Garage Door Bearings – An Overlooked Part

Garage Door Torsion Shaft with Bearings Highlited

Often overlooked in the realm of the garage door are the bearings.  Because the bearings are hidden by the drums and springs, they are one of the most ignored moving parts on a garage door. As Murphy would insist, they are also one of the more important moving parts of a garage door system. The bearings are the support for the torsion shaft which spins inside the bearing (exactly opposite of a wheel spinning on a fixed axle). Cables are attached to the bottom of the door and wrap around drums which are mounted on the torsion shaft.  This transfers the weight of the door from the cables, to the drums, through the shaft to the bearings.

Poorly rolling bearings will adversely affect the lifespan of other parts in the torsion spring system. A worn or poorly rolling bearing creates friction. As is in most mechanical systems, friction is bad. Friction or drag can cause a number of failures:  Gear kits in the garage door opener will wear out prematurely and need replacing, Wrong sized springs may be needed to balance the door leading to future issues, and the torsion shaft may actually grind away allowing for a collapse of the system and catastrophic falling of the door.

Fortunately, it is easy to maintain bearings.  Lubricate the bearings using a garage door specific spray lubricant as part of your routine monthly inspection.  Don’t forget about the bearing between the springs.  In spite of routine maintenance, the bearing will eventually need to be replaced.  This is best done as part of another job on the torsion system such as a spring or cable replacement.

As always, you can contact us at 602-495-1555 and the Door Doctor will answer any questions.  Or you can schedule an appointment to maintain your garage door, including a full safety inspection of all moving parts, including the bearings.

Painting Garage Doors

Painting a Garage DoorWhen considering painting your garage door, there are some dos and don’ts that should be followed. In essence, painting a garage door is easy. Simply, put the door down, tape off the area you would like to paint, and paint the door.  However, a quick internet search will produce a plethora of videos and articles, many of offer terrible advice that will lead to problems with how the door opens shortly after painting.

Here are some tips from the point of view of garage door professionals:

Paint Selection

Most doors in production today are made of steel, not aluminum. Many DIY sites convey this fact incorrectly which may lead a consumer to purchase the wrong type of paint. Steel Garage Doors come from the factory with a baked finish. This means only certain types of paint, specifically, a high quality exterior acrylic latex, are recommended for use. The heat and UV Rays here in the Phoenix Valley of the Sun will cause low quality paints to prematurely fade and dull. Oil based or alkyd paints can react with the baked on finish causing issues with the bonding to the steel.

Wash the Door

The door must be clean for a good chemical bond to form between the surface of the door and the paint.  Sponge-wash the door with a mild detergent and warm water.  Rinse thoroughly and allow the door to dry completely before beginning to paint.

Apply Painter’s Tape to Contact Points

New paint will act like glue.  The paint gets hot during the day, becoming tactile giving it the ability to stick to whatever it is touching. As the paint cools over night it hardens whilst still being connected to any surface it is in contact with.  It is important not to get paint in between the sections or under the weather seal at the top and on the sides of the garage door.  Paint in these areas will cause the door to snap open when first used each day. In worst case scenarios, automatic garage door openers call pull the supports out of the door simply because the paint is sticking to trim and the sections are sticking together.  Besides taping off the rest of the garage from overspray, it is recommended that you apply painters tape under the weather seal and between the sections to keep the paint out of these areas.

Close the Door and Paint

A roller can be used to paint a garage door, but an airless or HVLP spray gun will deliver a superior finish.  Use caution and keep the paint out of the areas under the weather seal and between the sections.  Finally, let the paint dry and cure for an appropriate amount of time.

First Use

 Open the door manually the first time to verify the paint is not sticking and trying to hold the garage door down.  If the door does not move freely, find the areas where the paint is sticking and carefully remove the excess paint.

Garage Door Rollers

Garage Door RollersRollers may be one of the most overlooked, yet important, part of the garage door mechanism. They are the physical link from the tracks to the panels, supporting the full weight of the door while in the up position. As such, they are not given the treatment and consideration they deserve.

There are three main types of rollers in use today: Plastic, steel ball bearing, and nylon ball bearing. How well a door rolls varies dependent on a function considering the type of rollers in the door, age, and maintenance. Older, worn rollers tend to drag rather than roll causing the system to feel stiff. This can lead to premature failure of operator parts, causing expensive fixes which are avoidable.

Plastic RollersPlastic Garage Door Rollers

These are the go to roller of the industry. Most new doors are equipped with this type of roller from the start. Manufacture lifespan of these parts are generally the same as the lifespan for the spring. Mainly used due to ease of manufacturing and cost, plastic rollers are sufficient for most applications. Plastic rollers are metal shafts with a wheel, akin to children’s toys. While they are designed to support the weight of a panel they tend to drag more than roll from lack of bearings. Maintenance of these included lubricating regularly. A down side to this design is it’s susceptibility to heat. Plastic rollers tend to dry out and get brittle over time. This can lead to failure when a roller cracks and breaks apart.

Steel RollersSteel Garage Door Rollers

Steel rollers are another common variant seen mostly on older doors. While very popular years ago, they are less prevalent in today’s market. These are strong rollers with ball bearings. They tend to roll well for a longer duration than plastic rollers. These types of rollers are still readily available at “big box” stores. There are two main downsides to this design. The roller is constructed with stamped and press steel around the bearings. Over time the bearings start to auger the steel causing the wheel to wobble when in motion. Once the wobble starts, it compounds the wear exponentially until failure point. It is possible on worn steel rollers for the bearings to fall out fallowed by the wheel which could lead to panels falling out to their track. If the door sounds like a roller coaster as it moves, it is time to replace these out. At the same time these rollers are more sensitive to corrosion and rust. Lubricating regularly will help to extend the lifespan of steel rollers.

Nylon Ball Bearing RollersNylon Garage Door Rollers

Nylon ball bearing rollers are the best rollers on the market at this time. They are available in two variants: sealed and open. Compared to plastic rollers, nylon is less likely to dry out and crack. The nylon is also softer and rolls more easily and quietly.  The bearings help the part roll in the track. Sealed rollers require no maintenance initially while the non sealed roller still requires regular lubrication. Use of these rollers is preferred due to their lifespan and smooth function.  At Door Doctor West, we value these rollers so highly that we include a lifetime guarantee on every set of sealed nylon rollers we replace.

Garage Door Remote Troubleshooting

In general, interferenceLiftMaster 895 Garage Door Opener Remote issues and remote malfunctions can be very frustrating for any homeowner. In today’s age of wireless access, it is common for a homeowner not to have a secondary method of entry into the home as the garage door has replaced the front door for most day-to-day needs. Understanding issues that may arise with your primary home entry method will help you, as a consumer, be prepared to tackle this situation when you see it.  Continue reading

Genie Screw Drive Maintenance

Genie Screw Drive Garage Door OpenerRoutine maintenance of garage doors and motors is essential to maximizing the life span of your door system. Many people may feel they are unqualified to perform maintenance, but here we will explain how to perform basic maintenance on your Genie Screw Drive garage door motor. Continue reading

Garage Door Troubleshooting: Try This Before Calling for Service

Broken garage door

When your garage door is not working, it doesn’t always mean there is a serious problem. Before calling for service, check to see if the issue is simple to correct. By taking a few moments to do a little garage door troubleshooting, you might save yourself from an unnecessary service call.

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