When it come to your garage door you want to make sure that it’s going to last, right? You definitely don’t want to find yourself replacing your door frequently when you can do something to stop it. Intense weather or accidents can happen and cause serious damage, but there are some things that you can do to prevent some of the minor problems that come along with your garage door.
Always Be Careful
Before we get into the things that you can do on your own to help your door, let’s start with a few basic safety tips. The number one, most important thing, is that you and your family are safe when you’re doing any kind of work. Your garage door uses electricity and it’s extremely heavy, so make sure that you’re doing what you can to protect yourself.
First up, always unplug the door opener when you’re working on the door. You may think that you’re safe because you’re not going to push the button or your partner isn’t going to do it. But you never know when a child might hit it unknowingly or even when it might malfunction. Having the automatic opener to the door unplugged removes this possibility.
Second, If you need to work on the garage door while it’s open always be sure to lock it into place. Even though the setup of the door should allow it to stay open safely, it’s easy enough to push or pull downward and you don’t want it to be bumped or otherwise damaged and suddenly the door is falling toward you. Locking pliers on the track can prevent this from happening.
Third, don’t work on anything under tension. Door springs that are under tension can snap. Torsion springs, even when not under tension, are extremely dangerous and should only be worked on by a professional. Anything else that is under tension you want to avoid as well.
Where to Start on Your DIY Garage Door Maintenance
So, once you’ve got the safety aspects out of the way, what should you be doing to take care of your door? We’ll start with a few basics.
- Take a Look at the Hardware
- Lubricate and Replace Springs, Chains, and Seals
- Make Sure it Works Properly
Take a Look at the Hardware
The first thing you can do is look over the nuts and bolts that make up your garage door and the opener mechanism. Make sure all of these are tight, with no wiggle room. Remember, those nuts and bolts hold everything together and if they loosen it could damage the door, cause it not to work properly, or even cause injury to yourself and your family.
While you’re at it, take a look at the rollers as well and make sure that there are no cracks, chips, or other defects. You may also notice a tilt on the wheel if it starts to wear out. Upper rollers can be removed and replaced with ones from the hardware store, but do not remove the bottom roller bracket which has a great deal of tension built into it.
Finally, make sure you look over the lift cable. You do not want to replace the cable if you notice a problem, but you should call a professional immediately. Instead, you can clear out any kind of debris that might get stuck in here so you can keep the path clear and so you can see if there’s damage to the cable itself.
Lubricate and Replace Springs, Chains, and Seals
Now you’re ready to move on to the chains and screws. You want to make sure that these are clean and operating smoothly, so use a white lithium grease to lubricate them regularly. This helps to keep the chain functioning longer and it makes sure that it moves more smoothly and (perhaps more importantly) that it moves more quietly.
Springs are another area that you can and should use a lubricant to keep them clean and well-functioning. You can use a WD-40 to spray these down, including torsion springs, extension springs, and more. You don’t want to replace the springs, but spray liberally with this product and then leave it there. You’ll find that your springs last a whole lot longer.
Finally, weather sealing around your door will start to break down before just about anything else. When you notice that your seal is worn out you want to remove the old one and then install a new one. Make sure you know how the original seal was installed as this is going to affect the way that you install the new one. For example, wood doors require the seal to be removed with a pry bar and installed with roofing nails.
Make Sure it Works Properly
Finally, make sure that your door is working properly. That means you should be using it regularly even if you don’t actually use the garage for anything in particular. Make sure you’re testing out the buttons on each of your openers (if you have multiple handheld devices) and that you’re checking the way that the door opens and closes each time.
You want to check the balance of the door regularly as well. This means not pushing the button but instead disengaging the garage door opener (you can do this by pulling on the release handle on your door) and pulling the door to the halfway position. At this point, release the door and step back to see what happens.
If the door stays then it means your door is well balanced. If it slides up you have too much tension on the springs. If it slides down you have not enough tension on the springs. Either way, you want to call a professional to take care of this part.
When it comes to taking care of your home, there are a number of different tasks that you can and should be doing. And while there are some things about your garage door that should always be left to the professionals (like anything that is under tension) these DIY garage door maintenance tips should help you along your way to keeping your garage door functioning longer.
If you need help from a professional, feel free to reach out to one of the staff here at our garage door company. We offer free estimates, and are able to help you obtain financing.