance on your garage door, never work on an open door or an active trolley system. Always disconnect and deactivate the opener prior to servicing doors.
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