While most garage doors last for many years, the occasional maintenance problem is bound to crop up. You may be able to make simple repairs on your own, but there are a number of tasks that are best left to professional garage door technicians. In this blog we’ll explore maintenance / repairs you can do on your own and which ones you should hire an expert for.
Repairs and Maintenance You Can Do Yourself
While you shouldn’t attempt any major repairs on your own, there are a handful of minor, maintenance-related items you can tackle yourself. You’ll find a few of the most common DIY garage door repairs below.
Tighten Door Hardware
One of the easiest DIY garage door repairs you can perform yourself is tightening your garage door hardware. This includes parts like hinges, bolts, and nuts. These items can easily shake loose over time due to the vibration of the door.
If you live in an area that regularly experiences extremely high or low temperatures, you may find that your hardware either contracts and expands. These extremes can also play a role in loosening your garage door hardware.
Replace Weather Stripping
If your garage floor is wet near the weather stripping or you can see light under the door, it’s time to replace the weather stripping. Weather stripping plays an important role in keeping your garage at a comfortable temperature year-round and can help prevent the door’s parts from freezing.
Lubricating the moving parts of your garage door every six months plays an important role in extending its lifespan. Before lubricating your door, you’ll want to tighten the hardware, inspect the rollers, check the hinges, and secure the opener chain. Make sure you use a silicone spray or white lithium grease, rather than standard degreasers like WD-40®.
Maintain Safety Sensors
If your garage door won’t close the whole way, there may be an issue with the door’s safety sensors. These project infrared beams parallel to the bottom of the garage door so it doesn’t close on a person, animal, or object in its path. Consider trying the following fixes:
- Adjusting the sensors’ pivot brackets so the photo eyes are parallel to the door and the ground
- Remove anything nearby that might be blocking the sensors, such as tools or equipment
- Remove any cobwebs, dirt, debris, or moisture that may have collected on the photo eyes
Repairs You Shouldn’t Do Yourself
It’s very important not to attempt major garage door repairs on your own, as they can lead to property damage, injuries, or even death. Garage doors can weigh up to 500 pounds, so you don’t want to take any chances. One of the obvious benefits of DIY work is saving money. But if your project goes wrong, you’ll probably spend more on repairs than you’d save by doing it yourself.
Replace Torsion or Extension Springs
Garage door springs play an important role in raising and lowering your door. If you’ve ever wondered how to fix a garage door spring, don’t attempt to do it on your own. Springs are wound under extreme tension, and if they release, it can lead to serious property damage, or even worse, bodily injury. Springs can break down as a result of corrosion or excess weight, so keep an eye on their condition.
Repair Electric Openers
While it may seem simple enough, your electric garage door opener can be a complicated mechanism. Much like the springs, malfunctioning openers can prove dangerous and unpredictable. Avoid property damage or injury by leaving maintenance or replacement tasks to the professionals.
Replacing Cables, Rollers, or Drums
If you’re having trouble with your garage door, the cables, rollers, or drums may be to blame. The cables wind around the drums to pull the door up or unwind from the drums to let the door down. They eventually wear out due to frequent use or can become displaced by unexpected stress. Replacing any of these parts can be complicated and dangerous, so it’s best left to the professionals.
Secure a Detached Door
There are a variety of reasons why garage doors detach from their tracks, such as bad weather or undue stress. If this has happened to you, you may have looked into how to fix a garage door off its track. In some cases, you may be able to lift the rollers back onto the track yourself. However, this takes a lot of strength and can quickly turn into a dangerous situation. A garage door repair professional can determine what caused the rollers to leave the track and how to fix it properly. If you try to handle it on your own (and without identifying the initial cause of the separation), it’s likely to happen again.
How to Prevent Garage Door-Related Accidents
While garage doors (and DIY garage door repair) can be dangerous, there are a number of things you can do to reduce the chances of property damage or injury. These include:
- Testing the door’s safety sensors on a regular basis with an inanimate object
- Monitoring your door’s balance by disconnecting the opener and lifting it halfway by hand
- Protecting children by using keypads and keeping any opener remotes out of reach
- Ensuring the bolts holding the door to the building are tight
- Making sure the door’s emergency release is close at hand for emergencies