Your garage door is one of your home’s largest moving elements. It doesn’t require a lot of upkeep; you only need to tune it up a couple of times per year and take care of repairs when the need arises. Depending on how handy you are with garage door maintenance and repairs, you may be able to handle some of these tasks on your own. Don’t know how to fix a garage door? That’s okay, too. You can always hire a professional to do it.
Whichever way you decide to go, make sure you take care of repairs immediately and stay diligent with maintenance services. You might think it’s not that important, but a malfunctioning door can threaten the safety of your children and pets and could prevent you from getting where you need to go. Don’t take the risk — it’s not worth it to your family’s safety or daily routine.
Here are seven repair and garage door maintenance DIY tips (and items you should never attempt on your own) to make sure things continue operating smoothly!
#1: Keep An Eye Out
Before you try anything with your garage door, the very first thing you should do is take a good look at it to see what needs to be done, if anything. Open and close the door and watch carefully to see how it moves. Does it wobble? Is it stiff? Does it make any grinding noises or does it glide smoothly down the tracks? This information will help you understand what’s going on, and which parts of the door need attention.
Garage doors should move effortlessly up and down the track. To keep it that way, you need to lubricate the moving parts of the door often, including the chain, screws, overhead springs, etc. Even if the door moves smoothly, you should still apply additional lubrication about every three months (or more, depending on your climate). The springs, tracks, rollers, and hinges will need to be greased most frequently, as they experience the most stress.
You’ll know your door needs lubrication if it squeaks. This might seem like nothing more than an annoyance, but can cause worse damage down the road. Start by cleaning the tracks. If you can’t get all the dirt removed with a damp rag, you can use the hose of a vacuum. With the door closed, apply a lithium-based grease or garage door-specific lubricant to spray the hinges, rollers, bearing plates, springs lock, armbar, and rail top. Refer to the owner’s manual to see how often to lubricate your opener.
#3: Ensure Proper Balance
The balance of your garage door is the next most important thing to worry about after lubrication. If your garage door is unbalanced, it will likely break sooner rather than later. But how do you check your garage door’s balance?
It’s pretty simple. Just open and close the door manually to see whether or not it moves uniformly down both sides of the track. If it doesn’t, your garage door springs are likely causing an imbalance. Don’t make any attempt to fix garage door springs yourself. These parts have a significant amount of stored energy, and one wrong move could cause them to snap and leave you with serious injuries. Let a professional handle this job — they know how to fix garage door springs safely.
#4: Inspect Hardware
Many things activate simultaneously after you press the button to open or close your garage door. Whether it’s the tracks, the cables, the safety features, or other parts, all the hardware has to be working properly in order for the door to function correctly as an interdependent mechanism.
Conduct a quick inspection periodically to check for wear and tear. Most damage is easy to spot. For instance, you can easily see when your door is getting stuck due to dirt buildup on the tracks. Rollers made of nylon eventually chip and crack. Bracket screws can come loose. The rubber strip on the bottom of the door can become brittle or worn.
It’s worth repeating: Never attempt to fix a garage door cable or spring by yourself. If you find something wrong with your springs, leave it to a professional to handle this dangerous task.
#5: Replace Rollers
Faulty door rollers manifest as grinding sounds when you open or close the door. To replace the rollers, unplug the opener and unhook the door arm from the carriage. For the top rollers, use a socket wrench to remove the bolts from the brackets. Once the brackets are removed, the roller will come right off and the new one can easily slide into place. Secure by refastening the brackets to the new rollers.
For the bottom rollers, you’ll need to bend the track with some pliers just enough so that you can slide the roller out of the bracket with the door off the track. The new roller can be popped into place. Then, put the panel back into the track. This process can be tedious and difficult for the inexperienced. If you’re not comfortable attempting this yourself, play it safe and hire a professional.
#6: Test Safety Features
Once all repairs and maintenance are complete, the door needs to be tested — especially safety features like auto reverse. Test the sensors by placing an object, like a box, under the door to ensure that it goes back up when there is an obstruction.
If you find there’s something wrong (or something you don’t know how to address), hire an expert door technician to handle the job for you.
#7: Wash and Tidy
If you want your door to stay looking nice in the long run, give it some love now and again! Different door types require unique types of washing care, so make sure you’re familiar with the proper method of cleaning for your door type.
In most cases, you should avoid the use of abrasives or harsh detergents, which can damage the paint. A gentle dish soap and a sponge or a soft cloth will suffice. You can use a hose, but are advised against using a pressure washer, as this can also damage the surface. Finish the job with a high-quality car wax, using it according to the label directions.
#8: Hire a Professional
Truth be told, garage doors are complicated and rather dangerous to work on. The springs and cables could kill you if improperly managed. That’s why we strongly urge you to leave it to the professionals — that’s us!
At Door Dorks, we know how to handle your garage doors, making them good as new! If you’re not sure how to fix a garage door, rest assured that we know our way around cables, springs, tracks, and everything garage door related. So if it’s time for routine maintenance or repairs, give us a call. We are more than happy to help!