The secret to avoiding malfunctions on the largest moving part in your home garage door is undertaking preventative maintenance. Your garage door is bound to malfunction every once in a while, but taking preventative care and knowing what to do to avoid these malfunctions can save you big on repair costs.
Here are important tips to guide you when your garage door has stopped working.
Always Observe Your Door’s Operation
This is arguably the most important step you can take in preventing your door from malfunctioning. Every time you use your door, look and listen to its operating mechanism to check for things being out of place.
If the door is not moving as smoothly as usual, or if it is starting to make some weird sounds like grinding or squealing noises, some serious problem may be on the way. If you also spot loose bolts and nuts or notice that both sides of the system don’t look symmetrical, your garage door may soon malfunction.
Small issues such as loose bolts and nuts are easy to handle by yourself. For other anomalies, it’s best to call a professional for a detailed inspection to prevent future malfunctions.
Test Your Garage Door’s Balance
If your garage door is out of balance, the garage door opener will be forced to work harder than it is supposed to, causing it to malfunction within a short time. To avoid this, make sure you test your garage door’s balance once in a while.
You can do this by disconnecting the opener with the release handle and moving the door halfway up. If the door doesn’t stay put when you release it at this position, the springs are improperly balanced and need professional repair to balance them as soon as possible.
Remember, spring adjustments and repair should always be left to professionals.
Lubricate Your Door’s Moving Parts
One of the best ways to avoid common garage door malfunctions is by ensuring all moving parts are moving seamlessly. Lubrication reduces friction in the rollers, hinges, bearings and pulleys, keeping the system operating smoothly without noises or drag.
You should also check your tracks during lubrication to ensure that they are not bent, loose or full of debris. The rollers should equally be free of cracks, chippings and wear and tear.
Test Your Auto-Reverse Safety Mechanism
Most doors have either a mechanical or photo-eye safety mechanism. If your door has a mechanical system, simply place an object such as a brick on the ground exactly in the door’s path. Close your door and note whether it automatically reverses direction after touching the brick. If it doesn’t, the safety mechanism is signaling a malfunction and a professional should inspect it as soon as possible.
If your door features the photo-eye safety mechanism, simply activate it to close. Then pass an object under the door in line of sight of the photo eye. If the safety mechanism is working well, the door should automatically change direction and open instead of dropping on the object.
If the test fails, you can try to clean the photo eyes or align them such that they face each other directly and at the same angle. If this also fails, contact a professional for repairs.
These are some of the best tips on how to avoid common garage door malfunctions. Preventative maintenance not only helps you save big on costly repairs, but also prolongs the life of your garage door. If you are needing more information on deciding if your garage door needs a replacement or just repairs, check out our Garage Door 911 article.
It’s advisable to have your door inspected once in a while by a professional to avoid small and catastrophic malfunctions alike. If you have an issues that may require a professional to look at, check out our article on the costs to expect when it comes to repairing a garage door.
Safety Tips When Troubleshooting a Garage Door
When your garage door is malfunctioning and you are troubleshooting the issue, always practice these basic safety tips to reduce your risk of injury.
Never Leave the Door in the Open Position When You Know It’s Faulty
This can cause a safety hazard for you, your family and others who may live in your home. Children and pets are especially at risk of getting hurt by a malfunctioning garage door.
Leaving your garage door open also means there’s more room for critters to enter your house through its back entrance. Any time an animal has access to your home, there’s a chance they’ll make themselves at home—and that could mean making nests or chewing on expensive items, or even wiring.
Do Not Try to Repair the Door If You Do Not Have the Necessary Skills or Equipment
If you’re not experienced, consider hiring a professional to do it for you. Realize that if you don’t have the right equipment or if the problem is more complicated than anticipated, it will take longer for them to diagnose and fix the problem. However, if you have the right tools and know what to look for in your garage door’s malfunctioning parts, then there’s no reason why you can’t do this job yourself.
If it is as something as serious as failing garage door torsion springs, you should leave that to the professionals. For more information on torsion spring maintenance, check out our article here.
Keep Your Hands Clear of the Moving Section of the Door
Your garage door is a heavy and dangerous piece of machinery, and you need to treat it with the respect it deserves. Do not place your hands or any other body part in the way of the moving section of the door so they do not get caught in the door or crushed.
If You Have an Automatic Garage Door Opener, Make Sure You Disconnect It Before Beginning any Repairs
If you have an automatic garage door opener, make sure you disconnect it before beginning any repairs.
To start, disconnect the power to the door by flipping off your circuit breaker or turning off a switch located near your garage. Next, make sure that the door is in an open position and that there’s nothing obstructing its path as it lowers down to its fully open position. Finally, ensure there are not objects on the ground or in your garage which might block it from opening entirely.