Your automatic garage door makes your life easier, but only when it's working properly. Mistakes that lead to a breakdown can make the door impossible to open automatically and difficult to open manually. Fortunately, knowing about the mistakes can be key to avoiding them.
#1: Ignoring basic track maintenance
The tracks are the main conduit for a smoothly operating garage door, so it is vital that they are properly maintained. The good news is that this is relatively easy to do on your own. Check the tracks monthly and sweep out any dirt or debris that collects. At the same time, visually inspect for damage, such as bent or warped tracks. This can usually be bent back to shape with gentle pressure. At least once a year, wipe out the tracks and make sure the door roller are clean. Then, use a rag to lightly coat the tracks and rollers with a garage door lubricant. If the tracks are badly damaged or warped, consider a professional replacement.
#2: Allowing the door to become unbalanced
A door that is out of balance stresses ever part of the opener, including the opener motor, the springs, the door components, and the tracks. Signs that a door isn't balanced correctly include shaking and shimmying when operated, loud noises from the tracks, or sticking or hitching as it rises or lowers. You can verify that the balance is the issue by disengaging the motor and putting the door into manual mode. Then, slowly raise the door until it is about 4 feet above ground. Place a ladder or another sturdy item under it to catch it if it slams closed. Carefully release the door. If the door is balanced, it should stay open (although dropping slightly is also fine. If it tries to close completely, then it is out of balance and needs to be rebalanced.
#3: Putting unnecessary stress on the springs
The springs are the trickiest part of your opener. These are under extreme tension, which can make them dangerous – even deadly – if they aren't handled correctly. Homeowner spring maintenance is relatively simple. Make sure the door is correctly balanced to avoid undue stress, and then keep a light coat of lubricant on the springs to prevent rust and corrosion. You should also visually inspect them at least once a month. If a spring seems stretched differently compared to the other springs or than it was previously, it may be near breakage. You should seek professional garage door spring repair due to the injury risk.
For more help, contact a garage door technician in your area.