If your garage door is excessively noisy or gets stuck on its way up or down, you definitely want to get it checked out. If you’ve already tried these tips:
- Troubleshooting a Garage Door That Won’t Close
- Garage Door Will Not Move – Motor Troubleshooting
- Troubleshooting 4 Common Garage Door Issues
and none of them work, you may need to try lubricating your garage door’s moving parts. Lubricating your garage door not only reduces excess noise and binding, it extends the lifespan of your garage door overall, and is an essential piece of maintenance.
What lubricant should I use for my garage door?
The best lubricant you can use for your garage door is a lithium-based spray grease. If you cannot find a lithium-based spray grease, the next best option is silicone spray, as it won’t drip too much. For the most part, you should avoid using oil based products or WD40, because these act as degreasers, and may not help your situation in the long-run. Though WD40 may advise you on their can to use it for garage doors, this is simply because they want to suggest that their product has versatility. However, there are a couple of steps in the process (which we describe below) where WD40 may actually be the superior tool to use, so it is advisable to have both sprays handy.
Most lubricator sprays are fairly similar from brand to brand, with the main difference being the “fanciness” of the nozzle. It may be worth splurging on a spray with a nozzle that can reach tough areas, however. It’s best to use the aforementioned types of spray lubricants because they will not attract dust. Other types of lubricant may attract dust and dirt particles over time, solidifying the grease and turning into a cement-like substance over time. Needless to say, this will cause you problems down the road.
Where should I lubricate my garage door?
You essentially want to lubricate all the moving parts of the garage door, except for the side tracks and shuttle rail. We will go into more detail about this below. While you’re following the steps below to lubricate your garage door, it’s also a good idea to keep a couple of tools handy in order to tighten up and secure any loose nuts or bolts you may find as you go. You’re going to be inspecting all the areas of your garage door here, so it’s possible you may find some loose connections that you wouldn’t have spotted otherwise.
Though it is probably common sense, we should mention at this point that it is very advisable to remove your vehicles from your garage before undertaking this maintenance. This gives you more space to freely position yourself around various components of your door’s mechanisms and tracks. This also decreases the chances of you dripping excess grease, dirt or lubricant onto your vehicles, which could easily ruin their appearance. Be sure to clean up any spilled grease or lubricant on your garage floor after you are finished, as it poses an obvious slipping hazard and could be extremely dangerous.
Before you lubricate your garage door, it is recommended that you disengage the door from the garage door opener and move the door manually as you clean in order to expose all the possible pivots, hinges and connections fully. We do not recommend that you attempt this process while your garage door is engaged, as a malfunction or negligence could result in serious injury. Disengaged the motor? Then read on!
Hinges and Pivot Points
On your garage door itself, there are hinges where the door pivots and folds as you close or open it. You should spray lubricant on the pivot points that move when the garage door folds. Do this for the pivot points on all of your door’s hinges. Spray the lubricant at the sides of the metal bar on the hinges where the “rolling” motion occurs. You may need to manually move your garage door along its tracks in order to expose all of these pivot points fully.
Rollers and Rollers’ Bearings
At the side of your door, you may see rollers there that sit inside the track. Sometimes these rollers will be sealed and their bearings will not be visible, if this is the case, you don’t need to lubricate them. However, if your rollers are unsealed and have their bearings exposed in the middle, be sure to spray these bearings. Some rollers and bearings may be attached to hinges similar to the ones we just mentioned. If this is the case, lubricate these hinges at the sides too, similarly to what you did with the other ones.
Garage Door Torsion Springs
The garage door torsion springs (if your door’s design uses them) can be found along the top of the garage door. These springs wind up and wind down as the door opens and closes, and thus need to be properly lubricated. Spray your lubricant across the top of all the torsion springs in a long, straight line. This allows it to seep into the rest of the springs over time. It may be worth doing 2 coats (or 2 “lines”) in order to fully lubricate the springs. You may also want to operate your garage door a couple of times (as you normally would) so that the newly-lubricated torsion springs can spread the lubricant around themselves even more. Depending on the type of your garage door, you may have springs that are not above your door (but on the sides), feel free to lubricate these in the exact same way.
Garage Door Opener’s Shuttle Rail
You will find a rail above you where the garage door’s shuttle rests. Many people spray the bottom of this rail, but this is ill-advised. You should carefully spray lubricant across the top of the shuttle’s rail, allowing it to naturally seep down into the rest of the rail itself. Not only is this more efficient, it creates less of a greasy mess on your garage floor. There may also be a pulley at the end of your garage door opener’s shuttle rail. If there is, be sure to spray the pulley too, paying close attention to any exposed bearings in the pulley.
Lift Cable Drums and End Bearings
The lift cable drums or pulleys are at the top corners of the garage door (on the shaft), and should be attached to the same shaft that the torsion springs attached to. The corner pulleys look a bit like large fishing reels, with solid metal moving parts at the sides (the end bearing plates). Lubricate the end bearings at the sides of the corner pulleys; do not lubricate the pulley cables themselves.
Garage Door’s Tracks
The tracks can be a little complicated! You may want to lubricate the bottom of the inside of your garage door’s tracks (i.e. where gravity pulls the door down onto them), and it may be especially useful to lubricate the curved part of the track that is closest to the opening of your garage. However, the advice on tracks tends to vary. Many people think that it is best to use WD40 for this job, as your intent should be to clean and degrease the tracks rather than lubricate them as such. If you can clean and degrease the tracks rather than lubricate them, this is generally a better option. Cleaning and degreasing your door’s tracks will be much more effective than simply lubricating them, which may only delay inevitable future issues.
Chain Driven Garage Door Opener
A modern chain drive garage door opener should have a special factory-fitted coating on it, meaning that it is highly resistant to grease and dirt problems. If this is the case, you needn’t do anything to your chain, as it is designed to take care of itself. If your chain doesn’t have one of these coatings, however, or if it is desperately in need of a little help, then it may be useful to lubricate your chain. Be careful if you do this, as it can be messy and may result in grease dripping onto your car if it is below. The most advisable thing to do in this situation is to spray WD40 onto a rag and carefully wipe down your chain with the WD40-sodden rag. This will ease any grease and clean the chain without damaging it.
Miscellaneous Garage Door Parts
There may be miscellaneous moving parts that your garage door possesses depending on its design. If there are any moving parts on your door that we haven’t mentioned here, it’s always best to check with the manufacturer before lubricating them, as you may unknowingly be damaging a section of your door that is not designed to be lubricated, or may cease working entirely if it is lubricated. If in doubt, always ask someone who can tell you the answer; it’s better to be safe than sorry. You don’t want to be fixing your garage door and end up having to pay for a garage door repair and garage door parts replacements for no good reason!
If you’ve tried all of these tips and you are still continuing to experience noise problems with your door, it may be time to give the professionals a call. In some cases, the garage door moving parts are already worn out and lubricating them won’t do any good. A noisy garage door can be a sign for an imbalanced garage door, this situation can cause a garage door off track scenario. A noisy system can also indicate a worn-out garage door springs that may need to be replaced.
So, there we have it! We hope you enjoyed this advice and got some use out of it! Properly lubricating your garage door not only decreases noise, it can prevent future garage door repair and extends the lifespan of your door too. It is therefore advisable to periodically lubricate your garage door, even if there is no excess noise.