Garage Door Maintenance Tips

Top Preventive Maintenance Habits for Garage Door Owners Phoenix AZ

No matter what season it is, what time of day it is, your garage door has to open every single time you need it to.  We come and go many times a day and rarely have the time to find a way to fix a malfunctioning garage door.  Preventive garage door maintenance is the way to avoid having the inconvenience of a broken or malfunctioning garage door is to take care of it before it needs repair.  Here’s a list of ways you can keep it running for years with trouble free operation.

Keeping the Tracks Clear

Ensure that the tracks on both sides of the garage door are free from objects or debris.  As an owner you can easily check the plump with a level to see how it’s weathering use, but if you see that it needs adjustment it’s time to call the professionals who have the tools, experience and knowledge to do this work safely.

Test the Safety Features

Most modern garage doors have a safety feature that prevents it from harming someone or something they happen to be in the garage doors path.  There are a couple main ways that it can see if there is something in its way, a photocell and mechanical method.  For the mechanical system you can just find a brick or a 2×4 for it to come down on close on, as soon as it touches the object it should reverse direction and come back up.  For the photocell as your garage door is closing just wave your leg or an object under it and it should automatically stop and reverse direction.

Keep Moving Parts Lubricated

If you want your garage door to last for many years just keep it well lubricated.  It takes less time than reading the paper and is very simple.  You can find white lithium grease and use it on the screw or chain.  Then most garage door specialists will have some spray lubricant you can use to spray directly on the overhead springs.

Cable Checking

These high-tension cables are something only a trained professional should be working on.  They are extremely dangerous and can maim and kill if not handled properly.  You can’t work on them, but you can inspect them to see if you should have a professional come and do the work for you.  Visually check them out looking for broken strands, especially down near the bottom roller bracket.

Roller Inspection and Replacement

The rollers need to be looked at about every six months, regardless of their material.  They should also be replaced any time they look worn or at least every 7 years or so.  If you notice wear, chips or cracks they need to be replaced.  You can do this or a professional will be happy to come out and do a minor service on your garage.  If you want to do it simply removing any roller brackets that are not attached directly to the cable system, and then reattaching after the roller replacement.

Garage Door Balance Testing

Even though you might not be able to see it with the naked eye an imbalanced garage door can cost you money.   Being out of balance puts more strain on all the parts and will wear them out sooner.  You can test the balance of the garage door.  Simply start with your garage door in the closed position and pull the release handle (typically a red cord).  Then manually raise the garage door about halfway.  It should stay right where you leave it, if it doesn’t your counterweight springs are out of balance and you need to call a professional as these are extremely dangerous to work on.

Tighten Loose Bolts and Other Hardware

Given that most garage doors open over a thousand times a year in all sorts of weather conditions they are subjected to a lot of vibration.  Vibration loosens bolts and screws.  Take a look at all the hinges, brackets, bolts and screws to ensure they are tight.  You can even tighten these down with a socket wrench.

Be Aware

As you sit waiting for it to open before leaving in the morning its typically quiet and a great time to just be listening and watching how it functions.  If it seems to run roughly or jerks at certain spots it’s a sign that something isn’t quite right and needs some attention.  If you hear grinding or scraping noises it’s time to take a look at the tracks, rollers, and the general condition of the door.  It can be difficult to track down the issue and a professional can come out and help you with an inspection.

Garage Door Care

Even if the all the mechanical systems are working perfectly it can still need some surface attention.  Comprising about a third of the front façade of your home checking for rust spots on your steel doors will keep your house looking great.  Wood doors need to be examined for signs of water damage like warping and will need any stain or paint checked out for peeling or chipping.


If you take care of your garage door, it will take care of you.  A little time spent on a cool weekend morning will save you frustration some afternoon when the sun is out, it’s hot, and you just want to get in your garage.

If you’ve got a worry or a doubt that about your garage door and think something might be wrong, call the experts and On Track Garage Door Service.

Loud Garage Door?

Is your garage door obnoxiously loud whenever anybody tries to open or close it? Is your door interrupting the peace and quiet in your home and neighborhood? Nobody wants to be the owner of, or live by, a screechy and creaky garage door as it can severely annoy your neighbors and fellow house mates on top of potentially becoming a major safety hazard.

Automatic garage door openers are complex, motorized devices with many moving parts, including gears and chains. As it goes, the more components involved in a process equals more potential problems possibly occurring. The quality and precision of the initial install of your garage door system definitely matters when it comes to the longevity of your systems overall functionality and effiency.  Another thing that needs considering when diagnosing a systemic issue is the make and model of the garage door opener unit itself.

Friction is probably the most common causes of noisy automatic garage door systems. As time passes, your systems inherent lubrication is diminished and the buffer between the moving parts eventually disappears. As the lubrication is eroded, friction increases and the noise level during the operation of your system increases exponentially. Aside from noise, this friction will also greatly expedite the wear and tear on vitally important components your auto garage door system. Replacing an entire garage door system can be very expensive so keeping your garage door regularly maintained can go a long way in saving you a lot of money.

If you are noticing your garage door starting to make noise when you operate it, make sure everything is properly lubricated and everything is possibly tightened. If you are noticing more than just a lack of lubrication and loose components then it may be time to call a professional who is trained, licensed and bonded so you know that you are going to have high quality work done and that you are also protected should anything go awry.

DDIY (Don’t Do It Yourself!) Save Your Garage Door!

Garage doors are important access points for both homes and businesses and if an automatic opener system starts malfunctioning or sustains damage, the routine and flow that has been established in your environment can be greatly interrupted. That fact makes it tempting to try to fix any garage door maladies yourself so you don’t have to wait or pay for a professional to come out and do it. While there are some things that are entirely within the DIY realm, there are certain issues you should leave to the professionals because the damage you can do operating in ignorance is much greater than the cost you’ll pay for a trained professional to provide the services. The following are a few of these issues and brief descriptions.

Replacing Springs
Spring replacement can be very dangerous to someone who is untrained and not properly equipped for the task. The tension that the springs hold lends them to being prone to snapping back when being detached from their set position. The tips of springs are sharp and if someone gets caught by one as it quickly snaps they could suffer a laceration or serious cut. Eye injuries are also a concern when dealing with replacing springs. It can be tempting to fix a spring issue yourself because they are so critical for your garage door system to function correctly. You may be fully confident in your skills as a handy man, but it is best to call in a pro to handle this issue.

Replacing Panels
Having to replace one or more panels isn’t really a matter of functionality as much as it is a matter of cosmetics. Hiring a professional for panel replacement is important for many reasons including reducing danger and assessing why the panels actually sustained damage to the point they needed replacing. If you have panels replaced without understanding why your old panels warped in the first place will leave you prone to experiencing the exact same problem. Replacing your panels is not cheap to do and enduring that expense is not something you want to go through multiple times, especially when the potential to repeat the issue is so easily remedied.

Busted Cables
Cables are integral to the successful operation of your garage door. The fact that these cables are under constant tension makes them very dangerous to fix, especially if you are not properly trained for the task. It takes knowledge and experience to accurately place and attach the cables. The danger presented by cables is similar to that of replacing springs. Lacerations, cuts and eye injuries are all concerns associated with cable work.

Replacing Rollers
If you have bent or broken rollers you may want to take care of them yourself because they are extremely important to the functionality of your garage. You should definitely hire a professional because it is a risky procedure to carry out. Getting your fingers or or clothing caught in between the rollers and tracks is very possible, which could result in serious injury.

 

Common Winter Time Garage Door Problems

The drop in temperature that accompanies the winter months can adversely affect the functionality of your automatic garage door system. Depending on where you live and how extreme the winter months are, the severity of these effects on your automatic garage door system will vary. We are going to briefly outline some of the common issues that you may run into will old man winter is in town.

An Excess of Grease

It is possible to experience this during any time of the year, but it will be a bigger problem during the winter time. Having too much grease on the tracks of your automatic garage door system can cause your door to move out of proper alignment which can do damage to your entire system if it remains off track for an extended period of time.  Finding the right lubrication level for the winter months is key to avoiding complications from excess grease.

Metal Can Possibly Contract

When the temperature passes a certain threshold on the cold side, metal begins to contract, which cause its shape to change to varying degrees. Most of the moving components of your automatic garage door system are metal and are created according to the specifications of your system. When the components begin to change shape, even slightly, the system’s functionality loses efficiency. There is no way to completely prevent the contracting of metal from occurring, but you can lessen the effect by liberally applying oil to your springs, screw-drive and ball bearings. Make sure to keep this oil away from the tracks to avoid them developing excess grease.

Thickening of grease

The root of this problem is the fact that most lubricating grease is designed to function in extremely high levels of heat. When they heat up they thin somewhat which enhances their lubricating properties. The problem with this is that extremely cold temperatures have the opposite effect, causing the grease to thicken and lose lubricating efficiency.

Rollers Getting Off Track

During the winter you’re at greater risk of experiencing your rollers getting off track. This can potentially be caused by a combination of the above issues coming to pass. If your rollers do become off track, your garage door can become a hazardous and the issue should be attended to as soon as possible.

Slow Automatic Garage Door Operation

If it gets cold enough, the motor for your automatic garage door system can be adversely effected and run noticeably slower than usual. Some automatic garage openers are not designed for temperatures below the freezing level, which could damage them if too extreme. Many garage door openers have a torque setting on them that you can adjust. If you notice that your garage door is opening slowly, adjust the torque setting in small increments until you notice the door opening at or near its usual pace.

Broken Springs

Springs are very important components to any automatic garage door system. During the winter, the cold temperatures can weaken the springs to the point that they actually break.  If you suffer one or more broken springs your garage door system will not function properly.

Sensor Damage

Cold temperatures can also damage the sensors that prevent your garage door from opening or closing properly. The sensors are a safety measure to prevent the garage door from closing on any object or person who may be in the path of the closing door. Damaged sensors can lead to injury and damaged property, including your automatic garage door system itself.

Garage Door Maintenance Tips for the Winter

We are in the middle of an uncharacteristically cold winter in the Phoenix area and it may get even colder as the season trots along.  Cold weather has a unique effect on your automatic garage door system and the way you approach maintenance during the winter should be adjusted accordingly to match the unique challenges that you will be presented with. There are ways you can prepare before winter gets into full swing and there are steps you can take throughout the winter to ensure that your automatic garage door system stays in top shape and functions efficiently.

  1. Make sure your garage door(s) are cleaned thoroughly before the winter. Any buildup and debris should be moved to discourage any rust damage that may develop as the season progresses.
  2. Weather stripping on the bottom of your garage door(s) should be cleaned as well. Make sure that it is in great condition on top of being clean. Cracks, tears, missing chunks, and parts that may be poorly attached should all be addressed immediately in order to keep your garage dry and free of the winter air entering.
  3. Clean your garage windows and check on their overall condition. If you have any damaged windows, you should replace them as soon as you possibly can. Making sure you have strong windows that are thoroughly sealed. If you have a cracked window, wind and precipitation can severely compromise the integrity of the window.
  4. Check on the condition of the moving parts associated with your automatic garage door system. Making sure there is no excess buildup of grease and making sure all components are in good working order is highly recommended. You may need to call in a professional if cables and torsions springs are in need of repairs or adjustments.
  5. Make sure the batteries in your remotes are fresh.

Do You Have An Unbalanced Garage Door?

Automatic garage door systems are simple in concept, but the system is more complex than most give them credit for being. Any automated system with multiple moving parts needs to be calibrated from time to time to make sure every moving element is in-line and operating efficiently. One thing that can occur with your automatic garage door is your garage door becoming unbalanced. If your garage door is in fact unbalanced, it can present increasing levels of danger as long as it goes unchecked.

Signs that your door may be unbalanced

There will be signs, or ‘symptoms’ if you will, that indicate that your garage door may be unbalanced. Some of those signs are:

  • Your garage door appears to be uneven. The visual test is the easiest to apply and also one that tells you the severity of the issue because if you notice your garage door being uneven with a visual test you know that you need to fix it asap and you will be 100%
  • If you open your garage door manually and the door starts to close on its own is a dead giveaway that you have an unbalanced garage door.
  • If your garage door starts making new noises as you open and close it your door is starting to become unbalanced. The noises may be due to a cable or spring that is failing.
  • If your door just outright won’t open, it is severely unbalanced

 

The Dangers Presented By Unbalanced Garage Doors

When your garage door is in the process of becoming unbalanced it could have a cable or spring failing that could snap at any minute which could cause the door to come down on a family member, pet or vehicle. Keep your family, pets and vehicles by keeping tabs on the condition of your automatic garage door system and making sure your garage door is balanced.