Your garage door is a sophisticated mechanism that needs to be kept in peak condition in order to work properly. As with all mechanical and electric components, over time they can suffer from the effects of wear and tear and you may need to replace certain parts to maintain the safety and smooth running of the system.
The owner’s manual that came with your garage door should be your first port of call. It will have a troubleshooting section, usually found near the end of the manual that will list all the most common problems you might encounter.
However, be aware that if the problem with your garage door is a major one, such as a broken extension spring, for example, you will need the services of a qualified expert to replace it properly and safely. Here are some of the more common faults with your garage door and their solutions.
1 – The garage door opener doesn’t work
There are usually two ways to operate the door: with the wall switch or with the remote control. If neither one works, then check the power source. Make sure the motor is properly plugged in. You may also need to check the circuit breaker or fuse, or even the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). If you still cannot locate the problem, you may have to contact an electrician.
If either the wall switch or the remote works, but not the other, then the problem will obviously lie with the one that doesn’t work. Check the batteries on the remote control and replace them if necessary, and if it is the wall switch that doesn’t work, check all connections.
2 – The garage door only closes part of the way down
Check the electronic eyes, or photo eyes, sensors. These are in place to detect if there is something or someone between the bottom edge of the door and the floor. If the eye sensors get dirty, or if they are obstructed by some object, they may be fooled into thinking there is an object preventing the door closing when there actually is not.
Make sure there is nothing obstructing the vision of the photo eyes, and clean them properly with a soft tissue. This is an electronic unit, so you must ensure that it doesn’t get wet, as that might also affect its performance adversely.
3 – You have a broken torsion spring
The torsion springs are located either above the door, or on each side of the roller track. These springs are very powerful and can cause a lot of damage and injury if tampered with by someone who doesn’t know what they are doing, so always have an expert replace a broken spring. If the spring is broken, it should be obvious to see, but if you are in doubt, get someone qualified to check.
4 – The garage door hesitates and reverses back after hitting the floor
The problem here is probably the close switch. It may need replacing, but it is also possible it just needs some adjustment. Consult your owner’s manual to see what kind of adjustment is possible.
5 – The garage door won’t open or close fully, or the motor won’t stop running
Either of these three problems are likely caused by the limit switches. Depending on which of the problems you are experiencing, the limit switch will need to be adjusted. Your owner’s manual should be able to provide you with the necessary details of what adjustments to make.
Prevention is better than cure
The best way to keep your garage door running efficiently and smoothly for as long as possible is to keep a regular maintenance regime. Your best friends here are cleanliness, a penetrating solvent, such as WD-40, and a light lubricating oil, such as 3-in-1 oil.
Make a note to spend 30 minutes or so once a month going over the door mechanism, checking, lubricating and cleaning. The time you spend, less than a full day’s work per year, will pay off by saving you money on replacement parts and ensuring greater safety for you and your family.
Start with the rollers and roller tracks, hinges and latches, and give them all a generous dousing of penetrating solvent. Move on to the pulleys and bearings on the extension springs and torsion springs and give them some penetrating solvent as well.
You should leave all these parts for a few minutes to allow the penetrating solvent to fully soak in before cleaning down each part thoroughly. Next, apply light lubricating oil to all the surfaces already treated.
You should also go over every other moving part of the door to ensure it is in proper working order, and clean all sensors too. Make a note of anything you are unsure about and ask someone who is qualified to give you the right answer. Prevention is better than cure, and you will only get the best out of your garage door if you look after it properly.