Garage doors pose a serious safety hazard when not maintained. We tend to think that automatic garage door dangers disappeared with the 1980s after the Consumer Product Safety Commission released a report exposing the number of avoidable deaths caused by automatic garage door openers.
But, unfortunately, garage door accidents and fatalities caused by them still happen in the twenty-first century.
Your home has no moving part larger than a garage door. You drive under it multiple times a week, and your children run under it regularly as they play in your garage and front yard. Yet few people think about the danger lurking in their home.
A basic garage door spring adjustment could save you potentially thousands of dollars in repair and garage door replacement not to mention peace of mind.
To better understand if you need a garage door spring adjustment, you first need to understand the basic parts of your garage door.
What are the Basic Parts of a Working Garage Door?
Unlike any other door, a garage door consists of more than a piece of wood and some hinges.
A basic garage door operated by an automatic garage door opener consists of the door typically made up of multiple panels, torsion springs, extension springs, a motor, and a system of pulleys and cables. You should also have the tracks for the door and the cylinder and wheels that run in the tracks.
The torsion spring typically is found on the wall above the garage door. Usually, just larger garage doors have the torsion spring.
You can find the extension spring on the sides of a one-piece garage door or above the horizontal tracks that use a cable and pulley system.
How Do You Know Your Garage Door is Breaking?
Some people have the gift of seeing their door break before their eyes with no real harm to any person or property. When the door slams down on the concrete under it, you know you have a problem.
But other than seeing the door break in front of you, how do you know your door needs maintenance?
Begin with a visual inspection.
Examine the garage door springs, cables, rollers, and pulleys carefully. Check out all the working parts of the garage door when the door is down all the way.
Look out especially for materials that have rust on them, have cracks, or just look worn. Even if your springs look good, wear and tear on other parts can put undue stress on the springs and cause them to wear out faster.
If your door is crooked, the extension or cable may be damaged. Watch out for those cockeyed doors.
Complete a monthly visual inspection of your garage door and parts.
Door Balance Test
Then, conduct a door balance test. You can test the balance of the garage door by releasing the electronic mechanism once the door is down and then attempting to lift the door by hand. You should be able to lift the door smoothly with little resistance.
If your door refuses to open, you know you have a problem. Most likely, you have an issue with the springs. At this point, you should forego your own personal inspection and instead schedule an inspection with a professional.
Force Setting Test
Try to run a force setting test. Begin by opening the door fully. Then use the wall button or the door opener’s transmitter to automatically close the door.
Stand by the door and hold the bottom of the door with your hands outstretched. The door should pop right back up once you put some resistance on it. If it keeps closing or has difficulty popping back up, then remove your hands and let the door go down.
If your door fails the force setting test, you need to have the safety mechanism or springs adjusted by a professional.
Listen to Your Door
Listen to your door as it works. A properly maintained garage door should be relatively quiet. If you hear a creaking, grinding, or squeaking noise, the springs are strained and need some repair.
Watch your door work. If you notice your door moving more slowly than normal, you may have a broken spring. A broken spring will prevent a motor from reaching its normal speed.
Do You Need a Garage Door Spring Adjustment?
All of these signs (strange noises, slowly moving door, wear and tear) could indicate a spring problem. If you notice the springs have visible wearing or that they’re beginning to separate, you need a garage door spring adjustment.
If the springs are stretched out or elongated, you will have a loss of tension and potentially other bigger problems than just a stressed spring.
Always contact a garage door expert to adjust your garage door spring. If the torsion spring breaks as you’re fixing it, the garage door will come slamming down, posing a serious threat to anyone near it.
Do You Need to Replace Door Panels?
In the process of examining your garage parts, you may notice a problem with the door itself such as peeling, fading, rusting or dented doors. You can replace single panels if you need to.
Properly maintained doors can last a long time, up to 50 years some experts claim, but when not maintained, your door can break down in just a few years.
As with garage door spring adjustments, you should not attempt to replace door panels or a garage door on your own. Garage door experts can save you time, money, and the potential pain of the injury that comes from not knowing what you’re doing with the heaviest thing in on your property.
If you have paint cracking or peeling on the wood garage door panels, or if the door is cracked, there may be moisture in the door, and you need to replace it.
If your doors are bent or sagging, or if you have large gaps where the door is closed, then you need to consider replacing the garage door.
How to Maintain Your Garage Door
After inspecting your door, if you find you have no need to repair springs, take some time to maintain what you have. Use a silicone-based spray to lubricate the moving parts of your garage door. Consult your owner’s manual for the amount of lubrication your particular door needs.
Spring Into Action
If you need a garage door spring adjustment or any other garage door work, take a moment to contact us, and we can help you get in and out of your garage easily once again.