If you are reading this, chances are, your garage door just broke or is in desperate need of service. And if that’s not enough, now you have to determine if it is something minor enough for you to handle yourself or if it is a job best left to the professionals.
The first answer is easy. If it is more than applying lubrication or programming controllers, you should call an expert. The risks far outweigh the potential of a positive outcome.
There are many things to consider before rolling out the old toolbox and tacking the issue yourself.
- Many of the components on your garage door are under immense amounts of tension.
- Often, repairs to a garage door or opener require a particular order in which each step is taken. You may take all the proper steps to properly repair your garage door but if they were not performed in the correct order, you may not get a desirable result.
- In most cases, the parts required for the repair are proprietary to your garage door’s (or garage door opener’s) application. Using the wrong parts could cause malfunction, injury, damage or loss of warranty coverage.
How to Fix Your Garage Door Yourself
First, I would like to cover the things that you can handle yourself. As discussed earlier, applying lubrication and programming radio devices (remotes, keypads, vehicle HomeLink systems, etc.), are “novice” skill level tasks that can be done safely yourself.
There are four common wearable components on a garage door. The first is your spring(s). Springs are under a great deal of tension and pressure so it is crucial that you are very careful never to touch the spring with your hands, arms, etc. Never attempt to adjust tension yourself. Springs are under a great deal of pressure and could cause serious injury or even death if not handled properly. A typical day in the life of a torsion spring is a tough one. Not only is it supporting the full weight of the door, but it incurs a lot of wear as the coils rub against each other. This rubbing can cause friction and premature fatigue, ultimately reducing the life of the torsion spring greatly. The goal here, is to apply oil (not grease) to the entire surface area of the garage door spring(s). While there are several lubricants your garage door components could benefit from, we recommend Family Christian Doors (non-silicone) Spray Lube. You can order a 15 oz. can from the Family Christian Doors website for $23.99 or give us a call at 817-595-9900.
Making sure to stand clear of the spray area and the spring, apply a generous layer to the entire surface area of the spring. After applying the lubrication, open and close the door several times to allow the oil to be distributed throughout the spring’s coils. Repeat as needed. Often times, when a garage door torsion spring is excessively dry, you will hear a series of rapid pops when the door first starts to open. This should subside, if not dissipate all together with proper lubrication.
What are Hinges and How to Fix Them?
Another category of wearable components is hinges. These are the pivoting steel bindings that fasten each panel to the next. We recommend you use the same lubrication you used on your garage door torsion spring. The pivot point on a garage door hinge will begin to squeak, moan and groan if the hinge is dry. You may also see a black powder or film on, or around the hinge. This is often a build-up of metal shavings. To properly oil the hinges, the goal is to apply the oil directly to the pivot point. While every technician has their own unique way of applying lubrication, we, at Family Christian Doors, have found it to be helpful to apply the oil while the hinge is in motion. If you have an automatic garage door opener, start by manually disengaging the door from the opener (pull the release cord or rope hanging from the opener). Roll the door up until the top row of hinges begin to fold, apply the oil to the pivot points on each hinge. Continue rocking the door up and down a few inches each way as you oil them so the oil works it’s way in. When you complete the top row of hinges, roll the garage door up to the next row and repeat. Do this for each row of hinges.
Rollers & Garage Doors: A Simple Solution
Your third category of wearable components is your rollers. Garage door rollers are an extremely vital part of your garage door’s operation. These rollers can also impact the garage door opener’s safety features. The theory is, while the torsion spring(s) lift the weight of the door, the rollers keep the garage door in the tracks, and provide a nice, fluid motion as the door glides up and down through it’s travel. If the roller fails to do it’s job, you may notice that the door doesn’t travel as smoothly. It may tug and jerk as it opens or closes. Aside from the noise and annoyance of this inconsistent movement, this could trigger your garage door opener’s sensitivity settings, causing the opener to incorrectly assume there is an obstruction, resulting in the door not opening or closing.
Using Family Christian Doors (non-silicone) Spray Lube, you will look to apply a layer of oil along the inside of the vertical portion of the tracks that the rollers travel in. This will provide a smooth travel for your garage door. If your rollers have ball bearings, apply oil to the bearing housing. Again, we find it to be more effective to apply the lubricant while the roller is in motion. This ensures the oil is evenly distributed through the bearings.
If your rollers do NOT have bearings, this would be a great time to have garage door rollers installed with ball bearings. This allows your garage door opener to do it’s job without excessive resistance. Keep in mind, your automatic garage door opener is meant to lift UP TO 10 pounds. It is only able to lift your garage door because your torsion spring(s) is lifting the full weight of the door. Your garage door opener should only be guiding your garage door up and down.
Repair for Garage Door Bearings
Finally, your fourth category of wearable components is your bearings. Above your garage door (inside your garage), you will see a long steel tube, slightly longer than the door is wide. This tube contains your torsion spring, a “drum” on either side, and three bearings. The tube will run through a bearing on either side of the door and one in the center (sometimes off center). If the door has been neglected, you may find black residue or powder around these bearings. Metal shavings. Apply oil to the outside bearings while rolling the door up or down. The center bearing is a bit more tricky. Typically you have to stand on a ladder (with the door down) and spray the oil between the two springs. Some doors will only have one spring. It is a bit easier to oil the center bearing in this case since you can just aim the oil directly at the bearing.
Garage Door Opener Fixes
Now that we have your garage door rolling like a champ, let’s address the opener. Instructions for lubricating your garage door opener will vary depending on what type of opener you have. This is a broad instruction in common opener models but remember to always be sure and consult the manufacturer for lubrication requirements. Let’s identify what type of opener you have.
The three most common types of garage door openers are:
- Chain Drive
- Screw Drive
- Belt Drive
Chain drive openers are generally the least expensive. Chain drive garage door openers are known for having similar essential functional capabilities as the other types but without the bells and whistles. Sometimes chain drive openers will come with fewer accessories like additional remotes or a keypad. This type of opener will have a sprocket on the end where the motor is and another sprocket where the opener rail mounts to the wall (above your door).
As the motor turns the sprocket, it feeds the chain around it. The trolley on this opener is attached to the chain and moves up and down the rail as the sprocket turns. With these types of openers, you will look to apply a low-temp grease to the underside of the (black) iron rail that the chain travels around. A light coating of Family Christian Doors spray lubrication (oil) may be applied to the chain if it begins to rust or make noise.
Next in line (some opinions may differ) is the screw drive garage door opener. This opener type is commonly referred to as a mid-grade product with a slightly quieter performance. Unfortunately, while screw drive openers will usually be pleasantly quiet upon install, they are known to progressively become noisier. This opener works by sliding a threaded trolley up and down a rail via a long screw. As the screw turns it feeds the trolley up and down. This will, in turn, open and close the door. This opener type will require a light layer of low-temp grease to the bottom side of the screw (unplug the opener first!).
Repairs for Belt Drives on Your Garage Door
Last, but certainly not least, the mighty belt drives. This opener functions exactly like a chain drive, except it uses a belt in place of a chain and pulleys in place of sprockets. This opener type is the most desirable due to how quiet they are known to be and the fact that they generally include more accessories than other opener types. Lubrication on these openers is pretty simple. You will want to apply a light layer of low-temp grease to the underside of the (black) iron rail that the belt travels on. You will also want to apply some low-temp grease to the pulley over the motor head. This can be tricky, as you will need to unplug the opener (it is recommended to do this with the door released from the operator) and apply the low-temp grease to the inside of the belt (tooth side) right where it is about to travel around the pulley. After applying the grease to the inside of the belt, plug the garage door opener back in and run it so that the belt passes around the pulley and distributes the grease evenly to all teeth on the pulley. This should only be done about every 18 months or at the direction of a garage door technician.
Now you know how to lubricate your garage door and your garage door opener. I will cover programming radio transmitting devices like remotes, keypad, etc. in our next garage door systems educational blog.
Let Our Dallas/Ft. Worth Garage Door Experts Help
In review, I strongly advise you to resist the urge to attempt a repair yourself. The small amount of money you save is not worth risking your safety or creating further damage. If you have questions about your products or services Family Christian Doors offers in your area, contact us by e-mail or you can give us a call at 817-595-9900. Be sure to ask about our coupons and specials!