Whether you have a manual or an automatic driveway gate you will inevitably need some kind of repair service or maintenance fix in the future. While properly installed driveway gates are generally made to be long-lasting and durable you’ll sometimes encounter issues like electronic or mechanical failures, vehicle damage, weather damage and problems from normal wear and tear.
To avoid compromising the safety and security of your home and family, and minimizing the cost of repairs, follow this guide to identify common causes of gate failure and when to call a professional gate repair technician.
Wood sliding driveway gate with chain and automatic gate operator
The difference in driveway gate repairs
Driveway gates can be as varied as the properties on which they’re installed. While you can find stock designs and prefabricated gates at the big box retailers, sometimes a custom driveway gate is necessary due to landscaping, the size of a driveway, or even your preference in style and design.
Depending on the gate you have installed the complexity of your repairs can vary quite a bit.
Manual gates don’t use any electronics and use simple mechanics to open and close, like rolling along a track or opening on hinges like any other gate or door.
Electronic (automatic) driveway gates can be a little more complex, depending on the nature of the repair and you have other accessories built in as part of the operation like vehicle detection systems, keyless entry, computer controlled systems, wiring, hydraulics, and more.
Repair and maintenance is inevitable for any driveway gate
Regardless of the size, materials, design, or type of driveway gate you have installed, you will eventually need some kind of repair service. While quality, professionally installed driveway gates require little to no maintenance there are still issues that can come up.
Normal wear and tear that comes from standard operation will eventually result in repair needs to tracks, hinges, latches and other elements but there are causes for driveway gate service and repair.
Common causes of driveway gate failure
Inclement weather/weather damage – Driveway gates are extremely durable but extreme weather can lead to weakened or damaged parts. This can come from downed trees/branches, lightning strikes, high winds, debris, etc.
Improper use – Any use of a gate outside of its intended use can stress the mechanical and electronic systems leading to premature failure and damage.
Uncommon conditions/events – Repair may be necessary when accidents or damage occur from things like vehicle collision or natural disasters like earthquakes or fires.
Electrical failure – With automatic gates there are a number of electronic systems that can fail such as the wiring, electrical connections, maglocks, and other accessories like keypads and sensor bars. It’s important to monitor these components because you don’t want safety systems to fail.
Automatic Gate Operator
How to tell what your driveway gate needs repair service
With all the different potential points of failure it’s important to know signs that could indicate a need for maintenance and repair. If you spot any of the following you should reach out to a professional gate installation and repair company to inspect your driveway gate immediately.
- Grinding or grating sounds when the gate is opening or closing
- Latch failure such as the gate not closing completely
- Misalignment of gates to one another
- Sagging in the gate
- Cracks, breaks, or visible structural issues
- Lack of response in automatic gate operation when opening or closing
- Long response delays in operation when a gate is supposed to open or close (or failure to open or close)
- Resistance when opening or closing a gate
- Sensors failing to detect vehicles, or safety sensors not halting operation when motion is detected while closing
- Driveway gate latches but does not lock (such as maglock failure)
- Gate won’t stay closed (swings or rolls open on its own)
- Obvious electrical or operational issues with automatic gates such as the gate opening and closing on its own
- Dings, dents, and weathered appearance
Technicians repairing an electric gate operator
Why choose a professional for gate repair services?
A properly installed driveway gate should give a homeowner or business very few problems. Unfortunately, not all contractors are created equal and sometimes they cut corners during installation or parts ordering.
Even manual driveway gates can be complicated to install properly and require experience and skill for precise installation. The same applies to repairs.
Both manual and electric driveway gates use heavy materials, with gates that can weigh several hundred pounds. Attempts at DIY repair or an unskilled contractor could result in additional damage including injury to yourself or others. You could also see abnormal wear and tear result from improper installation.
Automatic gates come with even more risk when you factor in the electrical components that must be handled properly and only repaired by a knowledgeable, certified technician.
When you work with a professional, skilled driveway gate installation and repair technician you know that the service and parts are guaranteed, that proper parts will be used, and the contractor won’t take shortcuts to get the job done quickly.
The right gate repair service is a smart investment that ultimately saves you time and money because it’s fixed right the first time, and the overall life of the driveway gate will be much longer.
Tips for choosing the right gate repair specialist
Ask for recommendations
You don’t have to leave your search up to Google when looking for a gate repair technician. Start with friends, family and coworkers. Find out if anyone has worked with a reputable company they would recommend.
The people you know aren’t likely to recommend someone unless they can really vouch for the quality of their work. Don’t be afraid to check with professional contacts to ask for competent recommendations and referrals.
Testimonials are great if a company has them, but get some references from past customers (residential and/or commercial) to find out of if they were satisfied with the repair work or installation that was done by the contractor.
Is the technician asking questions and actually inspecting the gate?
When you meet with the service technician to have them assess the need for repair, pay attention to the questions being asked (if they even ask any) and how thoroughly they look over and inspect your driveway gate. Especially if the problem isn’t immediately obvious (like a gate physically damaged by a fallen tree or vehicle collision.) You want to know the inspection and estimate is accurate.
Do they offer service guarantees?
A reputable driveway gate repair service is more than happy to offer service guarantees on the work they do, which should include issues with replacement parts. Avoid working with any contractor not willing to offer even a limited guarantee on their work.
Are they offering realistic options or suggesting more work than necessary?
While it’s important to trust your repair technician to some extent, be wary of unrealistic recommendations. For example, it’s not common to need to replace an entire driveway gate if a latch is failing to close properly.
If you’re unsure about the recommendation from your repair technician don’t hesitate to get a second opinion.
Can they do the work in a reasonable amount of time?
Some repairs can take longer depending on the complexity of your driveway gate, the type of repair needed, parts availability, and the availability/schedule of the contractor. With gate failure you’re looking at security as well as safety concerns, so choose a technician who can repair your driveway gate quickly without cutting corners. You shouldn’t have to wait weeks to get your gate repaired.
Will the work be subcontracted?
Be sure to ask who will be performing the driveway gate repair. It’s not uncommon for busy contractors to initiate a repair job and then subcontract the work due to availability, skill, or resource issues. There’s nothing wrong with a subcontractor handling the work as long as it’s a skilled individual and you’re comfortable with the arrangement.
Check how long they’ve been operating
While the length of time a company has been operating isn’t exactly representative of their skill, it’s comforting to know your driveway gate repair company has a few years of experience under their belt.
Find the Right Gate Repair Company
Do your due diligence when looking for a driveway gate repair company. Putting in a little extra time to find the right repair company is a smart investment. You know that quality work will be done using the best parts for the job, and the work is guaranteed so if something does go wrong the contractor will handle issues that pop up.
Find this information useful? Sign-up to receive free email newsletter to receive the latest tips and updates.