How to Maintain Your Automatic Driveway Security Gate -- Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Gate Running Smoothly
After having a gorgeous new gate designed and installed, it’s surprising that one of the most commonly overlooked maintenance items is keeping the gate clean and well-maintained.
Keeping it Clean
Similar to an automobile, your gate will look its best if it is regularly washed and occasionally waxed.
It can be quite expensive to have a gate removed, sandblasted, powder coated, and rehung once its finish has faded, flaked off, or rusted. It doesn’t take long for your gate’s once pristine appearance to become tarnished due to neglect.
Washing and waxing your gate once a year can keep it looking beautiful for a long time to come.
Dealing with Pests
In addition to the look of your gate, a real concern for all electrical equipment that is installed outdoors is insect, snail, and reptile damage.
Snails and slugs can destroy a circuit board in short order. The slime trails they leave behind become highly conductive with even the most minuscule amount of moisture.
Spider webs with even the slightest bit of moisture on them can also conduct electricity and damage a gate’s circuit board. And bee’s nests and ant hills can rapidly corrode gate opener circuitry.
Quality Matters – Take I
Higher quality automatic gate equipment is more resistant to intrusions by these troublesome pests and the circuitry is more resistant to damage. This is because circuit boards on higher end automatic gate operators are enclosed in more secure enclosures, and the circuit boards themselves are dipped in a protective coating.
That being said, there is no brand of automated gate equipment that will last indefinitely if it is left to the legs and wings of pests. We recommend that owners of automatic gate systems keep a vigilant eye and set up a yearly maintenance appointment, to help make sure pests don’t destroy your driveway gate system and to keep your gate looking like new.
Keeping Your Automation Equipment Humming Along
Mechanically, the maintenance needs of an automated gate system will vary greatly depending on the type of system you have installed.
Quality Matters – Take II
A lower cost system will require more maintenance than a higher end system.
This is because a higher end system is installed with sealed bearing, maintenance-free hinges on swing gates, and sealed bearing maintenance-free wheels on slide gates. Higher end systems will also have higher quality automated gate equipment that does not need to be adjusted as often as lower end systems.
Lubricating Important Parts
If your system does not have sealed bearing hinges or wheels, you should make sure that the bearings stay lubricated by using marine grade grease applied through the grease fittings using a grease gun.
Many swing gate and slide gate operators have internal chains that should be lubricated. Slide gate operators also have the main drive chain that should be lubricated.
WD-40 should never be used as a lubricant for any of these chains. A heavy grease is only a slightly better option. The best option is spray on white lithium grease.
The Big Picture
Regardless of where your gate falls on the quality spectrum, all systems will need to be checked periodically to ensure that the gates are opening and closing with the correct amount of force, and that the reversing devices are functioning properly.
It is also important to tighten all electrical connections, as they can loosen over time due to vibration and expansion/contraction caused by weather. In addition, the driveway gate system should be checked periodically to ensure there has been no mechanical damage that is causing the gate operator to work harder than it should be, thereby shortening its life.
Summing it Up
Your ability and willingness to maintain your system should be factored into your decision on whether you want a lower end or higher end system, and whether you want to contract with a competent automated gate system installer who can share with you tips on maintenance and maintenance contract options.