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Why You Should Absolutely Not DIY Your Garage Door (And What Needs to Be Done)


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The average garage door weighs up to 400 pounds, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that garage doors can be dangerous. In fact, an average of 20,000 Americans visit the emergency room every year from injuries sustained by a garage door.

That's why it's important to get your doors inspected and serviced by a professional, but how do you know if something is wrong? And what maintenance needs to be done to keep your garage doors from falling off their hinges? Here's a quick overview! 

How often do garage doors need maintenance? 

Get your garage doors inspected at least once a year.

Your garage door should have a proper inspection and maintenance (or tune up) once a year, completed by a professional. However, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends testing your garage door opener's safety features at least once a month.

You should always be on the lookout for warning signs, which may indicate you need maintenance or a repair immediately. 

Warning signs 

Be on the lookout for these indicators.

Call a trained door systems technician if you notice any of these indicators:

  • Grinding, scraping, or other unusual noises.
  • Garage door jerks, stops, or doesn't open easily.
  • Door opens and then closes immediately, or vice versa.
  • Garage doors won't open.
  • Rust, especially on the door springs.
  • Worn parts, such as rollers, chain, or belt.
  • Any cracks or breaks in the doors.
Rust can cause a multitude of issues for your garage doors.

These indicators can mean a few different issues, such as rust on door springs may mean they need to be replaced. Rust on the door may require a new paint job, which is a bigger job than it sounds. A poorly painted garage door can void warranties.

Grinding, scraping, or stops can also lead to malfunctioning and a potentially dangerous situation. We may sound like a broken record but call professional garage door repair companies to inspect and repair your door.

Garage door maintenance DIY 

We know you're wondering, "Is it safe to repair a garage door (DIY)?" Here at vipHomeLink, we believe it's best to always hire a professional to maintain your garage door, but there are a few tasks you can complete with extreme care.

Washing your garage door 

Use a garden hose, never a power washer.

Most garage doors require a good washing at least twice a year, but if you live in an area with high pollution, your doors may need more frequent scrubbings.

Clean your door before and after winter to get off any salt and dirt and to prepare it for the harsh weather. Use dish soap, and never use a power washer. If you have a wooden garage door, you should wipe it with a clean, dry cloth.

Also, look for any oil spots. These indicate that the door's chain may be over-lubricated or the wrong lubrication was used. 

Removing rust on the lower section of the door 

Vinegar and baking soda - the miracle cleaner!

You may be able to remove some rust on the bottom of your door from winter's salt. Try using a vinegar and water mixture. Spray it on the door and wipe clean with a towel.

If that doesn't work, try baking soda and water paste. Let the mixture sit on the door for 30 minutes, then wipe and rinse.

If that still doesn't work, try bathroom tile cleaner, but if the rust remains, call a professional to assess the damage. 

Visually and aurally inspecting your garage door 

As we mentioned above, always be on the lookout for issues. If you hear here or see any of the warning signs, call garage door repair professionals to investigate.

Testing your garage door safety features 

Test your garage doors monthly.

To test your auto-reverse safety feature, put an object in the way of the door – such as a wood plank or a brick. Once the door touches the object, it should reverse direction within two seconds and re-open.

To test the photo sensors, find the two sensors on the garage. If they are aligned, they should light up. If they're not, a professional will need to align the door for you. 

Garage doors older than 20 years must be replaced.

If your sensors are aligned, engage the garage door and wave an object in front of the photo sensors. The door should automatically reverse. Try this at different places where the sensors should pick up movement.

Garage doors older than 20 years may not have these features. If you have an older door, install a new one immediately as these features were put in place by the Consumer Product Safety Commission to prevent child injury and death. 

Know what to do and when to do it with vipHomeLink.

Get more garage safety features in our vipTIPs, available exclusively on the vipHomeLink app! We'll also send you reminders to complete garage door maintenance, so you'll know what to do and when to do it!

What to expect from a professional garage door tune up 

These tasks will keep your garage doors working smoothly.

Correct tools, knowledge, and skills are necessary when repairing a garage door, so while we think it's best to know what needs to be done, leave these tasks to the home pros.

  • Check the track and hinges and tighten loose nuts and bolts to keep rollers working properly.
  • Reduce the friction between the door and the door stop by adjusting track brackets.
  • Lubricate all moving parts. Most professionals will use lithium grease on the chain and spray lubrication on the overheard springs.
  • Test the garage door balance to keep it running efficiency and prolong the life of the opener.
  • Check the lift cables. If the balance is off, you notice excessive vibration, or you see any rust or broken strands, the cables may need to be replaced.
  • Inspect and replace the worn, chipped, or cracked rollers. Nylon rollers crack when they need to be replaced; steel rollers will look worn and may be lopsided. Rule of thumb: Rollers need to be replaced approximately every seven years.
  • Re-seal the doors with weather stripping in the bottom grooves to prevent heat and energy from escaping, and critters or snakes from sneaking inside.
  • Replace the garage door opener battery.
  • Adjust the tension of the door springs if your garage doors open too quickly or too slowly.

How much will a garage door tune up cost?

Regular maintenance helps to ward off costly claims.

According to HomeAdvisor, garage door maintenance average cost is between $100 and $200 a year, though a typical professional inspection with repair will run between $150 and $350. More expensive repairs can cost more than $1,500. That's why it's important to get regular maintenance, so you can avoid bigger issues and higher service fees.

Stay on top of home maintenance 

vipHomeLink can help!

Here at vipHomeLink, we know how difficult it is to know what to do and when to do it around the home. That's why we created our home management app, which provides homeowners with personalized reminders for home maintenance tasks. From changing batteries in smoke detectors to vacuuming your dryer vent, we've got you covered.

Save money and time, and gain peace of mind with vipHomeLink! Not a member? Subscribe today with a monthly or annual membership.

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