Your garage is a significant piece of your home and can play many different roles: whether it’s to store and protect your vehicles from the elements or serve as storage for sentimental keepsakes you just don’t know what to do with. It can also serve as an extra layer of protection from thieves or wild animals, but these are only a few examples of why your garage is important and why routine maintenance is a must. Following are ten things any homeowner can do to keep their garage door in tip-top shape.
Observe and take note
Every time you leave for work or to run errands, you have an opportunity to watch your garage door in action. It takes only a moment of your time, but if you keep a keen eye out, you can often spot problem areas whether it’s loose or broken rollers, shaky tracks or rusty springs. Just give yourself a moment to take note of the obvious problems so that you can take care of them before things get worse.
Give it some torque
Often the source of shaking and rattling in older doors is because the bolts holding all the pieces together just came loose. It’s an inevitable occurrence for any piece of hardware with moving parts, so grab a socket wrench or screwdriver and make the rounds. Feel which bolts are loose and give them a few twists, and I bet you’ll eliminate 70% of the potential problems with a few minutes of simple maintenance.
Check your seals and weather stripping
Just like any other door in your home, the garage door has weather stripping to keep the elements out. As with any seal that is consistently exposed to the outside, it tends to wear out over time and can become brittle. If you don’t replace it, you soon may find some unwanted critters creeping around your antique rat rod. You wouldn’t want that now, would you?
Balancing the scales
To offset the strain put on the motorized opener, most garage doors equipped with a counterweight that should keep it balanced. The easy way to test this is to pull the emergency release and manually close the door about halfway. If it stays there, you’re good, if it slams shut, then your counterweight is off, and your garage door is a potential hazard to you and your family. Call an expert garage door company as soon as you can to have them fix it.
Keep on rolling
One of the primary components of your garage door that allow it to function properly are the rollers that allow it to open and close. Most rollers are pretty durable and will usually last about seven years or so, but you also want to check for debris in the track or damage to the roller itself. Fortunately, they’re a fairly inexpensive piece of hardware and can be replaced in moments with the right tools.
Springs are just around the corner
The springs or cables on your garage door unit are under a lot of tension and should only be replaced by licensed professionals, but you can still take a look for yourself to see if they’re rusty or worn.
Lube up the joint
A great routine maintenance habit to get into is to hit your hinges and springs with some good old-fashioned lubricant to keep everything running smoothly as butter. Not only will it loosen up tight rollers or dirty tracks but will clean some of the dirt off the hardware as well.
Stay on track
Your tracks are essential for keeping your garage door’s rollers aligned so that it can provide years of faithful service, so checking them for any obstructions or damage is essential. If your tracks are bent, that is something that should be handled by a professional.
Clean up your act
Be honest, you’ve cleaned every inch of your home on the inside at some point but when was the last time you scrubbed your garage door? Whatever material your door’s made of, aluminum, wood, etc. taking the time to wash it down by hand or by sprayer gives you one more opportunity to check for rust spots, termite damage or broken panels and flaking paint. It’s a worthwhile habit to get into to keep your garage door looking as clean as the rest of your house.
Test it all out
It should go without saying but testing your garage door hardware, and safety sensors are one of the simplest checkups you can do. Most automatic garage doors have a mechanical sensor and a photosensitive sensor that will both stop the door from closing and open it again if anything gets in the way. You can test the mechanical one by laying down something solid like a bucket in the path of the door so that when it makes contact, it stops and goes back up. The laser sensor can be triggered by your foot or a convenient broomstick to accomplish the same goal.
With these tips and a few minutes out of your day, you can inspect your garage door and make sure it stays running in tip-top shape for years to come.
Ran Kroynish has over ten years of experience as a garage door repair professional with Elite Garage Door & Gate Repair. When he’s not fixing garage doors, he likes to share his knowledge and tips with others with a DIY spirit.