If you are like most home owners, you greet the prospect of repairing a broken or stubborn garage door with at least a mild sense of trepidation because they are large and seemingly complicated. However, this fear is not warranted if this apparently daunting task is broken down into a few manageable steps. So, what follows are some useful tips and instructions regarding garage door repair.
The mechanism of a garage door is actually very simple. This applies to two main types of garage doors. The first type is where the door is a single solid panel that swings up on metal tracks. The second type also rolls up on tracks but does so in sections that follow the tracks up and over. If you have the type of metal door that rolls up into a large horizontal cylinder above the door, this article is not for you. You need to call a professional. That type of door is hazardous to work on without the proper training and equipment.
Assuming you have one of the two garage doors in Federal Way, WA types covered by this article, the first of the parts to inspect for possible repairs are the door tracks. These originally are well lubricated, but they can accumulate a lot of dust, dirt, pieces of dried leaves or anything else that might stick to the door roller and be carried up into the tracks. All that material is ground into the lubricant and can become a sticky, near solid mass. The door wheels that fit inside the track can become encrusted with this mess as well. If this is the case you need to clean out the encrusted lubricant from both the tracks and the door wheels with a towel. You may need to use solvent to cut through the old lubricant. Once it has been cleaned out, lubricate it with door spray, household oil, silicone spray or powdered graphite.`
Other track-related things to check are bent or broken tracks or misaligned tracks. Bent tracks can usually be straightened with a mallet or even a pair of pliers. Make sure the tracks are still parallel with each other and perpendicular to the front garage wall. Measure with a tape measure if needed to be sure the tracks are the same distance apart along the full length. For a broken track you just have to get a replacement. If this is the case, then this might be a good time to price the cost of a new replacement door,.
Because the doors are so large and heavy the track mechanism has a spring counter-balance that helps lift the weight of the door. These are usually located on either side of the door. This means that when the door is closed, those springs are stretched to their maximum tension, and when the door is fully open the spring have little or no tension on them.
As the springs age they may lose strength. If the door is still hard to open then you need to adjust them. This adjustment is usually in the form of an adjustable plate that the spring is attached to. If your door rolls up in sections then the spring is attached with a cable and the cable itself needs to be adjusted to make it tighter. Because the springs have the most tension when the door is closed, you need to perform the adjustment with the door open if possible.