What Type of Lube to Use on Garage Doors

An overhead garage door has many moving parts, each serving different functions. While commercially prepared garage door lubricant is available, most parts can be protected with inexpensive household oil. Using the wrong type of lubricant can shorten the life of your opening system or even present an unsafe condition. Lubricate your garage door regularly to ensure smooth and quiet operation.

  1. Hinges, Rollers and Tracks

    • The most important parts of your garage door to lubricate to minimize squeaking and grinding are the hinges and rollers. Use a light household or motor oil rather than heavy oil or grease. Popular water-displacing lubricants are too light to protect these parts. Because of the climate extremes to which garage doors are typically exposed, a frequent application of light oil withstands the workload better than heavy grease. Grease will also attract dust and sand, which abrades the rollers. Blow out any dust or debris from the tracks and hinges with a vacuum cleaner or air compressor and place a few drops of oil at the seams of each hinge and roller bracket with an oil can. Add a drop to the outside of each roller pin. Apply a small amount of oil (no more than six drops) to the track itself about a foot above the 90-degree bend if your door's rollers are made of steel. If you have nylon rollers use a powdered graphite dry lubricant on the track instead, since oil could damage the nylon material. After applying oil, open and close the door two or three times to distribute the lubricant.

    Other Parts

    • Apply a few drops of light oil to the bottom of the door where the tension cables connect and at the hubs of the tension pulleys. If your door has a tension spring, run a bead of light oil across the top or use a silicone spray to prevent corrosion. Oil the door's locks, both the key mechanism and latches that hold the door closed. If your door is operated with a chain or screw drive system, use a silicon spray to keep it operating efficiently. In wet climates, apply silicone spray to the bottom 18 inches of the track to keep water away. Reapply lubrication every six months. This is also a great time to ensure that the safety features of your door are working properly.

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