Garage Door Rollers – Everything You Need to Know

Published on By Champion Garage Door Repair

Garage door rollers are a crucial and often overlooked element of your garage door system. They work in tandem to ensure smooth transit of your garage door, a single faulty roller could significantly throw all the others out of balance and cause a malfunction, which will eventually result in garage door off track scenario. This makes garage door rollers incredibly important to the overall stability of your garage door system.

Most pre-2008 garage doors (and many modern garage doors) come with pre-installed stock factory rollers that are of inferior quality. These stock rollers are usually metal or plastic, and are likely to only last for a couple of years before you experience problems.

11-Ball Bearing Garage Door Roller

11-Ball Bearing Garage Door Roller

Good garage door rollers tend to be made primarily from nylon, and come in a range of sealed, unsealed, and semi-sealed designs. They come with ball bearings for a more secure and robust design. These affordable high-quality rollers are the best solution for your garage door, and you should always ask to have nylon rollers fitted when installing a brand-new garage door. Though there may be an extra charge, it will be worth it in the long run!

Below we will discuss the 3 most common types of high-quality garage door rollers available.

11 Ball Bearing Garage Door Roller

 This is your standard good-quality roller, and is far superior to your metal/plastic stock rollers. The 11 Ball Bearing Roller is a high quality (yet unsealed) design that can support up to 75 pounds of weight per roller. This means, for example, that 10 of these rollers can support a 750-pound garage door. Hopefully your door doesn’t weigh that much! An 11 Ball Bearing Roller should last for around 15,000 garage door cycles, which consist of completely opening and closing the door as normal. This means that the 11 Ball Bearing Roller should last for around 10-20 years with daily use. Most of these 11 Ball Bearing Rollers are made in China, meaning that their price is low, but their quality may vary. Generally though, they’re very good and reliable rollers. They’re certainly far superior to stock rollers, and are likely to have lifespans that are tenfold.

13 Ball Bearing Garage Door Roller

The 13 Ball Bearing Roller is similar to the 11 Ball version, though its design is slightly superior and more robust. These 13 Ball Bearing Rollers have a sealed design, protecting them from dirt and dust in the air. This means that they have extra longevity and are less affected general by wear and tear. 13 Ball Bearing Rollers can hold 85 pounds of weight per roller. These rollers can work seamlessly for up to 25,000 garage door cycles, equating to roughly 25-35 years of daily garage door use. These 13 Ball Bearing Rollers are also made in China, meaning that their price may be low, but their reliability may be variable. Despite this, 13 Ball Bearing Rollers are generally very tough and reliable rollers, especially due to their nylon-sealed ball bearings.

Z Bearing Garage Door Roller

13 Ball Bearing Garage Door Roller

13-Ball Bearing Garage Door Roller

The mysteriously-named “Z Bearing” roller is essentially the mother of all rollers. Many garage door companies refer to the Z Bearing Roller as a “lifetime roller” due to its supreme quality and design. The ball bearings in a Z Bearing Roller are individually encased, meaning that the roller is incredibly impervious to airborne dust, grime, and dirt, as well as general wear and tear. The Z Bearing Roller can last for 50,000 garage door cycles, which equates to around 70 YEARS of daily use! There’s a reason they call this one the lifetime roller! The Z Bearing Roller can also support 105 pounds of weight per roller, making it the strongest out of the bunch, and it comes in both 4-inch and 7-inch size options. What’s more? The Z Bearing Roller is made in the USA, which means you can expect a slightly higher price accompanied by extremely higher quality! Many companies offer long guarantees and warranties on Z Bearing Rollers, as they’re known for their longevity and durability.

Now that you’ve learned a little more about the different types of high-quality rollers available, it’s time to consider whether you should indeed be replacing your garage door rollers in the first place. Have you been looking pensively at your garage door rollers, unsure whether they are in need of replacement? Read on to find out whether you should replace your rollers or if you should call out the local garage door company to replace them for you!

Do I need to replace my garage door rollers?

Most garage doors fitted before 2008 (and many that are fitted today) come pre-installed with stock garage door rollers. These metal or plastic rollers are often of poor quality, and come with no ball bearings or sealed designs. These poor-quality rollers are incredibly vulnerable to dirt and damage, and are likely to become squeaky, stiff, or completely broken within 2 years of regular use.

However, whatever kind of rollers you have, it is important to remember to lubricate them regularly with an appropriate lubricant. You should lubricate your garage door rollers once every 3-4 months in order to prolong their life, and you always aim for at least twice a year as a minimum. Do your garage door’s rollers still squeak and buckle after lubrication? It’s probably time to get them replaced with better ones.

If you’re thinking about replacing your rollers, it’s important to perform a thorough inspection of your current rollers in order to ascertain their quality. With your garage door not moving (and secure), gently press your rollers and see if there is any “give” to them. If they wiggle or move on their tracks, it’s probably best to replace them. Additionally, check whether the rollers spin freely on their tracks when you spin them. If any of the rollers “lock up” mid-spin or grind unpleasantly as they spin, it’s probably time to replace them.

Visual signs can also be a good indication. Do your rollers display signs of cracking in their construction? Do they have chunks missing? Do they generally look run-down and old? It’s probably best to get them replaced. Similarly, are your rollers dirty or grimy beyond repair? Though cleaning dirty rollers can help, there’s only so much cleaning you can do, and old or poor-quality rollers will simply necessitate replacements when they get too dirty or grimy to function as intended anymore.

Why should I replace my garage door rollers?

So, your garage door rollers are a bit squeaky, but you’ve decided that you can put up with the annoying noise. That’s fair enough, but old or faulty rollers can present much more than just an annoying noise, and should be treated with the utmost care and attention.

Simply put, the rollers are a crucial piece of the garage door ensemble. Not only do they hold the weight of the door; they ensure the smooth travel and transit of the door as it operates. The rollers also literally hold your garage door onto its tracks. Old or faulty rollers could bring your garage door to come off its tracks, crashing down. In addition, faulty garage door rollers will cause the garage door opener to wear out over time.

Many older garage doors (pre-2008 especially) come with metal/plastic stock rollers that are doomed to fail within a couple of years. These low-quality rollers are going to cause a you a cornucopia or headaches down the road, and will quickly require regular garage door repair and maintenance. Replacing your garage door rollers with high-quality ball-bearing nylon rollers will save you plenty of money in the long run. These high-quality nylon rollers retail price varies depending on size and requirements and will be an incredibly wise investment.

Still have questions about your garage door rollers? Get in touch with Champion Garage Door Repair today! Looking to get the job done? Learn about finding the right professional for the job and why supporting local businesses is so important.

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