Steps a Professional Door Installer Takes to Maintain or Replace Your Garage Door Rollers

A man showing how to lubricate garage door rollers

It’s easy to take the things that we rely on day-to-day for granted as if they will always

work as we expect them to. You might pull into your driveway and press your garage door opener, fully expecting the doors to open as usual, but you stop abruptly when you realize the garage door isn’t opening.

While sometimes we may experience these operational issues randomly with no forewarning, but oftentimes there are symptoms and cues that tell us it’s time to perform care and maintenance on the garage door to keep it operating normally. Paying attention to the symptoms and performing regular care and maintenance on your garage door parts can make a big difference.

Garage door rollers could be compared to your knees – they bear the weight each time the door is opened and closed, similarly to how our knees bear the weight when we walk or run. The rollers, like our knees, are essential parts for movement and so taking good care of them is vital.

Image from a video > Through the course of its life a garage door opens & closes 20,000 times

Did you know? A garage door cycle means one opening and one closing.

Image from a video> 20,000 opening and 20,000 closing of a garage door is the equivalent of travalling up and down the Everest 5 times

Do you know how hard your garage door works for you? Watch this video. We did the math and determined that garage doors deserve a lot more respect than they’re given!

Performing care and maintenance on your garage door can help it last longer, keep it safer for you and your family, and make it work smoothly and quietly. Set a reminder on your phone to check all of the moving and mechanical parts on your garage door every six months.

We’ve consulted a professional garage door technician to explain the basic care and maintenance steps you can take, signs and symptoms that the rollers need to be replaced, as well as how to replace the rollers.

First, what kind of rollers do you have on your garage door?

There are three common types of garage door rollers. You can determine which you have by inspecting the rollers to see what they are manufactured with. Here are the three roller types:

  • Black Rubber: They do not have ball bearings. Recommended for garage doors that are a maximum of 10-feet wide.
  • Steel: These have ball bearings. Ask for rollers with at least 10 ball bearings.
  • Nylon: These tend to operate quieter. They’re used on both single and double doors. They contain 12 ball bearings.

2-inch Nylon rollers for residential overhead garage door

Fact: 99% of residential garage doors come with 2-inch diameter rollers.

If you hear squeaky noises when your garage door moves up or down to open or close, this could be a sign that you need to lubricate the garage door rollers or that they may need to be replaced completely. We’ll walk you through a few steps to determine what needs to be done and how to do it.

Prior to Starting to Work, Always Cut Off the Power!

A yellow sign saying Safety First

It’s extremely important for safety reasons that you complete these steps before doing any care and maintenance on a garage door:

  • Cut the power.
  • Unplug the garage door opener.

BE SMART. Working on a garage door that’s still connected to electricity is dangerous. Take the time to be safe- your family will thank you!

How to Lubricate Your Garage Door Rollers

There’s one basic rule when it comes to lubricating rollers, no matter what they’re made of. NEVER USE OIL-BASED LUBRICANTS!

Image of lubricant recommended for tracks, hinges, springs, and rollers

Oil-based lubricants will do the opposite of what you expect. While you want to lubricate the rollers, oil-based lubricants are degreasers. This is like pouring sand on plants that are dying of thirst- it just doesn’t make sense! Oil-based lubricants can also attract dirt and debris causing the rollers not to function correctly.

We recommend always using a silicone-based lubricant to care for and maintain your rollers. Here is information about how and where to lubricate each roller type:

  • Steel Rollers: Lubricate the ball bearings directly, in the rollers’innermost parts.
  • Nylon Rollers with Exposed Bearings: Apply the lubricant to the outside of the roller and where the shaft meets the rollers.
  • Nylon Rollers with Sealed Ball Bearings: These don’t need to be lubricated and they will last your garage door’s lifetime!

Tips for Lubricating Garage Door Rollers:

  • Use the straw that comes with the can.
  • Apply in moderation and in thin coats.
  • Wipe off any excess lubricant IMMEDIATELY with a clean cloth.
  • Rollers must roll, not slide, in the track.
  • Most manufacturers recommend performing maintenance every six months

While you’re taking the time to perform care and maintenance on your garage door rollers, it’s a good time to inspect and lubricate other parts and hardware too. You could lubricate these parts:

  • Hinge: Where it opens and closes.
  • Locks
  • Arm Bars
  • Bearing Plates
  • Springs need to be lubricated regularly too, but we don’t recommend a homeowner perform this task. Garage door springs are under extremely high tension and are a serious safety risk. It’s best to leave this part of your garage door maintenance to professionals.

Should You Choose Nylon or Steel Rollers?

You may have determined that your garage door rollers are beyond repair. In this case, you will need to replace them. But which rollers do you choose?

We’ve outlined the pros and cons of both nylon and steel rollers for you here:

Nylon garage door rollers are a bit more expensive than steel rollers.

But they are:

  • Quieter
  • Tougher
  • They will last over 10 years

According to Tim, from GarageTransformed, steel rollers are:

  • Make more noise
  • Often corrode and rust
  • Require more maintenance
  • Last only three to five years

How to Replace Garage Door Rollers in 5 Steps

We’ve provided instructions for how to replace the garage door rollers, although we advise seeking a professional to perform this work for you.

Warning sign

Safety Disclaimer: Replacing garage door rollers can be very dangerous. You should NOT do this by yourself.

NEVER loosen the bolts that secure the bottom fixture to the garage door or remove the cable from the bottom fixture.

WARNING: If you do not follow these warnings, it could cause THE SPRING TO SNAP, the door to fall, or to cause the door to jam. This could result in property damage and/or personal injury or death.

The dangers involved with replacing garage door rollers or hinges are:

  • Garage door weight
  • Spring tension

If your garage door rollers need to be replaced, it’s likely that other parts of the garage door need to be serviced too. This is why we strongly advised you to contact your local garage door & opener technician for any maintenance or part replacement.

Steps to Replace Garage Door Rollers

  1. Unplug your garage door opener to prevent anyone from accidentally activating it while you are working.
  2. Unwind the springs with a winding bar.
    1. For safety reasons, hinges and rollers are best replaced with the door in the "down" position, but springs need to be unwound before.
    2. Add a vise grip to the spring shaft to lock the cable into place.
  3. Remove the garage door rollers following the steps below:
    1. Loosen the screws from the hinge holding the roller.
    2. Tap the hinge out with a hammer to release the hinge. IMPORTANT – When you remove a hinge and a roller, you need to replace them before removing another. The hinges and rollers are what hold the door into place.
    3. Remove old rollers.
  4. Replace the old rollers with your new garage door rollers following the steps below:
    1. Slide the roller into the correct hole.
    2. Tip the roller back into the track.
    3. Position the hinge over the bolt holes.
      1. NOTE: It is advised to use bigger screws or Loctite.
    4. Tap the bolts back from the outside through the hinge holes and tighten the nut.
    5. Repeat these steps for each roller. Once all the rollers have been replaced, you’re ready for the next step.
  5. Wind the springs back to their original tension
    1. Adjust if necessary.
    2. Remove the vise grip from the shaft.

Do You Want Professionals Handling Your Garage Door Rollers Replacement and Your Garage Door Maintenance?

This is a great decision.

After reading this blog post, you may have decided that the care and maintenance required is too dangerous for you and you don’t feel comfortable performing these tasks by yourself. Or maybe you’d rather just leave it to the professionals.

Garage doors and openers are our passion and our expertise. Our skilled repairmen are here to help. Not only can we offer a tune-up service, but we can also answer all of your questions about garage doors and openers. You can also learn more about our services and repairs.

Contact us at 508-875-3508 (Framingham) or 617-345-9500 (Boston)

Already know what you need? We’re happy to offer an email quote, too!

Do you think it might be time to replace your garage door? Find your dream garage door with the click of a button!

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