When your garage door needs fixing, and you’re looking to save some money, you might wonder about the prospect of DIY garage door repair as opposed to just calling in the pros to handle it. Chances are, this is not the way to go. As a homeowner, it’s up to you to discern between DIY jobs that can be handled with a Youtube tutorial and a trip to the hardware store and more complex projects that require a professional. For instance, replacing a toilet flange? Do it yourself. Replacing an entire bathroom? Call a contractor and a plumber.
And repairing your garage door requires that same kind of thinking. Your garage door is the largest moving object in your home and also one of the most dangerous. And while there are certain regular garage door repair tasks you can do yourself to keep your garage door in working order, generally when your garage door is in need of serious repair, you’ll want to call the experts for garage door maintenance. They’re the ones with the tools, knowledge, and experience necessary to tackle major problems safely and efficiently.
Let me reiterate here just so there’s no shred of ambiguity: making major repairs to a garage door can be extremely dangerous and should be left to the professionals.
DIY Garage Door Repair Do’s and Don’ts
When it comes to fixing a garage door, it’s always best to at least consult with a professional garage door servicing company to get their opinion. If it is something simple you can handle on your own, like a loose bolt or a fresh coat of lubrication, a reliable company will be up front with you and might even give you some tips. Most of the time, however, when something goes wrong with your garage door, it’s not something the average homeowner should mess with. In these more common and extreme situations, a simple mistake could make the problem much worse (and more expensive to fix) or cause a serious injury or even death. As a rule of thumb, when you’re in doubt, call the experts.
Do It Yourself Garage Door Repairs
With all that being said, there are certain minor garage door issues that the average homeowner can take on themselves without too much of a mess or risk. Here are a few of the more common ones (and how to solve them):
If your garage door is moving suspiciously slowly, and/or you hear metal scraping against metal on every cycle, it may just need to be lubricated. More “maintenance” than “repair”, lubricating your garage door is something you’ll want to do every three months or so. We recommend a Clopay Pro Lube, which you can find at most hardware stores, but any grease or lube designed for garage doors should be fine. Do NOT use WD-40 as this is an anti-rust agent (not a lubricant) that can actually make the problem worse.
The weatherstripping on the bottom of your garage door is designed to keep your garage protected from the heat of the summer and the frigid temperatures of the winter. Exposed to both the elements and the pressure of your garage door through every cycle, your weatherstripping’s lifespan is much shorter than that of your garage door. Replacing weatherstripping isn’t terribly complex, but you will want to make sure you order the product right for your specific door (they are not universal). While you might be able to handle this on your own, we suggest saving the time, energy, and hassle and leaving this task up to the professionals.
Tightening loose bolts
Changes in temperature can cause the hardware on your garage door to expand or contract. So in extreme cold, it’s not terribly uncommon to notice a loose bolt or two near the hinges of the door itself. There is no harm in grabbing a socket wrench or adjustable wrench and tightening things up on your own. If hardware is broken, compromised, or jeopardizes the integrity of your garage door, however, it’s time to put away the wrench and pick up the phone.
Professional Garage Door Repairs
More dire situations surrounding the operation and mechanics of your garage door will most certainly require professional assistance. Do not try these at home.
Garage Door Spring Replacement
Springs are designed to assist in the lifting and lowering of a very heavy garage door. And as you might expect, there is A LOT of built up tension in garage door springs. One wrong move near a faulty spring, and you could do extensive damage to your door, your garage, or yourself. It is not worth the risk. Call the professionals.
Tracks are designed to hold your garage door in place in the up position, the down position, and everything in between. Adjusting or replacing these tracks on your own can be a major risk. If they’re not installed just right, your garage door may come crashing to the ground unexpectedly. This will not only ruin your garage door, but it can be extremely dangerous to anyone or anything in or near its path. If your track needs fixed, call the experts.
Your garage door cables are sturdy and built to last. But if you notice your cables are fraying, scratching, falling out of line, or anything else out of the ordinary, you’ll want to call a repair technician to have a look and make any necessary fixes. Cables are one of the many components keeping your garage door in place at all times. Messing with them in any capacity can be a bad move for a homeowner.
Complete Door Replacement
Under no circumstances should you ever attempt a complete garage door replacement on your own. Such a move would include messing with more complicated tasks including those mentioned previously which are strictly for the professionals. And if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can get seriously injured at practically every step throughout the process. It is simply not worth saving a few bucks. Call the repair experts and leave the heavy lifting to them.
Is It Safe to Repair a Garage Door By Yourself?
Generally, no. It is safe to take care of your garage door, maintain your garage door, and keep an eye out for potential problems. In fact, you should be doing all of these things. It is not, however, safe to try to repair or replace dangerous components like the springs, the cables, and the door itself. Garage door repair can be extremely dangerous if you’ve never done it before and finding a reliable provider of these services is always going to be your best bet. Bottom line: play it safe and avoid DIY garage door repair.