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How to Lubricate Your Garage Door in 7 Steps (with Pictures)

person lubricating garage door

Nobody likes the sound of a rickety racket as the garage door is opened or closed! If you’re wondering how you can fix that annoying garage door sound, we’ve got you covered.

Taking care of that squeaky door might also save you a buck or two in the long run. The added friction is harder on the system and can cause pieces to wear down and break prematurely. Let’s have a look at how to lube up your garage door, get rid of that annoying sound, and keep everything working smoothly.

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How to Lubricate Your Garage Door (7 Steps)

1. Pre-job Preparation

It’s important to take a couple of safety precautions and ensure that you have all of the right equipment before you get started.

This is simply going to make life easier for you. Most of the hardware, rollers, and components that you need to lubricate are going located on the door itself, so it only makes sense to bring it down to where you can reach it.

Disconnect the Power

It might seem like overkill to pull out the “lock-out tag-out” procedures on this little home maintenance project, but this step is a must. It’s crucial to eliminate the hazard of injury in the rail, roller, and chain systems. The only digits we want to snip today are the ones on your home maintenance bill!

red garage door
Image Credit: Emil Diallo, Unsplash

2. You’ll Need:

  • Safety glasses – You’re going to be working with pressurized lubricants which can have a bit of back spray. Again, it might seem like overkill, but you’ll wish you had worn them if you have to go to the hospital with lubricant in your eye.
  • A Step stool or small ladder – Unless you’re incredibly tall. Please avoid standing on chairs!
  • A dry rag – For excess lubricant, of course.

3. Nice to Haves:

  • Gloves – Rubber work gloves will do, but disposable medical or latex gloves are better for this job.
  • Drop Cloth/Masking tape – It’s not totally necessary, but a little protection isn’t a bad idea if you’re particularly worried about the finish of your door or driveway.
  • Penlight – For hard-to-find crevasses and more. The light on your smartphone will do nicely as well.

4. Let’s Talk About Lube 

“Can I Use WD40 to Lubricate My Garage Door?”

Well, there’s no getting around this. There comes a time in every man or woman’s life when we have to have the talk.

Please for the love of all that is good, do not use WD40 to lubricate ANYTHING!

Lubricating a door is in essence, greasing it. The problem with WD40 is that it happens to be a degreaser. They have a great marketing team up there because people constantly use WD40 as a lubricant and that is simply not what it is. So, what should you use?

Lithium Spray

A lithium grease lubricant is the best choice for this job. That’s because it not only lubricates the components but coats them in a nice thick layer of grease that protects them from corrosion.

Silicone Spray

Lithium spray can be pricy, so if for whatever reason you need to get the job done but can’t afford it, silicone will do. It doesn’t form quite as nice of a coat, so you will end up having to do the job again sooner, but if you need to save a buck then it’s your best choice.

lubricant oil can
Image Credit: Skitterphoto, Pixabay

5. Getting Started

Now it’s almost time to get lubricating, but first, make sure everything is working. If rollers, hinges, or any components are very corroded, you may want to consider replacing them.

Inspect the system and all of its moving components. This will save you some wasted effort in case you find a problem, and also help you familiarize yourself with all of the moving parts.


6. Lube It Up!

Ok, finally, the fun part! It’s really not that fun – but it sure is satisfying when that door goes up quietly and smoothly! Make sure you coat all of the brackets. This includes:

  • Hinges – Most garage doors have a panel and hinge design to allow them to bend up the curved track as they are raised. Give these a good shot.
  • Pivot Points – Some garage doors have slightly different pivot points. Anywhere that it is designed to hinge will need some lubrication.
  • Stems – The bolt-like part of the roller in the track, that is attached to the door panel itself.
  • Locks – Whether your door uses a sliding latch or a turnkey lock, hitting it with some lubricant will help it to function smoothly.
  • Armbar – Anywhere that hardware comes into contact with this large bar that is at the top of the door will need some lubricant.

Make sure you give each bracket a nice coating.

lubricating garage door
Image Credit: Charles Knowles, Shutterstock

7. Rollers

The most common types of rollers are metal and plastic. It’s a good idea to hit each roller on the track. For metal rollers, you’ll need to check for ball bearings. They are easy to find if you follow the stem to the roller, and it is all in one piece, then there are no ball bearings. If you notice a little break—a small crevasse where the stem meets the roller, allowing them to spin independently, then it has ball bearings. You will want to get a good coat of lube on those as well.

This is where having a penlight or the light on your iPhone is incredibly handy to help find that little crease where the ball bearings are hiding.

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Conclusion

With a little preparation and a couple of pieces of equipment, it’s easy to ensure that your garage door lives a long healthy, and quiet life. Where any kind of maintenance is concerned, it’s always better to be proactive, rather than reactive. If you’re noticing that annoying squeak – you should probably consider lubricating your garage door. Always remember to be careful and stay safe, and NEVER use WD40 for lubricant!


Featured Image Credit: Charles Knowles, Shutterstock

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