As with many things that are taken for granted, garage door rollers are never noticed until they breakdown. The rollers work with the garage door system to ensure that the door goes up and down smoothly along the track. When they are properly positioned and functioning, they help the door function the way it was meant to be. However, when they stop functioning properly or get out of alignment, that’s when you will need professional garage door repair to correct the situation.
Replacement of Garage Door Rollers
The real question for homeowners is when should garage door rollers be replaced. Ideally, you’ll want to replace them just before they start to interfere with the operation of your garage door. However, most homeowners will probably not be that lucky. The good news is that you can take steps to ensure the rollers continue to function properly and understand the signs that indicate they need replacement.
Maintenance: You can maintain the proper function of the rollers by lubricating them as needed or twice a year, whichever works for you. This will eliminate the squeaks and noises that often accompany the movement of rollers when they are dry. While you might wait until the rollers start to make noises, it is best to lubricate them at regular times.
Inspect: If the rollers are nearing the end of their expected lifespan or if you want to check to make sure they need replacement, there are a few things you can do by inspecting their condition.
- Do you see cracks, dents, or scrapes?
- Do the rollers look old, worn-out, or so dirty that they cannot be cleaned?
- Can you spin the rollers when the door is stopped?
- With your garage door secure, do the rollers move in their tracks when the door is gently pressed?
If the answer is “yes” to any of the questions, then you should schedule replacement with a qualified garage door repair company. It is better to act now when you see signs of wear and not wait until something happens to them.
Why Replacement is a Good Idea
You may think that all garage doors squeak when being moved up or down the tracks, so there is nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, the squeaking and other noises they make are warning signs that if you do not replace them quickly, the rollers may just stop working or worse, break and have the garage door come crashing down. Also, it may tear up your garage door opener which means facing an even greater expense in repair garage door.
Even if the worst does not occur, faulty rollers can stop the operation of your garage door which means that your vehicle is either trapped outside or inside the garage. You do not want to be heading to work, only to find that your garage door suddenly stops working as you try to get your vehicle out. So, the best action is to replace garage door rollers before they stop working for you.
Types of Garage Door Rollers
Today, the good rollers are fashioned from nylon which comes in different designs that include sealed, semi-sealed, and unsealed. Inside the rollers are ball bearings which help make it a tough, durable design that will last for many years of normal use.
However, many garage doors that were installed before 2008 come with factory rollers that are inferior to their modern, nylon counterparts. Made from plastic or metal, many such rollers will only last a few years before they need to be replaced. This means that it may not be long before you must call your trusted garage door repair company to make the changes to your rollers to keep your garage door running smoothly.
While there are several types of garage door rollers, there are three that really stand out for their performance and ones you should look for if you intend to replace your garage door rollers.
#11 Ball Bearing Rollers: This roller is crafted from superior materials compared to the older plastic or metal versions. Plus, ten of these rollers easily supports the weight of a typical garage door. Under normal use, the rollers should last up to twenty years before they need replacing. What makes this type even more desirable is that they are inexpensive, which cuts down considerably on the cost.
#13 Ball Bearing Rollers: Like the #11 roller, but more durable, this type of roller is sealed which means that the ball bearings are protected from dust, dirt, and the elements. These bearings can hold about ten more pounds per roller compared to the #11 and are designed to last for up to 35 years of normal use. Like the #11, they are also inexpensive which means you can have them installed for a reasonably low price.
Z Bearing: Arguably the best of all garage door rollers, this one is sometimes called a “lifetime” roller because of its toughness, durability, and superb design. Unlike #13 or #11 rollers, each ball bearing is encased which makes it virtually foolproof against dust, dirt, oil, and the elements. This means that each roller is designed to hold up against the wear and tear of running the garage door up and down on the tracks for around 70 years.
They are also well suited for heavy garage doors which often wear out lesser rollers. It is true that such rollers cost more than the #13 or #11, but the expense can be well worth it as they are more resistant to damage and will in most cases last longer than the occupants who live in the home.
When in doubt, you can call your trusted garage door repair company and have an inspection and maintenance performed on your garage door. They will look over the rollers and other areas to ensure that they are working in good order. If a problem does appear, they can provide you with the right options to have the rollers maintenance or replaced so that your garage door will remain working properly.