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What is preventive maintenance on a garage door?

man lubricating a garage door hinge

Preventative maintenance on a garage door is important because it can help you avoid expensive repairs and get out in front of regular repairs before they become an inconvenience. The thing is most people (at least 9 out of 10) do absolutely no maintenance on their garage door. They push the button without a thought until it doesn’t work one day. Then it’s a mad dash to find a garage door repair company so life can get back to normal. There is a better way. Regular consistent maintenance is the key. Let’s go over what that means.

Balance Test:

Frequency: Once a year

 

This test will let you know how your garage door springs are doing. The springs balance your garage door, and having a balanced garage door is key to other components, including your garage door opener, lasting as long as possible.  In order to perform the balance test on your garage door there are no tools required. All you have to do is disconnect the garage door opener from the door. You only do this with the door in the down or closed position. Pull the emergency handle in order to release the door. Next, lift the garage door halfway up and then let go. The door should be easy to lift ( you should be able to do this with just 1 hand). There should be no binding or stiffness.

Balance Test Results

If your garage door was easy to lift off of the ground and did not move when you let go  then your door is properly balanced. This means you have the right size springs on the door and they are in good shape. 

 

If your door fell to the ground then your springs are weak, and or the wrong size. This is what we refer to as a “heavy” garage door and you should call a professional for diagnosis and repair as soon as possible. The harder the door fell the worse your problem is. 

 

If your garage door continued to rise all by itself the springs are too strong. This is what we refer to as a “hot” door. A hot door will cause your opener to work harder on the way down and will destroy it.  Again, call a professional to address the problem.

Test Garage Door Opener Safety Reversal Systems:

Frequency: once a month 

These tests will test the safety of your garage door opener. 

The first safety reversal system to test is the sensors. If you are not having any issues with your garage door opener closing the door then these should be working just fine. To test them just hit the button to close the door then kick your foot across the threshold in the path of the sensors, your door should reverse. 

 

The next safety test on your opener will be to see if it will reverse under resistance. To perform this test simply lay a 2×4 piece of lumber on the ground where your door closes at. Then hit the button to close the door. Walk with the emergency release handle in your hand as the door travels down in case it does not reverse. When your door makes contact with the 2×4 count one one thousand, two one thousand, by this time the door should reverse. If it does not reverse then pull the emergency handle and disconnect the door from the opener, lift the door and remove the 2×4. If your opener fails either test consult with a proffesional.  

Lubrication

Frequency: Twice a year

When it comes to lubricating your garage door you need to lubricate the hinges and your torsion springs every six months. Your local big box stores will carry a few different brands of garage door lubricant and they will be labeled as such. You can also purchase a spray can of white lithium grease and it will be just as effective and a little bit cheaper. If your door has been neglected for a long time you may need to lubricate a little more often ( whenever it gets squeaky go ahead and lube it again) 

 

By keeping up with these simple routine maintenance procedures you will know ahead of time when your door needs to be serviced by a professional and prevent more serious repairs needing to be done.

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