How to Properly Maintain Your Automatic Driveway Gate

When you are looking for an automatic driveway gate or garage door repair, new gate or garage door openers or preventative maintenance in Orange County, California, call Entry Systems automatic gate and garage door service professionals. In most cases, we can provide same-day service.

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Many new gate and even longtime automatic gate owners don’t understand the importance of gate maintenance. Most people think of an automatic driveway gate in the same way that they think of a refrigerator; it works and works and works until it doesn’t. Then when it breaks down, it's an emergency. Most people believe that once a contractor has installed their iron gate, it is unnecessary to think about it again, but a gate needs regular maintenance. Just like your refrigerator which keeps your food cold, your automatic gate functioning well can be very important for your home or office security. This is because your automatic gate typically ties into your fence to put a perimeter around your property to deny access to those who have not been permitted to visit your home.

These “emergencies” can be avoided with a little regular gate motor maintenance and driveway gate maintenance. The Entry Systems team is ready and willing to take care of your automatic gate (and garage door) maintenance and repair needs. However, if you would like to take care of it yourself the following tips and information will come in handy.

This is an image of a wood swing automatic gate in front of a residential home.

Types of Automatic Driveway Gates

There are many different types of automatic gate systems, including iron gates, aluminum gates, wood gates and steel gates. These can be designed to function as slide gates, swing gates or overhead operating. Despite what the gate is made of or how it opens, regular electric gate maintenance can help ensure that the moving parts will continue to function, so you are not surprised with a gate stuck open or closed.

This is an image of a linear gate operator system.

How often should my gate be serviced?

Below we have broken down our recommendations for automatic driveway gate maintenance needs into a monthly visual inspection, six-month maintenance actions and annual checks that we recommend be completed by a professional automatic gate services technician.

Monthly Visual Inspection of Your Automatic Driveway Gate

The first step is a visual inspection which does not need to be time-consuming, and this process will keep your gate working and in good shape.

Consider these questions:

  • Does the automatic gate move freely by hand?
  • Is the gate damaged?
  • Are there broken parts of the gate?
  • Is the gate bent?
  • Does the gate sag or drag on the driveway?
  • Are the wheels on the track? (sliding automatic driveway gates)
  • Is the gate track intact and undamaged? (sliding automatic driveway gates)
  • Do the gate hinges show obvious signs of wear or failure?
  • Is the gate movement area free of debris and intruding plants?

If any of the above issues are present, correct them or contact the Entry Systems Team for service.

Every Six Months Follow these Steps for Automatic Gate Maintenance

Once the above issues have been attended to, please follow the steps below. They should be done once every 6 months.

For sliding automatic gates:

  • Check the chain. It should have a little sag in it: 1” of sag per 10’ of chain. Adjust as necessary. Be sure that the chain adjusting bolt at each end of the chain is tight.
  • If the chain is rusted, inspect it closely. The chain should move freely at every link. If the chain is rusted solid because of moisture and won't bend at the joints, it needs to be replaced. If the chain has been neglected for a while it would be wise to replace it.
  • Lubricate the chain. Any number of spray lubrication products will work, including white lithium grease or silicon productions. I prefer motorcycle chain lube. Open the gate, spray the chain, and let the gate remain open for an hour or two to let the excess drip off.
  • Lubricate the wheels if possible. A lubricatable wheel will have zerk fitting extending from the wheel hub. It is sometimes necessary to move the gate to expose the fitting. A grease gun is required.
  • Check the pinch rollers. These are located near the top of the electric gate. They hold the gate at the top, keep it vertical, and prevent it from falling over. There is usually one on each side of the gate. The roller should rotate freely and not wobble on the axis bolt.

For swinging automatic gates:

  • Lubricate the hinges. Many hinges have zerk fittings.
  • Check the drive arm bolts: where the arm attaches to the gate and where the arm bends. The bolts should be snug.
  • Lubricate the arm bolts where there is movement.

For all automatic gates:

  • Test the manual release (important!)
  • Clean the solar panel (if present) to remove dirt and insects.
  • Test the battery backup. (if applicable) Test it when you don’t need it. Batteries need replacement every three years. Don’t wait for the next power failure to find out that you have a problem.
  • Clean photo eye lens and reflector.
  • If you have vehicle loops in your driveway, check the cuts in the concrete. If the wire is exposed, have the cuts resealed. If the wire is damaged, replacement is necessary.
  • Test all devices: keypad, transmitter, loops, and photo eye. If any of them don’t work, have them serviced or replaced.
  • Visually inspect the electrical boxes. Are they all closed?
  • Keep landscaping away from the automatic gate operator. Plants around the gate opener can make service difficult, increase your cost for repairs, and may make repair impossible without the removal of the plants.

Annual Checks Best Done by a Trained Automatic Gate Technician

The following steps are additional necessary checks, but not recommended to be done by the average homeowner, and best left to a trained automatic gate technician. Most professional gate companies use a gate maintenance checklist.

  • Turn off the power. Remove cover.
  • Check and tighten mounting bolts.
  • Visually inspect the drive belt. Replace if worn.
  • Lubricate any internal chains and bearings.
  • Check electrical connections and screw terminals.
  • Clean out accumulated debris.
  • Look for rodent infestation. Droppings and urine will be obvious. If found, call a pest control company. Rodent urine and feces cause electrical damage. Rodents eat vinyl and sever wires. Rodents attract snakes. Keeping the debris out, the gate clean and the landscaping away from the gate opener and electrical components will help keep rodents away from your house or business. Rats are endemic, their presence is not a reflection upon you.

Proper automatic gate maintenance ensures that your gate opener and gate will give you years of good service. Thorough automatic gate maintenance requires that all of the applicable steps listed above be addressed and should be completed beyond a yearly maintenance check. It is possible for the DIYer to perform thorough maintenance, however, if the job seems a little bigger than you thought it would be, give us a call. Entry Systems Garage Doors & Gate Services is here to take care of all your automatic gate maintenance and repair needs.