Garage doors and their electric openers contain a lot of moving parts, most of which can cause excessive noise if not properly adjusted or if wear has overtaken them. However, a lot of the noise occurring during a loud opening or closing is due to inferior or worn rollers. Below is more information about the three roller types found on garage doors and how you can replace lower quality bearings with higher quality ones:
The types of rollers used on garage doors
Depending on when your garage door was installed and how much it cost, the rollers on your door may contain sealed or unsealed bearings, or they may simply rest inside a sleeve. The lowest cost option of the three are units that don't contain bearings, and these are commonly seen on builder homes where cost-cutting is paramount. Unfortunately, these rollers are prone to sticking due to the introduction of dirt and other debris to the space in-between the rollers and sleeve walls. This sticking can cause door chattering and all kinds of other noises.
Bearing-equipped rollers are superior to non-bearing rollers, as the bearings allow the rollers to spin freely inside the sleeve. However, unsealed bearing rollers can become clogged with debris, as well, which limits their performance. While unsealed bearing rollers work much better than the simple sleeve-mounted rollers, they still aren't quite as good as sealed bearings. Sealed bearings have a full cap to protect the bearings from debris intrusion and also never require lubrication, unlike unsealed bearings.
Roller replacement work safety
The good news is that roller replacement is generally a simple, straightforward job as long as you heed a few basic safety rules before beginning. Garage doors are heavy and can fall due to carelessness. A falling door can cause crushing injuries, pinched or amputated fingers, concussions, broken bones, and even death. That is why you should remain alert at all times when working with garage doors, and be sure to wear gloves and sturdy leather shoes to protect your feet.
Step-by-step procedure to replacement
1. Open the garage door completely - Completely open the garage door before beginning; this will move the trolley attached to the opener's drive mechanism out of the way, so you can raise and lower the door freely by hand once the door is detached.
2. Disconnect the electrical power - Once the door is open, disconnect the live current that feeds the garage door opener; this will prevent accidental openings or closings during your work. Most garage door openers are plugged into a nearby outlet mounted on the ceiling, but if your opener is hardwired, switch off the breaker for the opener's circuit.
3. Detach the door from the opener - After you have disconnected the current, also disconnect the trolley from the door by pulling the emergency release handle; lower the door manually to get it into position for servicing.
4. Create openings in the rails - Measure up from the floor of the garage approximately four feet, then use a pair of locking pliers to temporarily bend out the rails on both side to create a wider gap. This will allow the rollers to be easily-removed from the track. You only need to bend them about an inch, so be sure not to apply too much pressure.
You will also need to create another pair of openings for the rollers located at the top of the door. These openings will need to be placed in the horizontal run of the track above the 90-degree bend.
5. Position the rollers for removal - After the openings have been created, raise or lower the door, as needed, to align the rollers that need removing with the gaps, one at a time. Next, place locking pliers immediately above and beneath the adjacent roller bracket to hold the door in position.
6. Remove old rollers - With a long screwdriver placed next to the roller you want to remove, pry the door toward the opposite rail then pull it back so the roller "pops" free from the rail. Then, simply slide the roller out of the sleeve on the bracket; continue to maintain pressure on the door to hold it away from the rail.
7. Insert new rollers - Once you have the old roller removed, slide the new roller into the sleeve. Release pressure on the screwdriver and ease the door and roller back into the opening you created. Next, remove the locking pliers holding the door in position and return to step 5 to repeat the process until all old rollers are replaced.
8. Bend the rails back in position - After you have replaced all the rollers, use locking pliers to gently bend the rails back into position. You may also need to use a claw hammer to restore the shape; don't worry if there is a tiny amount of distortion, as this won't affect the operation of the door.
For more information on servicing your garage door, visit here.