Summer is on its way, and you will probably be using your garage door more often. Now is a good time to check it and make sure it is ready for the more frequent use. Five easy garage-door checks are described below. You may want to call in a professional to do them, but most are easy enough for the average DIY.
Do a visual inspection. Check the garage-door springs to make sure they are not broken or relaxed. Check the cables that connect the springs to the garage door for fraying and loose fasteners. If you find anything suspicious about the springs or their cables, call a professional. Due to the high tension of the springs, it is too dangerous for anyone but a professional to repair or adjust.
Check for loose panel-hinge screws and tighten. Check for obstructions in the rails. Check for damaged rollers. It might be best to have a professional replace any damaged rollers or hinges. If you decide to do it yourself, replace them one at a time, and do not attempt replacing the bottom panel rollers as the spring cables are usually fastened to them.
As a final check, open and close your garage door a couple of times. If it operates smoothly with no unusual noise or effort, you are good to go.
Check the garage door opener operation. The opening and closing you did above should tell you if there are problems. Common problems are:
Broken or loose drive belt or chain.
Dirty drive mechanism.
Loose drive mechanism where it connects to the wall above the springs.
Weak backup battery.
Checks three, four and five all have to do with garage door safety features.
The first safety feature to check is the emergency release device. The drive mechanism of the garage door opener will have a lanyard with a red handle hanging from it. Its purpose is to prevent entrapment by disconnecting the garage-door opener from the garage door. With the garage door fully closed, pull this lanyard. You should then be able to open the garage door manually. Reconnect the emergency release (see manual).
The second safety feature to check is the solid-obstruction reverse feature. Its reverses the garage door if it hits a solid obstruction while closing. To check, open the garage door, place a two-by-four on the floor of the garage in the path of the door, then close the door. When the door strikes the two-by-four, it should stop and reverse direction. Remove the two-by four.
The third safety feature to check is the photoelectric-reverse feature. This feature consists of a photoelectric beam across the bottom of the garage door about six inches above the floor. Its purpose is to reverse the garage door’s motion if something interrupts that beam. To check, open the garage door, place something in the path of the photoelectric beam to interrupt it, and close the garage door. The garage door will either not close or it will partially close, and then reverse direction. Remove the obstruction and close the garage door.