When the weather turns warm and nice we use our garage doors more often, so doing a bit of DIY garage door maintenance can keep you door running smooth and safe while extending the life of parts which can wear out early. Your garage door is the largest moving part in your entire home, and is used multiple times per day at any hour and in all seasons. To keep your garage door operating smoothly for decades to come, it’s very important that you take the time to perform regular preventive care and maintenance. Here are 10 things that all homeowners can do:

1. Observe the Door Movement

The most important preventive step you can take is to observe your garage door in action when you use it. Is it moving smoothly or is it jerky in places? Does it operate silently or does it make grinding or scraping noises? Do both sides  (left & right sides) of the system (springs, pulleys and cables) look symmetrical?

2. Tighten up the Hardware

The average garage door moves up and down over 500 times a year. That’s a lot of movement and vibration, which can loosen the hardware. Examine and tighten all hinges, roller brackets and bolts with a socket wrench.

3. Test the Garage Door Balance

If your garage door is not properly balanced, the garage door opener will have to work harder, and it won’t last as long. After you disconnect the opener by pulling the release handle (usually a red cord), manually move the door about halfway up. If it doesn’t stay in place (balance), the counterweight system (springs) are improperly balanced. Garage door spring adjustment is best left to the professionals.

4. Inspect and Replace the Rollers

The rollers, whether metal, nylon, or plastic need to be inspected twice a year and replaced every five years or so, and even more if you use your garage door many times a day. Make sure the rollers are turning (rolling) as the door goes up and down. Worn, chipped or cracked rollers should be replaced as soon as possible. You may try doing this by removing and reinstalling any roller brackets that are not directly attached to the cable system, but most people call a professional just to be safe.

5. Replace the Weatherstripping

If the rubber weather seal strip on the bottom of your door is brittle or cracked, replace it right away to keep the elements out of your house. Weatherstripping is sold by the foot at hardware and home improvement stores. Just cut to size and insert into the grooves with the wide angle of the flange inside the door.

6. Lubricate Moving Parts

Keeping your garage door parts moving freely will add years of operation to your system – and it takes just 10 minutes a few times per year! Use a manufacturer approved lithium grease on the opener’s chain or screw, and a spray lubricant to coat all other moving parts. 365Magic Lube

7. Check the Cables

You should avoid the high-tension cables that lift your door,  they have enough force to cause severe injury or worse. You can visually check their condition so you know when to hire a pro. Check for broken strands and damage near the bottom roller bracket.

8. Test the Auto-Reverse Safety Features

There are two mechanisms: mechanical and photocell. In order to test the mechanical feature, place a piece of wood, phone book, or brick on the ground in the path of the door. When the door coming down and touches the object, it should reverse direction and go back up again. To test the second, the photoelectric system with beams at each side, close your door and just pass your leg in the door’s path. Your door should reverse. Use good safety practice to avoid being injured by any malfunction. If your opener is more than 20 years old, it may lack this basic safety features – and so it’s probably time to get safe and buy a new garage door opener. Click here to see new units.

9. Clear & Clean the Tracks

Make sure the tracks on either side of the door are free from debris and use a level (or at least observe) to check the plumb. Any major adjustments to tracks must be done by a professional garage door technician.

10. Inspect Your Garage Door Panels

Examine the door itself. Wood doors need to be checked for water damage and warp, chipped or peeling paint and stain-fade. Check metal doors for rust spots that need to be sanded, primed and painted. A few times every year wash your garage door regularly with a mild all-purpose cleaner at the same time you do your car. Remember,  on average your garage door makes up approximately 30% of the exterior of your house, so you no doubt want to looking good and working quietly and safely. If you don’t have time to do the above, call a us to schedule a tune-up service call. Just mention our blog and receive 10% off! Here are more helpful DIY garage door repair tips from Popular Mechanics: www.popularmechanics.com/home/outdoor-projects/how-to/a3403/garage-door-repair-tips/

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