Is Your Garage Ready to Roll? How to Maintain Your Garage Door Rollers

Garage door rollers allow your door to move smoothly up and down the tracks. However, if they’re of poor quality, or you neglect their regular maintenance, your garage door is in for a rough and noisy ride. Here are some expert tips on how to keep your rollers in optimal shape. 

Know your rollers

There are several types of garage door rollers. They differ in quality and maintenance needs.

  • Plastic rollers are the lowest quality. They deliver adequate performance at best and are designed to last only a few years. Unlike other types of rollers, they don’t have ball bearings.
  • Steel rollers last the longest, sometimes upwards of two decades. However, their performance isn’t the best, and they’re noisy.
  • Nylon rollers are the quietest and offer the best performance. Depending on their quality, they can last between 12 and 20 years. Nylon rollers sometimes contain exposed ball bearings like steel rollers but can also have concealed or “sealed” ball bearings. Alternatively, some nylon rollers operate like plastic rollers and have no ball bearings.

Get Ready to Roll!

Before performing any kind of maintenance on your garage door, it’s important to cut the power as a safety precaution. Having the door open up while you’re working on it could spell disaster, so make sure to unplug the opener.

You’ll also need to disengage the opener, which will allow you to move the garage door up and down manually. This makes for easier access to the lower rollers and lets you distribute lubricant as you go by sliding the door along the tracks. When in doubt, request a service call from one of our garage door technicians who have been trained extensively in safety precautions and can do the job right the first time.

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Inspecting the Rollers

Before you get rolling, make sure that your rollers only require maintenance and don’t need to be replaced. Inspect each one individually and make sure none of them have cracks or missing chunks, are misshapen, or worn down.

If any rollers need to be replaced, call a garage door technician as soon as possible. Poorly operating rollers can cause opener parts to wear out prematurely and the garage door to jump the tracks. They also tend to produce unpleasant squeaking and grinding noises.

If your garage door is making a racket but you’re not sure whether the rollers are to blame, check out our recent blog post on identifying and troubleshooting garage door noises.

Materials: What You Will Need

While maintaining your rollers is a simple matter of keeping them properly lubricated, you need the right stuff for the job.

Too often, homeowners make the mistake of using an oil lubricant like WD-40. In reality, WD-40 does more harm than good in this case. It’s a degreaser, and grease is just what your rollers need! Always use a lithium- or silicone-based grease to lubricate your rollers.

When applying the lubrication, you’ll want to have a cloth handy to wipe up any drips. You may also want to put down a drop cloth or tarp to protect the floor of your garage from grease stains.

Finally, depending on your height, you may need a stepladder to reach high rollers.

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How to Apply Lubrication to Rollers

Here’s how to lubricate different types of rollers:

  • Lubricate plastic rollers by applying the grease to the outside of the roller and where the shaft meets the roller.
  • Lubricate steel rollers by applying the grease to the ball bearings, which are found at the innermost part of the roller, where it meets the shaft.
  • Lubricate nylon rollers with exposed ball bearings the same way you would steel rollers.
  • Lubricate nylon rollers with no ball bearings the same way you would plastic rollers.
  • Do not lubricate nylon rollers with sealed ball bearings. This type of roller doesn’t require any maintenance.

Lubricate rollers with a light touch, immediately wiping away any excess. Be sure to use the straw that comes with the spray can.

Garage door rollers should be lubricated about twice a year, or sooner if they begin making squeaking or grinding noises while the door is in operation.

While you’re at it...

While you’ve got the grease out, it’s worth hitting other spots that require regular lubrication. Most importantly, you’ll want to get the hinges. Lubricate the points of the hinge where it opens and closes. You should also lubricate the locks, the arm bar and the bearing plates.

Your garage door springs need periodic lubrication as well, but it’s best to leave that to a professional garage door technician. The springs are under extremely high tension and pose a serious safety risk. Learn more about the dangers of garage door spring repair.

Finally, you shouldn’t lubricate the tracks, or they’ll start collecting all the dust and dirt that gets kicked up over time. This will impede the door’s operation. Instead, you should wipe down the tracks with a wet cloth and, if necessary, a grease cleaner.

Garage Door Maintenance and Repair in Western Canada

If you need to replace your worn-out rollers or if you want to upgrade to high-performance ones, reach out to us at Creative Door. We supply garage doors parts and provide superior maintenance and repair services. With eight locations across Western Canada, don’t hesitate to call or contact us for more information or to schedule a service call!

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