Intangible Tools For Garage Door Repair
When you view a garage door going up or down, you likely survey the largest moving part in a home’s mechanical structure. As such, it requires a lot of sub-parts. And these wear out due to the law of Entropy, or whatever you call it. In my observations of garage doors–both in normal function and in the replacement process–I see that there are many things that have to happen in a mechanical sense for the door to operate correctly. So it should come as no surprise that getting it adjusted and fixed is not a game of horseshoes.
If you are thinking of doing it yourself, remember that people are wired in ways that are inscrutable. They defy categorization, despite the best efforts of those involved in personality typing. That said, I believe there are certain personality traits, and safeguards for compensating for lack of them, that would help a do-it-yourself project in the area of garage doors to be a friendly undertaking. Taken together, your answers to the questions below will constitute your “default approach profile:”
1. Are you hardly or easily distracted?
People who are easily distracted will have a harder time keeping track of the many small parts required to do a garage door repair. Also, the distracted will struggle to place the sections appropriately, put fixtures in the right places, hang hardware the right direction, and on and on. Putting a part on the wrong way and having to remove and replace it is a recipe for even more distraction.
2. Do you gravitate toward well-thought out solutions or quick fixes?
Don’t drive a race car around a track and then come inside and repair a garage door! Those who want instant results will have to learn to be patient and bear with many small successful steps in order to achieve the larger goal of garage door repair. There are often a lot of steps with this, which one will have to persevere through.
3. Are you an intensely practical person or a lavish, “big hearted” one?
People who make generous motions without much forward thinking may have to rein in their traits in favor of a more conservative approach. There would be little room for an action like “just pouring out all the screws on the floor, to be sorted out later.” In my observation of a garage door replacement, I saw that, for best results, parts must be laid out in exact measure, at the points where they will be used, so the repair person will not have to go over the same ground twice to get more parts. One would also need to position a supply vehicle for convenient part access and scrap/recycling. The idea is: save steps and save energy, as the repairer will need a good deal of physical and mental alertness for a perhaps challenging moment later in the procedure.
4. When you read instructions, do you consider them lifelines or guidelines?
If you are the unchecked latter, don’t try to replace garage door torsion springs! The energy released by these, if they are handled incorrectly, can injure or even kill you. Of course, there are ornamental options with doors, but generally, every stage of directions must be followed. You can hardly rest at night knowing your door is beautiful but non-functional.
5. Did you enjoy math in school? If so, why?
In garage door repair and replacement instructions, verbs like “to measure,” “ to mark,” “ to weigh,” “to adjust”and “ to draw,” appear in various forms frequently. This means you will be doing all of these and more with very practical implications for accuracy. I say the “why” is important for the math-inclined person, because if you ever sit and figure out the place values of Pi just because it’s gratifying to see what comes next, you may need to change your thinking patterns to be effective. If your math interests are combined with interests in philosophy or as a math professor, for examples, you may find yourself distracted at a point which requires pinpoint accuracy. If, however, you like math, and do well at it because it is a stepping stone to a satisfying, but often physically demanding job well done, you may find it easier.
6. Are you security-minded?
Together, the verbs “to secure” and “to tighten” occurred most frequently in the door replacement narrative I originally composed. With that much emphasis on security and securing, how are you doing? Are you the kind of person that double-locks all your doors at night? Do you lock your car even when walking away for a minute? More specifically, do you do well at physically securing things? When you assemble smaller things, do you put all the screws, nuts, bolts, washers, etc. in? Or do you omit steps in order to save time or materials? Generally speaking, an attitude of security-mindedness will spill over into more areas if you are careful to get the message. (I am thinking of taking a survey some time: After a seminar on home security, how many people will put hand sanitizer bottles in their cars?)
7. When watching a movie or a play, do you make connections to the plot early on?
Maverick thought here. How well do you follow a plot? A garage door repair or replacement involves many connections, not unlike the structure of a good story. Why each step in the process occurs the way it does is by design, and being able to follow the “why” behind each connection will give the repair person a good feel for the project as a whole. Also, all parts are engineered with certain shapes, sizes, strengths, and other specifications for good reason, and an inquiring mind about these will go a long way.
Hope for the Challenged
If the above analysis doesn’t sound like you, read on. My aim is to give serious thought to the processes associated with such repair, and discuss the various intangible tools which I believe are helpful. Anyone with basic mechanical skills, and some effort and preparation, can do a repair or replacement, but the level of forethought will vary depending on the nature and scope of the project, and the “default approach profile” of the repairer.
Firstly, I suggest that, if you have a profession in which you thrive on originality and a free-form approach, that you try drying yourself out. I propose that music may play a role. Put on J. S. Bach (my own favorite). Much of his music is quite mathematical and consistent in tempo. For a graphic representation of this, put “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” in the search box in You Tube. There is a video which shows a rolling graphic display of the notes and patterns of that great masterpiece. The Web shows similar videos for other like composers. And if you think my touting music as a brain training aid is questionable, just look at the Muzak Corporation’s success!
Invite someone skilled in general repairs to come over and help organize all the parts and the playing field. That will accomplish much en route to a good job. You can take notes on how the area is organized, and when he or she leaves, you will sense a psychological head start in getting there.
Regardless of your style, starting with a clean field provides a big boost. Sweep the garage. Put away the bicycles far from view. Do not let anything trip you up. Make sure the small parts are readily findable. And think security, with its various implications.
You may also want to visually study the door’s structure and function. Ask questions like “Why is this part here?” “What would happen if it was not present or malfunctioned?” Think even more mechanically than you ordinarily do. That inquisitive approach will prove to be an education in itself.
The Internet-savvy will benefit, of course, from all the relevant Web material out there on garage doors.
In summary, help yourself as much as possible. Got the basic skills? Then you can really do this job with some preparation and encouragement. I wish you a fully successful repair, a sense of accomplishment, and money savings as you venture into the world of doing it yourself!
About the Author
James E. Quattrochi is a Support Writer for DDM Garage Doors. He holds a Bachelor of Arts, Magna cum Laude, in Public Communication and Human Relations from Western Illinois University, and has attended Wheaton College Graduate School. Find out about replacing garage door springs, hardware, cables and more by visiting DDM’s home page and connecting to helpful information in their blog, as well as step-by-step repair instructions for homeowners, and commercial/industrial repair staff
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