Open Sesame: How to Service a Garage Door

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Automatic Garage Door Safety Check - Guidelines For DIY Beginners

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It's a good idea to have your automatic garage door system checked annually by a professional service technician so that any maintenance work can be carried out before problems arise.  However, you can do some routine monthly safety checks yourself, even if you're a DIY beginner.  Read on to find out how.

What you'll need

All you need for these checks is a notebook and pen so that you can jot down anything you find.  Following your inspection, contact a garage door repair company and report your findings.  If necessary, they will send out a technician to carry out the necessary repairs.

Visual inspection

Start by carrying out a visual inspection from inside the garage. 

Close the garage door and have a good look at the door springs, rollers, pulleys, cables and hinges.  Look for any evidence of wear and tear or damage, such as frayed cables or loose hinges.

Door balance testing

Shut the garage door and disconnect the auto opener.  You can do this by using the manual override switch or simply removing the battery from the opener.

Lift the door manually.  The door should rise smoothly and should stay open.  If it's difficult to open or if it closes by itself, the door has become out of balance.

Reconnect the automatic opener before proceeding to the next step.

Reversing mechanism testing

This is a test of your automatic opener reversing system.  The system is designed to prevent damage to your car or to prevent injury to a person or pet through an impact with the door.

Place a piece of wood on the ground in the middle of the garage door opening in the place where the door would come into contact with the floor.  Now use the automatic opener or wall button to close the garage door.  As the door hits the piece of wood, it should reverse automatically.  If it doesn't do so, there is a problem with the auto reverse feature of your door.

Photo eye testing

The photo eye feature of your automatic garage door system is a safety feature designed to prevent a person from becoming trapped inside the garage.

Open the door fully, and use the automatic opener or wall button to close it.  Wave a piece of wood or a broom handle in front of the door's photo eyes to break the beam.  If the system is working properly, the door should reverse and open.

If the door doesn't reverse, remove the stick and close the door.  Use a clean cloth to clean the photo eyes and check that they haven't been knocked out of alignment.  Repeat the stick test as described above.  If the door still doesn't reverse, there is a problem with the photo eyes.

In conclusion

In between regular maintenance and service visits by a trained garage door technician, you can carry out the monthly safety checks as outlined above.  If your garage door fails any of these tests, contact a local garage door technician for assistance.