For your own safety, as well as the proper functioning of your garage, the majority of garage door repairs are best left to a professional. Yet that doesn't mean that there aren't certain things you can do to help keep your garage door in tip-top shape. In fact, being proactive about basic maintenance can greatly extend the lifespan of your garage while also minimizing the likelihood of serious problems.

If you own a home equipped with an automatic garage door opener and would like to learn more about what you can do to keep it running smoothly, read on. This article will introduce you to three simple, but effective, maintenance tasks.

Check Your Cable Periodically for Signs of Damage

Back in the dark ages of garage doors, most lifting mechanisms involved the use of a linked metal chain, like that found on a bicycle. While such chains are perfectly good at transmitting force from the opener's motor to the door, they aren't exactly quiet. For that reason, it is growing more and more common to find braided steel cables replacing those chains.

Not only do cables allow for a much quieter opening and closing experience, but they are also more impervious to problems caused by corrosion. Nonetheless, it is important to give your cable a decent inspection now and then, keeping an eye out for indications of excessive wear or damage such as the following:

  • Kinks or sharp bends in the cable
  • Patches of rust (especially common near the bottom of the door, where the exposure to moisture and other destructive elements is greatest)
  • Broken or fraying strands

Any signs of trouble should be evaluated as soon as possible by a professional garage door technician. Depending on the nature of the damage, the cable may require either repair or replacement. In either case, it is important to deal with the problem before it grows any worse.

Lubricate the Rollers on the Garage Door

Unusual noises are the most common sign that you have put off maintaining your garage door a little too long. Rusty chain lifts are a frequent source of such noises. Yet for those who own garage doors equipped with metal cables, the problem tends to be caused by corroded or dirty rollers. The good news is that with a little elbow grease and the right kind of lubricant, you should be able to get your door working quietly once again.

You will find two or three sets of rollers on either side of the door. A metal bracket holds the stem of the roller against the door, while its head is situated inside of the roller track to the side of the door. Older rollers are usually constructed from metal, whereas newer ones use a nylon body to help reduce unwanted vibrations. Both types have bearings inside of the wheel that allow them to move smoothly.

Wipe away any visible gunk or grime with a clean rag. Skipping this step will cause your lubricant to become contaminated, thus greatly reducing its effectiveness. Now squirt a conservative amount of silicone-based lubricant spray onto the inside of the roller wheel. Wipe away any that gets onto the outside of the wheel; if this lubricant gets into the roller track it could cause a dangerous reduction in friction.

Tighten Up the Roller Assemblies

The bracket holding the roller pins is attached to the garage door by means of several hex bolts. Over time, as a result of vibration transmitted from the motor to the door, these bolts have a tendency to become loose, and the rattling bracket will start to make a lot of noise. Check these bolts the next time you lubricate your rollers, tightening them up as necessary with an adjustable wrench.

Whether you’ve been experiencing problems with your garage door or simply want to ensure that it continues to run smoothly for years to come, following these steps will help ensure that it continues functioning well as long as possible. If you feel that your garage door needs more professional help, or if you have further questions, the technicians at a garage door company such as Premier Door Corp can help.