How Pro Garage Door Installers Maintain Or Replace Rollers

A man showing how to lubricate garage door rollers

No one, and we mean no one, likes a squeaky garage door. You don’t want to be a victim to those screeches every time you enter and leave your house. It’s a good thing, then, that there are several steps you can take to ensure that the issue is fixed in a flash.

Like any other hardware in your home, garage door rollers are subject to damage over time.

Image from a video > Through the course of its life a garage door opens & closes 20,000 times

Did you know? A garage door cycle means 1 opening + 1 closing.

Image from a video> 20,000 opening and 20,000 closing of a garage door is the equivalent of travalling up and down the Everest 5 times

Are you aware of all the work your garage door performs? Watch this video. We measured your garage door’s everyday challenges.

If you address the issue of your squeaky garage door rollers in a timely fashion, you can avoid the looming albatross of a more expensive repair job in the case that the situation worsens and requires a more intricate repair.

In the following article, we’ve spent time speaking with a professional garage door installer to go through the ins and outs of garage door rollers, covering everything from maintenance to repair to replacement.

First – What Kind of Garage Door Rollers Do You Have on Your Garage Door?

There are 3 types of garage door rollers from which to choose:

  • Black Rubber : Without ball bearings. Recommended for doors under 10 feet in width.
  • Steel : With ball bearings. Ask for rollers with at least 10 ball bearings.
  • Nylon : Quieter, for single or double doors, with 12 ball bearings.

2-inch Nylon rollers for residential overhead garage door

99% of residential doors come with 2-inch diameter rollers.

Before Starting to Work, Always Cut Off the Power!

A yellow sign of saying Safety First

Before executing any maintenance on your garage door rollers, it is important to:

  • Cut the power
  • Unplug the garage door opener

You might be putting yourself in direct danger of an impact injury by leaving the garage door opener plugged in while working directly under the door.

How to Lubricate Your Garage Door Rollers

Oil lubricants should never be used on garage door rollers. When it comes to oil lubricant, there is no difference between nylon, steel, or black rubber garage door rollers. None of the above should be lubricated with an oil lubricant, as it will dry out the rollers and worsen the squeaking problem.

Image of lubricant recommended for tracks, hinges, springs, and rollers

A silicone-based lubricant has proven to be the most successful option to treat most squeaking nylon and black rubber rollers.

However, there is a different process for the following:

  • Steel Rollers : Lubricate the ball bearings directly, in the innermost component of the roller
  • Nylon Rollers with Exposed Bearings : Apply the lubricant to the area outside of the roller and the area where the shaft and the roller intersect
  • If you have nylon rollers with sealed ball bearings, no lubricant is necessary – they maintain themselves!

Keep in mind the following when applying lubricant:

  • Use the straw that comes with the lubricant
  • Use the lubricant in thin coats
  • Clean off excess lubricant immediately with a new rag
  • Rollers are meant to roll, not to slide, in their track
  • This routine maintenance should be performed once every six months

If you’ve already lubricated your garage door rollers, you might consider also lubricating the following parts:

  • Hinges, in the area where the garage door opens and shuts
  • Locks
  • Arm Bars
  • Bearing Plates
  • Springs : this process must be left to a professional. Springs carry a dangerous amount of tension and the maintenance process can be extremely risky without professional help. Springs should be lubricated, but only by a professional.

Should You Go with Nylon or Steel?

When it comes to replacement garage door rollers, you have a few options available to you: nylon and steel.

Here are a few ways to distinguish between the two models:

While nylon garage door rollers are more expensive than steel rollers, they are:

  • Quieter
  • Tougher
  • Durable, lasting up to 10 years

According to Tim, from GarageTransformed , steel rollers are:

  • Noisy
  • Liable to corrosion and rust
  • Prone to frequent maintenance
  • Less durable than nylon rollers, lasting anywhere from 3 to 5 years

How to Replace Garage Door Rollers in 5 Steps


Safety Disclaimer: This garage door roller replacement should NOT be performed without the help of a professional.

DO NOT loosen the bolts attaching the bottom fixture to the garage door, and DO NOT remove the cable from that bottom fixture.

If the above instructions are not adhered to, the tension-bearing spring could exhaust and buckle, causing the garage door to collapse or jam. This could result in significant damage to your property, injury, or death.

A garage door roller replacement carries a unique amount of risk due to the following concerns:

  • The weight of the garage door
  • The tension in the springs

The necessity of a full garage door roller replacement is usually a sign of a larger issue, and that larger issue should be addressed by your local professional garage door installer

Step 1 – Unplug the garage door opener

The garage door opener should be unplugged, not just turned off, in the event that the power button should be activated by accident.

Step 2 – Unwind the springs with a winding bar

For the purpose of safety, hinges and rollers should be replaced while the door is in its “down” position , but the springs should be unwound before that.

In order to keep the cable in its place, affix a vise-grip to the shaft of the springs.

Step 3 – Remove the garage door rollers

  • Loosen the screws from the hinge attached to the roller
  • Detach the hinge by tapping it with a hammer
  • Each hinge and roller must be replaced one at a time. DO NOT take off more than one hinge and roller at a time without replacing it with a new set beforehand.
  • Discard the old rollers

Step 4 – Replace the old rollers with the new rollers

  • Slide the roller into its designated hole
  • Tip the roller into its track
  • Situate the hinge over the bolt holes (we would encourage the use of bigger screws or a Loctite)
  • From the outside, tap the bolts back into the hinge holes
  • Tighten the nut

These steps should be repeated for each roller and hinge. Once all the rollers have been replaced, continue onto Step 5.

Step 5 – Re-wind the springs back to their original state of tension

  • Tension can be adjusted to exact specifications
  • Remove the vise-grip from the shaft

Do You Want Professionals Handling Your Garage Door Roller Replacement and Your Garage Door Maintenance?

We believe that it is a necessary practice to consult and hire a professional if you want your garage door rollers replaced.

For help with your replacement needs: Contact us at 781-769-8988.

Norwood Door Systems offer tune-up service, and we address any and all questions about garage door installation and maintenance, providing a wide variety of services and repairs as well.

Already know what you need? Shoot us a line for an email quote.

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