Like most homeowners, you probably have a garage. However, like many, you may not give its door the attention it deserves. Being the largest moving part of any home, the garage door is susceptible to all kinds of problems. If one of those problems does enough damage to break it, the results can be expensive as well as frustrating. So consider the following 10 tips that are vital‑yet easy‑to keeping your garage in top shape.
1. Watch and Listen
Whenever you use your garage door, be sure to watch it go up and down the entire way and keep an eye out for anything but a nice, smooth motion. The entire thing should move symmetrically too, without one side taking longer than the other.
You also want to listen for any alarming sounds. All garages make some noise, of course, but it should be consistent and nothing that suggests moving parts are scraping or grinding against one another.
2. Tighten the Hardware
If any one piece of hardware gets loose, even the tiniest component could cause a big problem. But when you consider that most homeowners use their garage door at least 1000 times in a given year, it’s easy to understand how all that vibrating can eventually loosen a bolt or bracket. So just be sure to check out your hardware from time to time and use a socket wrench to tighten everything up.
3. Assess the Door’s Balance
Without a fine‑tuned counterweight, no garage door is going to work very well. This lack of balance forces the opener to become overworked, which means it eventually breaks.
To assess your door’s balance, activate the release handle and then manually move your garage door until it’s halfway up. If the counterweight is working properly, your door should have no problem holding that position on its own. Should you find the opposite, have a professional work on fixing it.
4. Inspect the Rollers
You should inspect your garage door’s rollers no less than twice a year. Because they’re usually made from either nylon or steel, most will last for about seven years before they need to be replaced. But you may use your door enough that they’ll need to be replaced sooner, or other circumstances could affect them. In any case, by inspecting them regularly, you’ll know if your rollers are damaged and in need of being replaced.
Fortunately, replacing them couldn’t be much easier. Just remove one of the roller brackets to swap out the roller in question and then put the bracket back into place.
5. Replace Weatherstripping
A closed garage door won’t be nearly as effective if it doesn’t have weatherstripping providing a secure seal. Because of all the abuse it takes, you should check your stripping often to ensure it’s not brittle or otherwise broken. When you need to replace it, just head to a home improvement store where you can find it sold by the foot.
6. Apply Lubricant
When you think about all the moving parts involved in opening and closing your garage door, it becomes easy to see why lubrication is so important. Apply white lithium grease to the chain or screw on your opener and then spray the overhead springs with a specialized lubricant.
7. Examine the Cables
Take a look at the cables toward the bottom of your roller brackets to ensure they aren’t suffering from frays or other kinds of damage. If you notice anything wrong, call in a garage door technician. These high‑tension cables can cause all kinds of damage in the wrong hands and could potentially injure you very badly.
8. Test the Safety Features
If your garage door doesn’t have both mechanical and photocell safety features, you need to think about replacing it for a more modern version. The mechanical component can be tested by putting an object on the threshold of your door. When closing it, the door should come into contact with the object and reverse course.
The photocell devices toward the bottom of your rollers cast an invisible beam across the width of your garage door. So begin closing the door and then put your foot through the beam to ensure it will go back up immediately.
9. Check the Tracks
Your garage door needs nice clean tracks to operate correctly. So check it for any debris or other materials that could possibly cause a problem. Also, check to see that the tracks aren’t bent in any way or you’ll need a professional to fix them.
10. Clean and Inspect the Door
Don’t forget to actually inspect your garage door for anything from chipped paint to rust. If you clean it regularly, you’ll have the perfect opportunity to do so.
Without a properly working garage door, life can become frustrating quickly. Fortunately, a garage door that works well doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or time if you follow the above advice.