You probably use your garage door every day, but when was the last time you cleaned it? A garage door is just like any other part of your house – it needs to be cleaned and tuned-up to keep it safe and working properly! The average homeowner doesn't usually know what the safety warning signs are when it comes to their garage door, nor do they know how to clean and maintain it!
Landmark repairs and replaces failed garage door openers for our home warranty customers. We have noticed that many of these garage door opener breakdowns could have been prevented with a little bit of maintenance. Here's what you can do to make your garage door last longer and keep you and your family safe.
While you're completing this list, make sure that you have unplugged your garage door opener, you're wearing gloves, and you do not touch the lift cable or torsion spring. If you need help on the lift cable or torsion spring of the garage door, call a technician. Home warranty coverage will repair or replace the mechanical parts of garage door opener if it fails from normal wear and tear, but doesn't cover the garage door.
First thing you should do when you're tuning up your garage door is a visual inspection. Look over the roller tracks, rollers, and brackets. If there are any parts of the garage door that are spray painted red, or have warning labels, do not touch them. If you notice something wrong on the torsion spring or cable, call a certified garage door technician (or if you have home warranty coverage, your company) to help you. Garage door springs are under tremendous tension, and you could hurt yourself if you try to repair something. Leave it for the professionals, or your home warranty coverage technician.
Tighten Nuts and Bolts on Garage Door
Since your garage door has moving parts, the hardware could become loose over time. Check to see if any of the nuts or bolts on the garage door and opener need to be tightened.
Inspect Roller Tracks and Replace and Clean
Next, check the roller tracks and rollers themselves. If you see a build up of dirt in the roller track, you can clean it out with brake cleaner (wear gloves!). If the rollers on the track are bent or broken, they should be replaced as soon as possible. If you notice a problem with the bottom roller, call a certified technician (or if you have home warranty coverage, your company). The bottom roller is connected to the lift cable and can hurt you.
Check Lift Cable for Fraying
Finally, check the lift cable for any fraying or broken strands. Once again, this cable is under a lot of tension. If you notice that it is breaking, call a technician who can help you replace it.
A garage door is extremely heavy, and the spring that helps to lift and lower the door is powerful. Although most new doors (made after 1993) have added safety features, it's always a good idea to test and see if they are working.
Check the Door's Balance
The first thing to do is test and see if the balance is off on the door. A balanced door is less likely to crush something, and will make sure your opener isn't working too hard to lift and lower the door. You can do this easily.
1. Unhook the door from the opener, only while the door is closed.
2. Raise the door halfway (waist height)
3. If the door rises, the torsion spring is too tight. If the door falls, the spring is too loose. This is a job for a garage door technician- call them as soon as possible.
4. Hook the garage door back up to the opener.
Check the Photo Electronic Eye
All modern garage door openers have a photo-electronic eye that will stop the door from going down if something is pushed/runs in front of the photo-beam. You can test to see if this feature is working properly by completing these steps:
- Stand outside of the garage door and push the button for the door to close.
- As it is closing, move a broom (or pool noodle - something that won't break if the door doesn't work) in front of the electronic eye.
- The door should reverse. If it does not, clean the eye off with a dry cloth and make sure the two photo beams are level and pointing at each other. If it still doesn't, and you have home warranty coverage, call for a technician.
Check the Auto Reverse Feature
Another safety feature a garage door has is to auto reverse when it comes in contact with an object. It's easy to test this feature too.
1. Place a strong bucket underneath the garage door.
2. Push the button to close the garage door
3. The door should hit the bucket and reverse. If it doesn't, and you have home warranty coverage, call your home warranty company to get it repaired.
Lubricate the Garage Door Springs
For this part, make sure you know what kind of garage door opener you have. You could have a screw-drive, belt drive or chain drive operated machine. A screw drive uses a large threaded rod to lower and raise the door. A chain drive looks a lot like a bike chain that pulls the door up and down. A belt drive is a steel enforced belt that lowers and raises the door. Home warranty coverage covers all of these as long as they meet current safety standards.
If you have a screw drive or chain drive, you should lubricate the chain with a silicone-based lubricant. Do not lubricate the tracks or nylon rollers, as these can cause the door to slip.
The springs, hinges and bearings also need to be lubricated every 6 months. You can find a garage lubricant at your local repair supply store.
A Garage Door Opener and Home Warranty Coverage
If you have home warranty coverage, your garage door opener will be repaired or replaced as long as you maintain it properly and it fails from normal wear and tear. Home warranty coverage takes care of the photo eye-sensors and switches, as well as the motor, carriage, push arm and receiver. If your garage door opener stops working, and you have home warranty coverage, call Landmark and open a service request. Landmark will send out a trained technician who can help you repair or replace your garage door opener for a small service call fee.