There are 2 very important maintenance items to be performed on your garage door once a year to ensure that it is running smoothly and in proper balance. It is vital for the garage door to be properly maintained because it directly affects the performance and life-span of the garage door opener! These convenient devices have caused the front door to become a second mode of entrance to most homes. I have had customers that do not even carry house keys anymore, because they always use the garage door! However, most garage door openers are made of plastic- and only designed to “guide” the door up and down. So here are a few tips to help you make sure your garage door is in good shape…
1. The most obvious thing you can do is lubricate the hinges. I recommend using a heavy-duty silicone spray (DO NOT USE WD-40). Note: if you have small, black, plastic hinges- no lubrication is necessary and skip this.
Most hinges are metal and the two halves of the hinge rub together. With the garage door all the way closed, spray each of the hinges on the outside of the hinge- where the metal meets metal. Another good thing to do at this point is to visually inspect the other hardware components for damage or wear, including: rollers, cables, drums, and other brackets to make sure all of the bolts/screws are tight.
2. The most important thing you can check is the balance of your garage door. This refers to the ability of the springs to counter-balance the weight of the garage door. When the springs start to fatigue, they will no longer be able to completely balance the garage door. This will cause the door to become heavy, which will slowly destroy your garage door opener.
To check the balance: Disengage the garage door from the opener by pulling the red-handled emergency release cord. This will allow you to move the garage door independently from the opener (manually). Then, move it up and down by hand a few times to see if there are any obvious sources of friction. If the door feels heavy, call a trained garage door repair technician. To test the balance raise the door until the 2nd roller from the top is in the radius of the tracks (the bottom of the door will be about knee-high above the floor). In this position, most of the door will be in the vertical position- therefore, most of the weight will want to come down with gravity. The springs should stop this from happening! So if the door slides down, or slams down, this indicates that the springs are fatigued- and you should plan to have a trained technician come to inspect it!
You can see a how-to video on our website: Spokane Garage Door Repair
Do not put grease in the tracks! This will only make the system function worse over time. Simply lubricate the hinges, visually inspect the other hardware, and check the balance on your garage door!
It also can’t hurt to have a garage door professional perform a safety inspection every 5-10 years to ensure that you do not have any issues that could prove to be dangerous! Remember, the garage door is basically a large, heavy, moving wall that we use more often than our tooth brush!!