Garages are highly popular with many homeowners. In addition to sheltering you from inclement weather while moving from your vehicle to your living area, a garage offers additional security for your vehicle(s) and can double as storage or a workspace. However, when your garage door fails to work properly, it can quickly become a major – and dangerous – inconvenience. A malfunctioning door can trap your car in the garage or prevent your car from entering the garage, forcing you to leave it on the street or in your driveway. Worse, a malfunctioning door can cause property damage, bodily damage, or death. 

Yes, Garage Doors Need Routine Maintenance

A garage door’s lifespan depends on the type of system used to operate the door. Extension spring doors are designed to last roughly 10,000 cycles (a cycle is the door opening and closing one time). So a door for a standard two-car garage, opened four times a day, should last about seven years. Torsion spring doors last between 15,000 and 20,000 cycles, or roughly 10-15 years. Their sturdiness and longevity make them a popular choice for modern garages. Regardless of the opening mechanism used, routine maintenance of your garage door can extend its expected lifespan, and help you identify problems before they become hazards. 

Parts of a Garage Door

To keep your door in good working condition, it helps to be familiar with the parts of a standard garage door. The main section of the garage door is composed of panels that are connected by hinges. The use of individual panels allows the door to bend as it rises, and if a panel is damaged, it can usually be replaced without having to replace the entire door. Rollers help the door run smoothly along the tracks, which keep the door in line as it rises or descends. Weatherstripping runs along the bottom of the door, improving energy efficiency by preventing outside weather conditions from coming into the home.

Older garages may have extension springs that work with a pulley and counterbalance system, while newer garages often use torsion springs, which operate by twisting and relaxing. Lifting cables work with the springs to lift and lower the door, and safety cables serve to prevent the door from suddenly slamming shut or flying up if the lifting cables or springs break. Cable Drums are used with torsion springs. The cables wrap around the drum, which forces the spring to twist or relax as the door moves. In modern garages, these mechanisms are operated by motors which allow homeowners to activate the door via remote control

Maintaining Your Garage Door

You should service your garage doors two to four times a year. Never attempt to replace or repair a garage door yourself – if the work is not done properly, a garage door can seriously injure or kill someone. The professionals at J&S Garage Door Service of Virginia advise that no two doors are alike, so any repairs should be done by a trained professional. If your garage door is no longer working properly – shaking, squealing, or moving at a different speed than normal – contact a licensed professional immediately. With proper maintenance, your garage door will last for years.