5 Garage Door Lubrication Tips to Keep Things Running Smoothly

Garage door lubrication helps the system run smoothly and reduces wear and tear. In this article, we’ll provide maintenance tips for lubricating your garage door. This should be done at least once or twice a year (a professional can take care of it during routine annual or semi-annual maintenance). The system can even be lubricated more frequently if you think it’s necessary, such as when the door becomes noisy or starts to slow up.

Proper maintenance can add years to your garage door’s life and save on repair costs. The following garage door lubrication tips should help you realize its benefits:

1. Check Your Garage Door System First

Before adding lubricant to your garage door system, check for any issues. This provides the opportunity to find loose nuts or bolts to tighten. Worn parts such as rollers and hinges can cause your garage door to perform erratically. If you hear slapping sounds, the garage door opener chain may be loose. Call a technician if any problem requires repairing or replacing any components.

2. Choose the Right Type of Lubricant

Not all lubricants are ideal for garage doors. People often ask about using WD-40, but it’s more of a cleaning agent than a lubricant. It can help remove rust, oils, and buildup from garage door tracks but also ruins the grease that’s already there. It also makes the system more susceptible to dirt buildup. And, since WD-40 breaks down chemical bonds in metal to remove rust, it can damage garage door parts.

That being said, the best compounds for garage door lubrication include:

  • White Lithium Grease: Made of soap and oil, white lithium grease works well with metal and is non-corrosive. It’s also easy to spread evenly by hand. This can be messy, but there’s another option if this isn’t for you.
  • Silicone Sprays: A silicone spray product typically comes in a can with a thin straw attachment. The attachment helps get the lubricant into small spaces. In addition to being long-lasting, the compound tolerates a wide temperature range.

3. Clean the Garage Door Tracks

Make sure the tracks are clean so the rollers move smoothly. You can use a vacuum cleaner with an attachment to remove dust or large debris. If any dirt remains, wipe it away with a damp rag. Stubborn debris can be loosened and removed with an automotive brake cleaner. If you think it’s necessary, apply a small amount of lithium-based grease or silicone lubricant with a putty knife (but use it only sparingly).

4. Know What Parts to Lubricate

Certain garage door components benefit most from lubrication, especially those that move or contact other parts. Lubricating the following will help your garage door run more smoothly.

  • Hinges and Rollers: To access the hinges, open the garage door manually (by disconnecting it from the opener via the release cord). As you lift the door, spray or wipe the hinges between each section. Ideally, you should have someone help lift the door while you apply the grease. Use the straw attachment to lubricate the ball bearings in the rollers.
  • Springs: Most garage doors have springs installed along the top. Use a step ladder to reach them and apply lithium grease (WD-40 makes such a product designed for use with garage doors). You can spray the springs directly or wipe them down using a rag to spread the grease evenly. If a spring is bent or has a gap, call a professional to replace it.
  • Bearing Plates: The circular bearing plates are at the ends of the pole to which the torsion springs are attached. Therefore, they are easy to reach while lubricating the springs. The bearing plates can be sprayed or wiped down. 
  • Top Rail: Find the top rail, which runs parallel to the ceiling inside the garage, and use a stepladder to reach it. The garage door opener chain moves along this rail. The best way to lubricate the top rail is to spray grease directly on it.
  • Arm Bar: Next, locate the armbar, which connects the top rail and garage door. To improve system operation, it can be sprayed or wiped with grease.
  • Door Lock: Apply lubricant directly to the garage door lock. This prevents it from rusting. You’ll also find it easier to lock and unlock the door as you leave and return home.
  • Chain/Belt Drive: Garage door openers with chain or belt drives must be lubricated regularly. Otherwise, they can rust and malfunction. Apply white lithium grease directly to the chain or belt and then turn on the opener. As it runs, the grease will be evenly distributed.

5. Identify Any Other Sources of Noise

Garage door lubrication doesn’t always stop noise or other issues. If it still squeaks or makes other loud noises, the door may need to be repaired or replaced. A rubbing sound can mean you have a bent garage door track. Rattling sounds are typically caused by loose parts, while a squeaking sound can mean the hinges or rollers have worn out. The door may also shake as it opens or closes. Dirty bearings will cause rollers to wear out faster; they can be cleaned and oiled, but worn-out bearings must be replaced.

Noise can sometimes be addressed by tightening or adjusting garage door parts. It can also originate from the garage door opener. Belt drive openers are quieter than chain drive models, so, it might be worth considering a replacement. If your garage door opener is relatively new and noisy, call a professional to look at it. Do not attempt a DIY repair, as it can result in injuries, more damage, or voiding your warranty.

Contact Mesa Garage Doors

Mesa Garage Doors is the premier residential garage door company in Southern California. We install a wide range of garage door styles and provide repair services. Our experienced team can resolve any issue. If you have questions about garage door lubrication or need to schedule repairs or maintenance, request your estimate or book service online. Call (800) 893-1107 to speak with us directly.