The garage door is the largest moving object in a home. An improperly adjusted garage door spring and opener can exert strong and deadly forces and might not reverse the garage door in an emergency. The garage door counterbalance springs should be properly adjusted in order for the safety reverse system to function properly. Thus, proper installation and maintenance are extremely important in order for the garage door/opener to operate smoothly and safely.
The Door # One team does not recommend that you stick your hands into a loaded spring or try to readjust a tensioned cable, but—taking the proper precautions—you can make small adjustments and ensure your garage door/operator are properly lubricated. This type of ongoing maintenance goes a long way in preventing damage to your door and operator and keeping your family and pets safe from injury.
SAFETY NOTE: Before doing any maintenance on your door or operator please ensure the machine is unplugged.
1. Checking the Balance
NEVER pull the manual release cord when the door is in the up position. This could cause the door to fall down if it is not properly balanced. The stored energy in the spring system along with the weight of the door can be very unforgiving, and if it’s not approached with the proper tools and knowledge, injury and expensive repairs may result.
Once the door is in the down position, pull the manual release cord and lock it into the open position (See Figure 1). Then, unplug or, if you have a deluxe wall station, put the operator into the lock position—this will prevent anyone from accidently operating the door while you are servicing it.
Lift the door by the handles. The door should lift with ease and stay at the mid point. If the door slides slowly down and doesn’t thump when it reaches the ground, there’s no need to worry about the balance of the door, but if the door is either so heavy it’s difficult to lift or it bangs heavily to the ground, it’s time to have the garage door springs professionally balanced.
2. Checking for Loose Screws
Take a good look at all of the garage door’s hinges. Most doors are fastened with self tapping lag bolts and rarely come loose; however, the hinges on some wooden doors are fastened with carriage bolts with a flat crown on the outside door face and a 7/16 nut on the inside. The door sections will separate as the door goes up and around the curve, causing the nuts to gradually start spinning off. Snug any nuts up to just a little more than finger tight so that the sections can still move and the head of the bolt doesn’t crack the exterior of the door face.
Check and tighten all the lags and bolts on the tracks and on the support brackets, both the back and the operator mounts. Inspect the cables, but don’t run your fingers on them without wearing gloves. Make sure all of the support struts are secure and that both the top and bottoms fixtures are snug.
3. Lubricating the Door
Everyone has an opinion about which type of lubricant is best—WD-40®, silicone, motor oil—but most manufacturers recommend motor oil. Whatever you choose, just be sure not to use any kind of grease, as grease hardens when it gets cold and attracts dirt/dust, which can cause the rollers to jam up.
Spray a little lubricant on the tracks, rollers and springs, and use a liberal amount of lubrication on the drums. Run the door up and down a few times manually, and this will lubricate the cables. You may also put a little lubrication on the operator rail, but keep your vehicle out of the garage for awhile so that the lubricant does not drip on your car.
4. Checking the Safety Sensors
Plug the machine back in, and press the remote or the wall switch to send the door up and then back down. As it’s coming down, block the beam between the 2 photo cells, and the door should stop/go back up. If the door won’t go down, the photo cells are out of alignment and need to be adjusted. Or, there could be an obstruction.
5. Checking the Force Sensitivity
With the door in the up position, place a 2x4 or something with about 2” of height on the ground in the path of the door. Send the door down again, and the door should stoop and reverse when it hits the obstruction.
If any of these systems are failing, your door and operator should be checked and serviced by a qualified technician, and the technicians at Door # One would be glad to help with any of your garage door issues. Book a service appointment today!