How To Properly Lubricate Your Garage Door

how to properly lubricate your garage door

Is your garage door louder and squeakier than normal? Odds are it is calling out for some much-needed lubrication. Lubricating moving garage door parts, hinges, and springs are part of routine garage door maintenance and should be done at least once per year. In addition to ensuring your garage door opens and closes more quietly, a well-maintained door is safer – and lasts longer – than its lesser-maintained counterpart.

Lubricate Your Garage Door

While licensed garage door contractors are happy to do this work for you, DIYers can easily lubricate their own garage doors by following these simple steps.

Close the door and unplug the operator

The first step is to close your garage door and then unplug the garage door motor box. Sometimes, the plug is easily accessible and you can unplug it without much fuss. If the plug is at an awkward angle, or hard to reach, skip that step and cut power to the door via the circuit breaker. Test the garage door opener again to make sure power has been cut, so there is no risk of electrocution or of the door opening while you’re working on it.

Clean the garage door tracks

Sometimes, a noisy garage door has more to do with dirty, debris-laden tracks than anything else. Before you do anything else, place your doors in the fully closed position. If the tracks (the rails on each side that serve as the guide the door slides up/down upon) are excessively dirty, use a broom to sweep away larger cobwebs, leaves, twigs, and debris. A vacuum is also a handy way to suck up excess debris and to access harder-to-reach spaces.

Once the bulk of the larger debris is cleaned off, use a soft, damp cloth and run it up, down, and around the tracks – removing any remaining dirt, dust, or grime. Extra dirty or grimy tracks that haven’t been cleaned in a while benefit from an automotive brake cleaner, which will dissolve away stubborn grime.

Use a lithium-based lubricant specific to garage doors

Do NOT use WD-40 or other, standard de-greasers – and never use oil – to lubricate your garage door. While these products may seem to work at first, their makeup attracts more dirt and grime, which gums up the system. Instead, speak to your local hardware store about lithium-based lubricants, some of which are specific to garage door lubrication. The best options come in an aerosol or spray can.

Where to lubricate your garage door

Now, it’s time to start lubricating. Read the spray can’s instructions to ensure you’re using it safely and as directed. It’s a good idea to wear safety goggles and gloves to minimize contact with your eyes and skin. Wear a mask if you’re sensitive to chemicals or strong smells.

You’ll want to spray the following locations:

  • Hinges. Manually roll the door up, little by little, and spray each of the hinges that hold the panels together at the bends. Just one or two sprays should be enough to thoroughly coat the entirety of the hinges.
  • Rollers. The rollers are those circular disks that roll/slide up and down the track. Inside each roller are small ball bearings. Use the straw or thin attachment to direct the lubricant into the ball bearings and wipe away excess lubricant. Skip this step if your rollers are nylon, rather than metal.
  • Springs and bearing plates. Look toward the top of your garage door and you’ll see a big spring, and each side of the spring is secured at the edge of the door by bearing plates. The circular bearing plates are also moving parts. Use a stepladder or a safe, solid object you can stand on to comfortably reach them. Spray the lubricant towards the center of each bearing plate and on each side of the spring. Manually open/close the door two or three times, enabling the lubricant to distribute more evenly around the moving parts. NOTE: if the springs seem bent, broken or damaged, call a licensed garage door repair company and have them replace the part.
  • Lock and armbar. Give a small burst of lubricant inside the lock to prevent rusting, and then spray lubricant along the armbar that runs along the top of your garage door.
  • Top of the rail. The rail is the arm of the garage door that runs from the top of the door, back to the opener motor, and the chain runs along the top. Lubricating the top of the bar, along the chain, keeps the door operating smoothly and efficiently. We recommend consulting your garage door manual (most are available online by searching the manufacturer/model) and adhering to their recommendations for lubricating the garage door motor.

Congratulations! You’ve officially lubricated your garage door. Now that you’re done, it’s time to reconnect the power and give your garage a test open and close to see if you notice a difference. If it’s still noisy, isolate where the sound is coming from and see if it could use a bit more lubricant. If it’s still making a screeching or grinding sound, contact your local garage door installer and schedule an appointment for an inspection.

Hire A Professional

Have a question about the right way to lubricate your garage door? Need to schedule a routine garage door maintenance appointment? Give us a call here at R&S Erection in Vallejo at (707) 644-5537.

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