Like any mechanical equipment, automatic gates need their fair share of care and maintenance to keep them in pristine operating condition. Regardless of the type of gate you have – whether it’s a sliding gate, swing gate or a custom gate – a little common-sense preventative maintenance will help you to avoid costly bills for repair and replacement.
We have some helpful tips so you can get the best out of your automatic gate system and avoid costly repairs and parts replacements.
The first step in any good gate maintenance program is carrying out regular visual inspections. Running your eye over all gate components will help you to catch any minor issues before they become major problems.
Check for any loose bolts or fixtures. Make sure everything is tight and in the right place. Check the gate for any unusual wobbles or any components that seem to be moving more than they should.
Ensure all tracks, rails, chains or belts are in good working condition. Take note of any significant wear and tear or signs of damage.
And just because it’s a visual inspection, doesn’t mean you can’t make use of your other senses. Open and close your gate a few times and have a listen for anything that doesn’t sound right. Check that the motor isn’t making any unusual noises and that there is no grinding or squeaking coming from any hinges, bearings, bushes or picot points.
Get serious about rust prevention
Exposure to the elements is eventually going to be a problem for any metal machinery components. And your automatic gate is no exception. So, it’s important to not just keep an eye out for rust, but to be proactive about rust prevention.
Keeping your gate clean and properly lubricated will help to prevent rust. However, if you do notice the early stages of rust build-up, it can be quickly and easily cleaned off with mild detergent. For rust and corrosion that has progressed further, scrubbing with sandpaper should be enough to get rid of it.
Keep it lubricated
Keeping your gate’s moving parts lubricated is vital for the smooth and easy movement of the system. An unlubricated system will have to deal with greater levels of friction and over time this can overwork the motor, as well as putting unnecessary stress on other components.
Your gate should be lubricated every six months using an appropriate or recommended lubricant. Areas to pay attention to include chains, rollers, pulleys, hinges and motor components.
Watch out for obstructions
Another important element of gate maintenance is ensuring that the whole system is free from obstructions. A branch caught in the opening mechanism or a rock in the opening path can cause major damage to the system.
Make sure that no branches or hedges are in a position to interfere with the operation of the gate. Check that the gate’s opening/closing path is free from rocks, roots and other ground obstructions that could derail the system or damage components.
Check the auto-reverse function
An automatic gate system will have an auto-reverse function and it’s important that this is tested monthly. This is usually a sensor or pressure system that will reverse the path of the gate in the case of an obstruction. This system will stop the gate from opening or closing on cars, people, pets or anything else in the path of the gate.
To test the auto-reverse system, you can simply place a small piece of timber or other obstruction in the opening/closing path of the gate. When the gate senses the obstruction, it should reverse path immediately. If it doesn’t, you need to get a technician in straight away. An improperly functioning auto-reverse mechanism is a serious safety hazard.
Finally, you should get your automatic gate system serviced according to manufacturer recommendations. A service will include a range of factors including a safety check, full motor service, hardware check and lubrication, as well as checks on the electrical system and control systems.
The longevity of your automatic gate system depends on you providing regular and quality maintenance. Read our another blog on “Difference Between Automatic Swing Gates and Sliding Gates“