How to Lubricate a Garage Door to Keep It Operating Smoothly

Learn the steps involved in lubricating a garage door to increase its lifespan and decrease the noise it makes.
Deirdre Mundorf Avatar
Woman standing on step stool and lubricating garage door spring with silicone spray.
Photo: Tom Fenenga for Bob Vila

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Automatic garage doors simplify our lives. However, without regular maintenance, these modern-day conveniences might begin to make too much noise, and can even malfunction or break. Accordingly, learning how to lubricate garage door parts for proper operation and continued use is important. You should ideally aim to lubricate the moving parts on your garage door about once every six months to keep everything moving smoothly.

With the proper supplies, anyone can learn how to grease garage door rollers and other components. While you might be tempted to reach for standard WD-40 to lubricate your garage door, you’ll actually want to avoid using it for this task because it can attract dirt, which can create additional problems.

Instead, use white lithium grease or silicone spray. Having a rag on hand is useful for ensuring even lubricant application as well as cleaning up drips or overspray.

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Before You Begin

Before thinking about how to grease a garage door, there are a few other key maintenance tasks to complete. These include inspecting the rollers and hinges, tightening the chain, and checking to make sure that all of the nuts and bolts on the door are tight. When performing these maintenance tasks, you may identify other potential issues to address that could be contributing to the excess noise that your garage door is making.

After you complete these maintenance tasks, shut the garage door and disconnect the power supply before moving on to the following steps.

Step 1: Vacuum and wipe down garage door tracks.

Wiping the tracks of a garage door with a white cloth.
Photo: Tom Fenenga for Bob Vila

The first step for how to lubricate garage doors is to clean the garage door tracks. The tracks need to be clean to allow the rollers to move smoothly along them as they open and shut the door, but they should not be lubricated.

Begin by vacuuming any dust or large debris off the tracks. Then, use a damp rag to wipe away any dirt or dust that remains. If needed, you can try using an automotive brake cleaner to loosen and remove stubborn and stuck-on messes.

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Step 2: Lubricate door hinges and rollers.

Woman lubricating garage door rollers.
Photo: Tom Fenenga for Bob Vila

After cleaning the tracks, it is time to move on to lubricating some parts. When you’re thinking about how to lubricate garage door rollers and hinges, remember that using a lithium-based grease or silicone grease is best.

To lubricate the hinges, carefully lift up the door (or have someone help you lift it). As the door bends along the track, spray or wipe the hinges with the grease. Next, you’ll need to lubricate the rollers, which are connected along the track of the door next to the hinges. Using the thinner straw attachment for the grease will make it possible to lubricate the small ball bearings located within these rollers.

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Step 3: Lubricate bearing plates and springs.

Woman wearing work gloves lubricates garage door springs.
Photo: Tom Fenenga for Bob Vila

You’ll need a step ladder for this next step. Most garage doors have springs along their top. The bearing plates, which have a circular shape, are located on each side of the springs. Both the bearing plates and springs should be lubricated to ensure proper operation.

To lubricate these parts, thoroughly spray or wipe them down with the grease. After applying some grease, you should open the garage door. This motion will help ensure that the grease gets spread around more evenly. If you notice that the springs on the door are bent or damaged in some other way, they’ll need to be replaced. Replacing garage door springs can be challenging and may lead to serious injuries, so it is best to hire a qualified professional for this job.

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Step 4: Lubricate the top rail and arm bar.

Woman lubricating the top rail of a garage door.
Photo: Tom Fenenga for Bob VIla

The next step for how to lube a garage door is to spray the grease on the top rail and arm bar. If you aren’t familiar with the top rail, it is the part of the door that runs parallel to the ceiling in the garage. You can also identify the top rail bar by looking for the part of the door that the chain travels along. Since the chain moves along the top of this rail, this is the area that will need grease.

The arm bar connects the garage door to the top rail. You should also spray or wipe this piece with grease to ensure smooth operation.

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Step 5: Lubricate the lock and test everything.

Woman pushing the button on the garage door opener.
Photo: Tom Fenenga at Bob Vila

Finally, apply garage door lubricant to the lock on the door. Doing so will keep the lock from rusting and make it easier to lock and unlock the door.

Then, reconnect the door’s power supply and test it to see how it works. Listen and look closely as the garage door opens and closes to identify whether it is moving and sounding better than before. If lubricating the door doesn’t seem to have done the job, it may be time to schedule an appointment with a garage door technician to assess the issues.

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Learning how to lubricate a garage door is an important home maintenance task. Keeping your garage door and its moving parts lubricated will help extend the door’s lifespan and keep it operating smoothly and quietly.

Fortunately, lubricating a garage door isn’t too complicated. Following the steps outlined above will help you complete this task on your own. However, if you notice any areas of your door that look in need of repairs, it may be time to contact a qualified garage door professional.