Taking proper care of your garage door will prolong the lifespan and ensure that it always functions properly. Part of that process that is often overlooked, is the lubrication process.
Like all mechanical equipment, lubrication is the key to smooth operation. Making sure your garage door is properly lubricated ensures that all the moving components stay moving fluidly, prevents wear and tear, reduces noise, particularly for those loud squeaky doors, and most importantly, lessens the likelihood of accidents and damage
Why Should You Lubricate Your Garage Door?
Lubrication is important for a lot of reasons. It will protect the door from premature wear and tear, help it move more smoothly, reduce the amount of noise and squeaking when it opens and closes, and give you years (and perhaps even decades) added to your service life. More importantly though, lubricating your garage door can prevent accidents by lowering friction against any components that might come into contact with each other or anything else in its proximity.
What Parts Of The Garage Door To Lubricate
The entire process should be carried out on both sides of the door because it is important that you have the correct products (and the right amount of them) for any given surface or part of the door. Now we'll break down what parts to lubricate and how and which ones not to lubricate and why.
Grease Steel Rollers
The most important part of the door to lubricate is the steel rollers, which are located at each end. These should be greased with a heavy-duty lithium grease designed for garage doors as well as other industrial applications that require heavy duty metal surfaces.
Be sure not to grease nylon roller wheels as they don't take grease the same way. Instead focus on only greasing the shafts.
The hinges of the garage door should also be lubricated. This is especially important if you have a metal track for your door because these will corrode and can lock up fairly easily, which may require an expensive repair job.
Lubricate Garage Door Springs
The springs are important to lubricate for the same reason as other parts, to prevent jamming, corrosion and premature wear and tear. Nylon springs don't take grease so avoid lubricating those as well.
Lubricate the Spring Shafts and End Bearings
Lubricate the spring shafts and end bearings to reduce wear friction. This will make sure that the door glides like it is supposed to. Unsightly hang ups during opening and closing can lead to injury or damaged property.
Always be sure to clean lubrication points after the job is complete.
What Not to Lubricate on Your Garage Door
There are some parts of the garage door that should not be lubricated. The latch, torsion springs and cables or pulleys need to remain dry and free from any kind of lubricant because this will inhibit their ability to function properly.
Unfortunately lubricant can build up and actually cause these parts to jam. Also, the lubricant can attract dust and other debris that will cause corrosion on some parts and friction and movement loss in others.
A good rule of thumb is to only grease moving parts that are made of metal and joints at the intersection points.
Do not grease tracks, nylon or rubberized parts, or any piece that doesn't typically accept lubricant, even if you are using the proper type of lithium grease.
Many times we see folks ask “do I need to lubricate the entire garage door?” The answer is no, you do not need to lubricate the entire garage door, mainly just the moving parts. The opener does need to be greased because it is a moving part,
Before we Start: Pre-Lubrication Maintenance Checklist
We're going to go over some things you'll need before you start the actual lubrication process. First we'll answer a couple of simple questions about how to lubricate your door that weren't covered earlier in the guide.
- Start by turning off the power to your garage door. It may be tempting to test it while you're greasing it, but since you're dealing with grease and a large moving object, you don't want any slip ups that can cause accidents and injuries.
- Always wear protective gear, eyewear and gloves when dealing with machinery
- Before you break out the grease, begin by tightening down all the different removable parts of the door, nuts, bolts, hinges, and other pieces. Be sure not to over tighten anything and if something is worn out, stop and replace it.
- Inspect and clean out the rollers. The rollers typically have open cased ball bearings which means they build up dirt and debris inside them which causes them to shift on the track and make for a noisy garage door.
- Replace any worn rollers or bearings if possible. Lubrication won't save parts that have already worn down past their usable lifespan
- Much like any other door on your home, check the hinges. They can become worn and start to make noise and even stick which can disrupt operation and make for a dangerous situation
- Check the door opener chain for defects. Before you tighten the chain or try to apply lubricant, make sure the chain itself is in working order. Bends, kinks or breaks in the chain will cause it not to pull correctly.
- Tighten the chain just enough to where it is not loose, but not so tight as to cause tension and possibly snap it. It needs to be able to roll effectively so over tightening is bad.
Step By Step Guide to Lubricating a Garage Door
Step 1: Gather what you need to do the job. This goes without saying, but you want your cleaning supplies, safety gear, grease, application method, and something to clean after you're done lubricating. You don't want to leave the job half done because you forgot some tools.
Step 2: Turn off garage door power. This should be your first step even if you're not lubricating the door, any time you do work on your door, make sure to disabled the power and put away the remote. Accidentally opening or closing the door is dangerous
Step 3: Start with the tracks. Wipe them down with a damp cloth or sponge. Never lubricate the tracks, it will cause them to catch and the door opener will pull harder to get the door up. You're cleaning the tracks so you want to remove dirt and debris. If you're having trouble, brake line cleaner will work to remove the dirt. Be sure to completely dry the tracks once you're done cleaning.
Step 4: Open the door, start from the top down and lubricate the hinges. Be sure to grease the interior and exterior of each hinge. If you miss a spot you'll wind up with a squeaky door. Be sure lubricant is sprayed where the track meets the hinges, this connection point is a high wear area.
Step 5: Thoroughly lubricate the rollers, one at a time, including the ball bearings inside the rollers (be sure not to lubricate the track).
Step 6: Make sure the door is in position to expose the torsion springs (the springs that lift the door up) and completely coat the springs in lubricant. The springs are usually steel and you want to make sure there is enough lubricant over the entire spring to endure the motion.
Step 7: Lubricate the top rail (where the chain rides) of your garage door with a rag, spreading the grease around evenly. The chain itself should be pre-lubricated, but the rail should be lubricated thoroughly.
Step 8: Double check hinges, springs, bearings, and rollers to make sure each one has been lubricated completely. Remove excess lubricant and wipe everything down so that it’s clean and debris free. Double checking will help you make sure everything is accounted for and you don’t end up with a partially lubricated door.
How Often Should You Lubricate the Moving Parts of Your Garage Door?
Springs – These are one of the high traffic areas of your garage door and should be lubricated about every 3 months.
Hinges – Much like the springs, every 3 months, more if weather and extreme use play a factor.
Rollers – Also every 3 months unless use demands more frequent lubrication
Tracks – DO NOT lubricate, but clean the tracks roughly every 6 months or more to keep them free of debris and grime buildup
Rail – The rail that your chain rides in should be greased every other time that you lubricate the other components or about every 6 months.
Choosing the Right Lubricant
As we talked about earlier in the guide, not just any lubricant will do when it comes to your garage door. Garage doors are heavy duty pieces of machinery that endure a lot of wear. To help you get the most life out of your door, we’ll detail some options for the right lubricant for different situations.
Garage door lubricant prolongs the life of your garage door and prevents wear and tear. Not only that, the right lubricant will keep your door quiet and prevent snags and accidents when opening and closing the door.
Best Silent Operation Lubricant
Because it reduces friction, a healthy coating of white lithium grease is the best solution for noisy doors. Though it doesn’t soak into the internal parts as easily as a silicon spray, it stays on the surface of parts for a longer duration and provides excellent noise free operation.
Best Cold Weather Lubricant
The best option for cold weather application is a silicon based spray lubricant. We recommend silicon because it penetrates springs and other parts and has more moisture resistance. Silicon also has a higher temperature resistance making it ideal for extremely hot or cold climates.
Best White Lithium Grease
While we don’t like to play favorites in terms of products, the go to white lithium grease lubricant comes from WD40, the same lubricant brand that is used for other jobs around the home. The WD40 Specialist White Lithium Grease is specially formulated for metal on metal lubrication to prolong the life of your garage door’s components.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I Oil My Garage Door Rollers?
Yes, the rollers face a lot of wear. We recommend every 3 months under normal use to prevent breakdowns and squeaking. Most of the moving parts on your garage door should follow this same rule.
How to Lubricate Your Screw Drive Garage Opener
This is a tricky component that many owners complain about. You’ll basically want to lubricate the rod starting at the door end of the rail. Use a small amount of grease every two feet or so and liberally coat the screw rod itself until it meets the unit.
Once the lubricant has been applied, power on the door and operate it a few times to ensure smooth operation.
Wrapping Up: Our Guide to Garage Door Lubrication Basics
Hopefully our guide has given you what you need to know to keep your garage door in working order no matter how much wear you put on it.
A garage door is by no means a small investment, it protects your vehicles and your home from the elements. Proper maintenance will ensure it lasts for years to come.