Lubrication is an important part of garage door maintenance. Figuring out the right lubrication for the best operation can be tricky as there are so many options out there. In this guide we’ll look at the lubrication process and what lubrication does for the garage door as well as what to use and where to lubricate the door as well as a number of other factors about garage door lubricant.
Where to Use Garage Door Lubricant
There are many parts of the garage door, but first it’s important to understand the purpose of garage door lubricant and the proper places to put it.
What Does Garage Door Lubricant Do?
To put it simply, garage door lubricant keeps the various moving parts of your garage door in working order. Because so much stress is placed on the various parts of the door, lubricant helps to keep the parts from breaking down and keeps the door opening and closing as it should.
There are certain lubricants for different situations. Some lubricants are best for cold weather operation, when mechanical parts tend to lock up due to the cold. Others work well for heavy use and others reduce the amount of noise the garage door makes when opened and closed.
What to Lubricate
There are several moving parts to your garage door and knowing how to lubricate your garage door is important to keep in good operation. In short, you want to lubricate the metal parts, joints, and connections of your door. We’ll do a breakdown here to illustrate.
Hinges and Pivot Points. These are key areas because they carry the tension of the door. Each of the hinges and the pivot points need to be lubricated to ensure smooth operation.
Rollers and Ball Bearings. Metal rollers and ball bearings have to be “greased” in order to ensure that they keep moving. Not greasing the rollers and ball bearings can cause the door to snag or jam up completely when opening and closing. This will not only impede smooth operation but can cause injury.
End Bearing Plates. Lubricating the bearing plates helps to ensure smooth operation. Since the end bearing plates are responsible for supporting the load of the door during operation, proper lubrication is crucial to the door behaving as it should.
Torsion Springs. Essentially the torsion springs are used to pull the door up into the open position. If not lubricated properly the springs may stick mid-operation and cause the door to stick or jam.
What to Look at When Choosing Garage Door Lubricant
There are several factors to consider when picking the right lubricant for your garage door. Different lubricants will perform differently based on the conditions of the weather and the amount of wear on your garage door.
If you think that bottle of WD40 under your sink will do the trick, then think again. Lubricants used for heavy machinery like garage doors are quite different from oiling a squeaky door or floorboard.
When we think about lubricating something we typically think about oil or grease. While this is partly true, there are two distinct types of lubricant that are used for garage doors.
There are many lithium-based lubricants, but White Lithium Grease is considered the standard for lubricating metal parts. This is because lithium grease is easily applied and stays on the surface of the metal to reduce friction. It won’t soak into the metal so there’s always a thin layer of grease in-between moving parts.
Lithium grease doesn’t last as long as the other standard option because it is constantly being worn away as the garage door is used. If your goal is to preserve the integrity of your garage door’s parts, then lithium grease is the preferred option. Lithium grease has some degree of weather resistance but is not waterproof.
If you’re planning on using only lithium grease, then you will need to reapply more often but lithium grease is the best choice for high use and heavy friction doors that are in a moderate climate.
The other option for garage door lubricants is silicone. Silicone is best for penetrating into hard-to-reach areas like torsion springs, ball bearings, and other tight spaces where grease would not reach.
Silicone does not provide the same friction resistance as lithium grease but it makes up for that by being able to lubricate areas of the garage door that lithium grease won’t reach. It also lasts longer and has moisture and temperature resistance. If your garage door is in an extreme temperature environment, then silicone-based lubricant is the best option.
Like any lubricant, garage door lubricant comes in a variety of forms that work better for different situations and parts of your door. Some people will swear by one type or other but the choice likely will come down to which is easiest to apply in your given situation.
Greases and sprays are the most commonly used types, though there are oils, foams, and other types. Greases are typically applied directly to parts of the door by hand or with a rag and will stay on the surface of the metal to act as a buffer between parts, reducing friction. Sprays, on the other hand, are applied to internal parts such as springs and tend to seap down into machinery to keep it lubricated.
Finding the right lubricant for your garage door shouldn’t be something that breaks the bank. You can find many of the top brands of whatever your preference is for just a few dollars per product. Some niche products can cost more or only come in large quantities.
What you pay and how much you buy will be determined by your specific needs and how often you lubricate your garage door. For reference, we recommend lubricating your garage door every 3-6 months based on how much use they get and weather conditions.
Our Top Products List
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of what to look for in terms of lubricants, we’ll give you a brief overview of our top picks for the best garage door lubricant for specific situations.
Best For Silent Operation
No one can deny that when it comes to lubricants, WD40 is the undisputed king. However, this is not your typical under-the-counter WD40. This specialist white lithium grease is our pick for the best option for making your garage door open and close squeak-free.
The applicator comes as a sprayer making it easier to lubricate large sections without a lot of effort. White lithium grease is the best choice for cushioning metal parts and making them glide effortlessly.
Applying this product to areas like the rails and hinges will allow the door to slide up and down without that annoying groan that comes with age.
The best thing about this product is that it coats evenly and goes on as a liquid but then dries as a grease giving you the ability to lubricate almost any part of your door but still having the metal lubricating benefits of grease. One thing to note is that this product is incredibly powerful and thus cannot be used on things like rubber as it will eat through it.
Type: Lithium grease (spray)
- Easily lubricates metal
- Eliminates noise
- Easy to use
Tips on Using:
Attach the included sprayer and squeeze lightly until you feel pressure. Spray in even coats making sure not to touch parts other than metal. It is advised to use the product in a well-ventilated area as the fumes are quite strong.
Best Bang for a Buck Lubricant
This is our pick for the best bang for your buck lubricant. Not because it’s the cheapest out there, but because of what you get for the price you pay.
This is a silicone-based product that is applicable for residential and commercial garage doors. The formula is excellent at preventing rust and corrosion while still providing great lubrication and minimizing noise from doors.
The sprayer is the star of the show as it is a hinged spray that is attached to the nozzle and provides two different application options without wasting lubricant. The thin spray lets it reach into small and tight spaces. It also helps keep away dust and debris to keep things running smoothly.
Type: Silicone (Spray)
- Reduces squeaks and corrosion
- Easy application
- Keeps away dust and dirt
- Won’t damage rubber seals
Tips on Use:
The sprayer is attached to the nozzle making it easier to use. The spray can be thin, which is useful for spraying into tight spaces, but also may lead to overuse. It is best to spray small amounts rather than trying to coat or soak the parts. There is no worry about spraying rubber parts or toxic fumes so the lubricant is safe to apply as needed.
Best Lithium Garage Door Lubricant
This product, CRC white lithium grease is our pick for the best lithium-based garage door lubricant because of the fact that it has a variety of uses for heavily worn metal garage doors. Whether it’s a metal residential garage door or a large commercial one, this lubricant is ideal for keeping it running smoothly.
You won’t want to use this product on anything but metal as it can eat through other materials and even stain them white, but for metal application, this product helps to reduce jamming and snags and even keeps doors moving quietly.
This particular grease is also highly temperature resistant, long-lasting, and has no toxic odor, making it safer to use in confined spaces.
Type: Lithium grease (spray)
- Excellent for metal on metal application
- Prevents jamming and snags
- Cuts down noise
- No toxic fumes
Tips on Use:
Keep a bit of space between the sprayer and the object that needs lubrication. Make sure the lubricant doesn’t get on fabric, rubber, or other non-metal materials as it will potentially corrode or stain them. Apply evenly to parts and let dry.
Best for Cold Weather
Temperature variance is one of the biggest problems with lubricating a garage door. Extreme temperatures not only wear down parts faster, but some lubricants also can’t stand up to extreme heat or cold.
This product, Lubriplate Aero Multi-Purpose Grease is specifically designed to handle the most extreme hot or cold temperatures making it the ideal choice for lubricating garage doors that are in rough climates.
Though it is designed for garage door openers, this product can be applied to most parts of a garage door to reduce friction as well as squeaks and squeals. It comes out in a small bead and is easy to apply except in tight spaces.
With a mix of lithium and mineral oil you won’t have to worry about odors and the grease goes on white and stays that color meaning it’s easy to know when it’s time to reapply.
Type: Lithium grease (gel)
- Resists rust and corrosion
- Works in temperatures up to -70 degrees Fahrenheit
- Reduces noise
Tips on Use:
The applicator is tiny but the gel comes out in small beads. You only need to use a small amount on the opener and other parts to keep them moving even in extreme temperatures. Once the gel dries it remains white so it is advised to be careful not to over apply.
There you have our top 4 products for smooth garage door operation. While there are dozens of lubricants on the market, we’ve found that these work for a wide variety of purposes and can easily fit into your unique situation. Whether you’ve got a squeaky garage door on your home or a commercial door that has been worn down by the elements, one of these products will do the trick.
Our best advice is to figure out just what kind of shape your garage door is in, whether it is mostly metal or a mix of different materials, and find the right lubricant for your needs.