Garage doors don’t usually make the preventative maintenance to-do list. There are a lot of different reasons for this:
- You see where your home’s appliances need a bit of DIY maintenance. Vacuuming the HVAC vents when you see pet hair is simple, and so is running a dishwasher cleaner through the machine. Easily visible problems are easier to solve, and you see your appliances upfront every day.
- It’s not routine. Weekly cleaning and maintenance are easy to adapt into a routine. Even quarterly maintenance, like replacing your HVAC’s filter, is getting easier with smart devices and scheduled reminders.
- You’re usually told to stay away from the door’s mechanisms. There’s a good reason for this. Your garage door is the heaviest moving part in your house. The springs that move it up and down are strong, and that makes them extremely dangerous if you accidentally shift them. A lot of repairs can’t and shouldn’t be on a DIY checklist.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t start to incorporate a bit of safe regular maintenance. Even if you’re leery about the door’s internal workings, doing a few regular checks and scheduling maintenance can prolong the functional life of your door. Here’s what you should do:
1. Keep an ear out during operation.
Garage doors don’t operate silently, but they also shouldn’t sound like a car is getting eaten. If you hear grinding or scraping, especially intermittently, that means the parts aren’t aligned. The rollers might be bent, and that means the garage door isn’t securely in its tracks as it moves. Also listen for creaking, since that means the springs might be under too much stress.
You can do this daily as you leave for work. But you’re in the car and might miss some of the details. So schedule a time every month to stand outside of the car and listen to the door as you open and close it.
2. Visually inspect parts for wear.
Garage door parts wear out. They move hundreds of times throughout the year, and they’re also exposed to the elements. Check for rust wherever there is bare metal. Look for broken or worn cable threads near the bottom roller bracket, and check for any discoloration that might point at overstretching.
General wear and tear isn’t the only problem. You should also inspect the door for damage. This can include animals chewing through the bottom corner to gain access to your garage, bent panels, or cracks.
Visual inspection is both an interior and exterior chore. Tie it to any regular maintenance that has you examining the outside of your house, like cleaning the gutters or trimming the landscaping.
3. Keep the area around the door clean.
The door can’t work if it’s caught in a broom handle. But it will try to work if something small is in the way. Both scenarios can wear down your door motor. The parts are designed only to handle a certain amount of equally distributed weight, and throwing that off either strains the motor or tells the door to stay shut. If old Christmas lights or shopping bags get wound around the cables, that’s even worse.
Instead of worrying about damage, just keep the area clear. It can be tempting to use that extra space, especially since it’s near the front of your garage. If you keep finding things a bit too close to the doors mechanisms, install shelves a safe but convenient distance away. That will make it easier for everyone in your house to put things further away from the door.
4. Make sure the safety features work.
New garage doors have a variety of safety features. These include motion sensors that interrupt the door’s motion if it detects something nearby or even a light sensor that stops the door if someone crosses in front of the beam of light. Even if you have an older model, it’s probably designed to halt if it feels something in the way. Every year or six months, check to make sure these safety features are still operational.
Even if you maintain a strict inspection routine, garage doors eventually need repairs. Contact us at Advanced Garage Solutions here if you see damage or if your door isn’t operating as quietly as it used to.