Your garage door is a pretty simple mechanism, really. After all, it is just a door.
But it is a little more complex than the other doors to your house, so it deserves a little more attention. Fortunately, you can insure its safe and reliable operation in just a few minutes a month.
Before checking the proper functioning of your garage door, you need to know that some elements of the door system – the torsion springs above the door, cables, brackets, and anything else attached to those springs – are under extreme tension. Improper handling of those parts can result in serious injury. They should only be adjusted by qualified personnel using proper tools.
The very first step in your periodic maintenance is checking your door’s balance.
In performing this check, you will need to start with the door closed. If you have a garage door opener, you will need to use the release mechanism that allows you to open and close the door manually. When opening the door manually, it should move smoothly, with little resistance. Lift the door until it is open three or four feet. If it is properly balanced, it will stay open at that point. If it does not, an adjustment is required. Remember – that adjustment is not a task for the untrained.
If the balance of the door is correct, you can move on to checking the auto-reverse mechanism.
Open the door. Then place a block of wood on the floor in the middle of the door. A piece of 2” x 4” lying on the 4” side is the appropriate size. The length doesn’t matter. It just needs to be as long as the door is thick. Push the mechanism to close the door. Expect the door to reverse when it contacts the piece of wood. If the door does not reverse, the opener needs to be adjusted, repaired or replaced. This is not an adjustment of the door, so you may be able to make adjustments yourself. Read the owner’s manual and decide for yourself.
Related to the auto-reverse function is the force test.
For the force test, hold the bottom of the door as it is closing. From the prior tests, you know it will auto-reverse. Now you are checking how much force is exerted before the auto-reverse activates. If the door doesn’t reverse after meeting moderate resistance, it needs adjustment. This is also an adjustment to the opener, so you may feel comfortable making the necessary adjustments yourself.
Take a look at all of the mechanical parts of the door for any signs of wear or damage. That would include the torsion springs, cables, rollers, pulleys, and hinges between the panels of the door. If anything looks suspicious, schedule an appointment with a qualified garage door repairman.
In just a few minutes you have completed your inspection, and you can finish by lubricating all metal moving parts. An oil Like 3 in One is a good choice for garage door lubrication needs. Do not lubricate any plastic moving parts.
Don’t ignore these simple maintenance tasks. Taking a few minutes each month to maintain your garage door can extend the life of it by years.