How to Lubricate a Squeaky Garage Door

An arched garage door on a house

davelogan / Getty Images

Project Overview
  • Total Time: 30 - 45 mins
  • Yield: Lubricate a four-sectioned garage door
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $20 to $30

Garage doors are often squeaky and noisy, but they don't have to be that way. With the proper type of lubricant applied on a regular basis, your garage door will open and close smoothly and quietly. Learn how to lubricate your garage door to alleviate current and future squeaks and groans. Plus, lubricating your garage door will keep it in safe working order for the long-term.

Before You Begin

Use a white lithium or silicone spray designed for garage doors. Make sure that the can has an extension nozzle for spot-lubricating rollers and hinges.

Do not use a water displacement spray as it is too light to properly lubricate the garage door. Avoid using oils and greases meant for vehicles or other machines. Oil and grease are magnets for dirt and debris.

Tip

You should lubricate the garage door once a year.

Garage Door Parts to Lubricate

  Description Number How to Lubricate
Guide Tracks Metal tracks that guide the door open and down 2 Clean only; do not lubricate
Hinges Hinges that hold door sections together 12 to 16 Spot lubricate the portion of the hinge that bends
Rollers Metal or nylon wheels that ride inside the guide tracks 10 Spot lubricate the bearings
Door Lock Slide bolt that locks the garage door shut 1 Spot lubricate all moving sections
Torsion Spring Tightly wound spring at top of the door that helps raise the door 1 Spray the entire spring with lubricant
Center Bearing Plate Metal plate that holds the torsion spring in place 1 Spray with lubricant
Opener Rail Long metal rail located near the ceiling 1 Spray the top of the rail with lubricant

Safety Considerations

Do not attempt to remove or adjust the torsion spring. Torsion springs are wound extremely tightly. Improper removal or adjustment of a torsion spring can result in serious injury.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Shop vacuum
  • Bucket with warm water
  • Soft cotton rags
  • Step ladder

Materials

  • Lithium or silicone garage door lubricant
  • Green citrus-based degreaser

Instructions

  1. Close Garage Door

    Close the garage door and lock it in place.

  2. Cut Power to Garage Door

    Disengage power to the garage door opener either by unplugging the unit from the outlet or by shutting off the circuit breaker at the electric service panel.

  3. Clean Upper Garage Door Tracks

    Use the shop vacuum to clean the upper portion of the inside of the garage door tracks: two 90-degree curved metal tracks that guide the door up and down.

    Wearing gloves, wipe the tracks clean with a cloth and warm water. To clean off oil, use a green degreaser. This alternative to toxic cleaners uses alcohol ethoxylates and citrus to cut the grease.

  4. Lubricate Torsion Spring

    Stand on a ladder to access the torsion spring, located above the garage door, at the center. Spray the torsion spring with lubricating spray. Spray the spring thoroughly but do not overspray.

    Tip

    If your door instead has extension springs, do not lubricate them.

  5. Lubricate Center Bearing Plate

    The center bearing plate holds the torsion spring in place. Spray the spring connection on the center bearing plate with lubricant.

  6. Lubricate Hinges

    Square- or diamond-shaped hinges hold the sections of the garage door together. Each hinge should be spot-sprayed with lubricant.

    Work with an assistant on this step. Unlock the garage door. Have the assistant pull the rope back to manually open the door. As each hinged section passes over the curved portion of the track, spray the hinge with the lubricant.

    Tip

    Confine the spray to the part of the hinge that bends. Do not spray the entire hinge.

  7. Clean Lower Garage Door Tracks

    After the garage door has been manually pulled open, the lower portions of the garage door tracks are accessible for cleaning. Clean the door tracks in the same manner that you earlier cleaned the top sections.

  8. Lubricate Rollers

    Ten nylon or metal rollers ride inside the guide tracks. The bearings of each roller need to be spot-lubricated. If the can of lubricant has an extension nozzle, use that. Avoid spraying the rollers.

  9. Lubricate Opener Rail

    The opener rail is the long rail that runs along the ceiling with the chain. Lightly spray the top of the rail with the lubricant.

  10. Lubricate Lock

    Spray all moving sections of the garage door slide bolt lock with lubricant. While this does not affect the movement of the garage door, it does keep the lock in good working order for whenever you need to lock it.

  11. Turn on Power and Test Garage Door

    Turn the circuit breaker back on or plug in the garage door opener. Open and close the garage door several times to fully distribute the lubricant.

When to Call a Professional

If lubricating the garage door does not eliminate the noises or if the door is still moving slowly, contact a garage door company for assistance. If you need to remove or replace the torsion spring, have a qualified garage door professional do the work rather than attempting the repair yourself.