What is the greatest invention? The airplane? The automobile? The computer? Perhaps, but when you come home to a torrential downpour, the electric garage door opener tops the list — when it’s working properly. Here are 4 tips for maintaining garage door openers and keeping it in tip-top shape to avoid costly repairs that may result in replacing the garage door opener.
First, move your car(s) out of the garage, then walk back in and close the door. Pull the emergency release rope to disengage your opener. Inspect each door hinge to be sure all screws are tight. Every hinge along the sides of the door should have a roller attached to it, and each roller should be engaged in the track. The track should be aligned with the door and securely fastened to the garage framing. Inspect each track bracket for alignment and bolt tightness.
Using a penetrating product such as B’laster Garage Door Lube, lubricate each hinge and roller. The axle has a little play in and out to help the door run smoothly in the track. Don’t lubricate the track — lubricant won’t improve the door’s operation of the door, but will attract unwanted dirt. Manually raise and lower the door a few times to work in the lubricant. The door should be relatively quiet. If you still hear squeaking, lubricate a bit more and clean off any excess.
Test the Springs
Garage doors are very heavy. To help them open and close, they have springs to counteract their weight. A properly adjusted spring will allow the door to be stationary when opened to about 3 feet with the door opener disengaged. If your door opens or closes on its own, call a garage assembly professional. The springs are under tremendous tension, so don’t try to adjust them. If you find the springs are properly adjusted, re-engage the opener and open the door.
Inspect the gasket attached to the bottom of the door. It helps keep water, dirt and debris out of the garage. If it’s missing, torn or damaged, replace it.
Test the Reversing System
Inspect the infrared safety reversing sensors. They’re the electronic eye devices installed on both tracks near the ground that sense an object (such as a child) in the door’s path. Test them by placing an object taller than 6 inches in the door’s path, and then close the door with the remote. The door should start to close, then immediately reverse itself. Test the contact reverse system by placing a 2×4 on the floor in the center of the door, and then close the door using the remote. The door should close until it contacts the 2×4, then immediately reverse itself. If either of these automatic reversing systems fails to function properly, refer to your manual for troubleshooting or call a garage assembly professional.
To adjust and lubricate your opener’s drive system, whether it’s a chain, belt or screw drive, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Some need lubrication; some do not. Some need adjustment; some don’t.
Don’t forget the easy stuff: Change the light bulb while the weather is nice and put fresh batteries in your remotes and keypad before they stop working.