Believe it or not, your garage door is a pretty complex piece of equipment with dozens of moving parts involved in its operation. Your garage door springs are just one of the many parts that make opening and closing your garage door possible. Eventually, you'll be faced with the prospect of replacing these and other parts of your garage door.
It's not out of the ordinary for garage door springs to suffer premature failure due to a variety of common issues. If you want to avoid premature failure and extend the life of your springs, consider the tips and suggestions listed below.
Keep Your Garage Door Properly Balanced
One of the more common reasons why garage door springs fail early is due to an imbalanced garage door. The springs help counterbalance the weight of the door itself, which usually weighs several hundred pounds depending on the door's design and materials. Springs also work to keep your garage door perfectly level so it's able to move easily along its track.
Lose that balance and you could run into several problems. Improper balance can cause the garage door to go crooked, allowing it to hang incorrectly within its own tracks. In some extreme cases, the entire door could jump off the track on one or both sides. An imbalanced garage door also places additional stress and strain on the springs.
A garage door that feels extraordinarily heavy or extremely light when manually lifted is a common sign of an ongoing imbalance. You should have your garage door repair specialist perform a thorough inspection and make the proper adjustments and repairs needed.
Avoid Rust and Corrosion
Rust is another common issue that can significantly reduce the lifespan of your garage door springs. Ordinary exposure to the elements is usually enough for surface rust to form. Constant exposure to road salt and excess moisture can cause that surface rust to penetrate deeper, creating weak spots in the spring that could eventually cause it to break prematurely.
A little maintenance can go a long way towards extending the life of your garage door springs. For instance, lubricating your springs on a regular basis can help keep rust and corrosion at bay. White lithium grease, silicone-based compounds and other lubricants add a layer of protection between the bare metal and any moisture or corrosive chemicals that could cause severe rust.
You should lubricate your garage door springs, as well as other moving parts on your garage door, before the start of each season. Avoid WD-40 and other water-displacing lubricants because these are not as durable as ordinary grease.
If your car accumulates large amounts of road salt and other corrosive debris during your commute, you may want to keep it parked outside. Garaging your vehicle after a snowy, salt-laden commute can expose your springs and other metal garage door components to rust and corrosion. If you must keep your vehicle inside your garage, you should at least thoroughly rinse it down prior to parking it inside.
Invest in Higher-Quality Garage Door Springs
Being budget-minded when it comes to your garage door maintenance is one thing, but investing in the cheapest garage door springs you can find could spell trouble later on. An inexpensive set of torsion or extension springs may not offer the same quality or longevity as their higher-priced counterparts.
This doesn't mean you should purchase the most expensive springs you can find, but consider the quality of your replacement springs when the time comes. Instead of choosing extension springs that offer an operating life of only 10,000 cycles, consider purchasing a set that offers 15,000 or even 20,000 cycles instead.
You may also want to consider buying zinc galvanized garage door springs instead of the usual oil-tempered variety. The galvanized coating makes the spring nearly impervious to rust, extending the service life of your springs by several cycles.
Curb Your Garage Door Usage
Every time you open or close your garage door, it adds small amounts of wear to your garage door springs. Every bit of this wear and tear eventually adds up as time progresses. Before you know it, your springs will eventually wear out from the cumulative fatigue they've experienced over the years.
Keep in mind that the average garage door extension spring is rated for 10,000 cycles. Because the average homeowner opens and closes their garage door around 1,500 times a year, those 10,000 cycles translate to approximately seven years of use. Torsion springs can last up to double that amount of cycles due to their sturdier design and materials.
You can try to make your garage door springs last longer simply by reducing your garage door usage. This is not a practical option for every homeowner, but it is an interesting way to extend the life of your springs.
The professionals at Affordable Garage Door Repairs can tackle just about any need involving your garage door. Call us today for your free consultation and estimate on your garage door repairs.