Garage Doors: Maintenance and Repair

Garage doors are, at their most basic, simple mechanisms. They are a sum of many parts though. You have cables, pulleys, springs, wheels and panels. The usual culprit with garage door problems, while it can be simple, is usually a touch complicated because it is an amalgamation of many small problems.

Routine Maintenance

The best way to avoid garage repairs is with routine maintenance. A good place to start with garage door maintenance is with the rails. Make sure the rails are free of dirt and grease. Wipe the rails down with a cloth. Once clean, the rails should be lubricated using a graphite lubricant. Stay away from oil or grease because this type of lubricant tends to gum up and trap dirt, making the rollers in the track stick.

While you have the graphite out, spray some in the lock mechanism to keep it operating smoothly. While at the lock, check the lock bars and make sure that they go in the jamb holes. If they don’t, they can be adjusted at the lock mechanism or at the jambs themselves. This is usually accomplished by loosening a few screws and realigning the mechanism.

Check the panel hinges. They should be secure and free from rust. If rusty, clean the hinges using a rust inhibitor. If the screws are loose or missing, tighten or replace. Use light lubricating oil in the hinges.

After you oil the panel hinges oil the wheels in the rail. Wipe any excess so the oil doesn’t gum up the tracks. Make sure that the rollers turn freely. Standing inside the garage, raise and lower the door and observe the wheels. They should rotate freely through there travel. If they don’t and you can’t free them up with lubrication, you should consider replacement.

Make sure you check the rails and hardware that attaches the rails to the garage itself. Any loose or missing screws or bolts need to be replaced.

Paint is there on your garage door not as just a decorative touch, but to protect the wood. Any loose paint should be scraped away and the door repainted. The same goes for windows. If your garage door has windows, replace any broken or cracked panes.

Door Springs

There are two types of springs found on garage doors: torsion springs and extension springs. Torsion springs usually come in pairs; when one goes bad, replace the other because it will soon follow. Usually a professional is needed to replace a tension spring because of the danger involved. People have been seriously hurt and even killed when trying to replace a tension spring. If you want to tackle this job yourself, find a manual that will walk you through the process step by step and by all means, rent the proper tools.

Replacement of extension springs can be easier, but there is still some hazard. When the garage door is down, there is a lot of potentially deadly force on the springs. Also, the door itself is heavy. Once released from the springs, the door can close quickly with deadly consequences to whomever might be in the way. Here is how to replace extension springs:
� Raise the door to the fully open position. Use either C-clamps or vise grips under the bottom most roller to keep the door in the up position. Make sure you use clamps or vice grips on both sides.
� Remove the broken spring. At this time, check the pulley. Replace the pulley if worn.
� Using the unbroken side as a guide, weave the cable through the sheave attaching the spring and cable.
� After you complete the broken side, replace the unbroken spring the same way.

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