Heading home from a long day at work drops your stress level instantly -- at least until you have to face your noisy garage door again. The screeching, banging, and groaning is a chaotic symphony that sets you right back on edge, but that’s just what garage doors do. Anyway, it’s a small price to pay to protect your car from the elements. Ordering the wrong type of lubricant could mean damaging your system.
This is a surprisingly common attitude among homeowners with noisy garage doors. They learn to live with the noise because they don’t think there is another choice. Luckily for them, those moans and screams aren’t permanent. In fact, they’re a warning that the garage door is desperately in need of lubrication. Once that noisy garage door is properly lubed, the calm and quiet will return.
Lubrication is Key to Garage Door Health
Of course, the noise a garage door makes is secondary to the problems that are actually making all that tuneless racket. Several parts of your garage door require frequent lubricating -- after all, your garage door is one of the biggest moving parts on your home. The springs, rollers, tracks and hinges all need some attention once every few months to keep the garage door functioning smoothly.
Your lubrication process will vary depending on your door’s configuration, but generally, you want to tackle that big problem in this order:
Tracks. Start by cleaning the tracks with a rag to eliminate any build-up that might be interfering with your door’s gentle glide. Don’t lubricate the tracks, but ensuring they’re clean is essential to your door’s functioning.
Springs. Spray down the garage torsion springs that lift your garage door day in and day out. Again, you want to only lubricate them enough that they move better, without a lot of extra lubricant dripping out.
Hinges. Lubricate steel hinges at their pivot points, but don’t mess with the plastic ones. Plastic doesn’t need lubrication -- it can actually cause the hinges to break down over time.
Rollers. If your rollers have nylon wheels that make contact with the track, make sure to only lubricate the bearings without getting any lubricant on the nylon itself. All-metal rollers don’t require as much precision, but make sure to wipe away any excess lubricant to prevent it from dripping on the garage floor or your car.
Locks. If your key sticks or the lock is hard to open and close, give it a good shot of lubricant, too. Make sure you get lubricant into the tumbler as well as on other moving parts.
Once you have all your garage door parts properly lubricated, lift it and close it several times to even out the lubricant’s distribution. If you still hear a lot of noise coming from your door, follow that sound to determine if you simply missed a moving part or if more substantial correction will be needed.
Choosing the Right Lubricant
There’s always some question as to what types of garage door lubricants are okay and what shouldn’t be used at all. Whatever you do, don’t spray WD-40 on your garage door parts. People commonly confuse this product, which has rust-destroying and degreasing properties with a lubricant because it generally helps metal parts move better. That action is from the cleaning, not from true lubrication.
Instead of WD-40, choose a silicone spray or white lithium grease to lubricate those moving parts. Aerosols are especially well-suited for injection into small moving parts, and these materials won’t attract dust or gum up like mechanic’s grease or engine oil. With the right lubricants, you may find your garage door singing a different tune next time you open the door after a long day at work.