The maintenance of an overhead garage door is not something we generally think about unless something goes wrong. As they are used quite regularly, it is best to have some type of maintenance plan in place to ensure the door opens and closes the way it should. I did not do this and as a result, when the spring broke on the door and I could not get my car out to go to work, I really felt stupid. So to save you the trouble and to let you learn from my mistakes, I am passing along the information the Garage Door Repairman gave to me.
Regularly check all track hardware for rust or loose bolts.
Every fall and winter, you should check all your mounting hardware and the door frame track for rust, dirt, signs of stress or loose hardware. One of the reasons my door spring broke was because the track hardware was loose from the ceiling and as the tracks were not sitting parallel, the spring was under too much pressure and that, along with age and rust, caused the spring to stress and break. If I had checked the hardware and mounting frame, I would have noticed my door was crooked and possibly save me some money in repair costs.
Lubricate the track wheels.
As your door goes up and down, the side-mounted wheels must travel up and down inside the track to operate the door. To help the wheels roll easily, spray them with a burst of WD-40. This will clean the wheels, lubricate the bearings and condition the track, allowing easy operation of the wheels.
Clean and remove all spider webs, dirt, and dust from track.
Other than keeping the track parallel, make sure the track is clean and rust free. If there is dirt or rust in the track, your door will not open easily and that will cause stress on the springs, as well as your back or garage door opener.
Clean and lubricate the springs regularly.
The springs must contract and expand every time you open the door. Keeping them lubricated and rust free will insure they operate for a long time. My repair man told me a busted spring is the number one cause of garage door failure. The problem can become very costly, as the springs are so powerful, that when they do break, they can spring toward your car or the ceiling, causing even more damage. A broken spring can prevent you from even opening the door to fix it. Luckily, we were able to open our door just high enough for the repair man to crawl under it and remove the busted spring.
Check the inside and outside of the door for damage, rust or cracks.
If you have a roll-up door, the hinges between the panels should be kept clean and lubricated for easing rolling. A shot of WD-40 works great and will allow the door to roll as it was designed to. On flat panel doors, you need to check for warping, bowing, cracks or splits. Any one of these problems can place extra pressure on the springs or frame and result in a broken door.
Check the automatic door opener.
Many people leave the opening and closing of their garage door to an automatic garage door opener. If you have an automatic opener, check it for smooth operation and replace batteries as needed. Check the power cord for cuts or chew marks (from rodents) and etc. Make sure your garage door opener is rated for the weight of your garage door. Older doors were really heavy and many of the new openers cannot handle the weight of an older door. This will cause the opener to wear out and fail much sooner than it should. Check the HP rating on your opener to ensure it can handle the weight of the door, springs, rails, etc.
With proper maintenance, a garage door and it hardware should last twenty to thirty years. As mine was installed in 1972 and I have no idea when it was last repaired, I should be grateful it lasted that long. The lesson I did learn throughout the whole experience was garage door systems should be checked periodically, especially the springs!
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