How to Replace Garage Door Rollers
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How to Replace Garage Door Rollers

Are your garage door rollers worn out? Worn-out garage doors tend to get stuck in their track, mainly if they have been used for a couple of years. This can make it difficult to open and close your garage door.  Instead of struggling to open and close your garage door daily, you would be better off changing garage door rollers.

This not only helps make it easier to operate the garage door. It also saves other parts of your garage door that may be damaged due to the forceful opening and closing action. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about garage door roller replacement.

Common types of garage door rollers

Garage door rollers are little functional wheels with ball bearings, and they are the most used part of the garage door system. They are attached to a shaft which then slides into a sleeve bracket on the door itself when the opener is working. This enables the door to move up and down smoothly and efficiently.

These are the different types of garage door rollers;

Steel Rollers

They are made up of a steel wheel attached to a steel shaft which allows free movement of the wheel section. It is robust and sturdy and unlikely to break under normal circumstances. Steel rollers are cheaper than their nylon-based counterparts.

They tend to produce more noise and vibration than nylon rollers as they move up and down the metal track of the door system rails. Additionally, they need to be lubricated regularly to keep them running smoothly. The main types of steel rollers include;

7-ball bearing steel roller

This roller has 7-ball bearings that can be lubricated and should last five years. They are rated at 35 lbs. per roller and can last for 5,000 – 7,000 cycles.

10 Ball Bearings steel roller

The three extra bearings provide a much smoother and quieter roll with less friction. In addition, exposed ball bearings offer a lubrication point for the life of the roller. They are rated at 75 lbs per roller and can last for 10,000 – 15,000 cycles.

Nylon Rollers

They are made from Nylon – a versatile chemical polymer. As a result, they are the smoothest garage door rollers in the market. These rollers do not require lubrication of their moving parts, which makes them efficient and maintenance-free. They are also more stable, and they absorb vibrations which makes them much quieter.

However, they are costlier compared to steel rollers. Below are the subcategories of nylon garage door rollers;

Ten balls bearing nylon roller

The ten-ball bearing nylon roller is made of heavy-duty Nylon to prevent wear and provide a quiet experience as it goes down the steel track. In addition, it features exposed bearings to provide a lubrication point.

They are rated for 75 lbs. per roller and can last for 10,000 – 15,000 cycles, which is equivalent to the average life of a torsion spring.

Lifetime Sealed Ball Bearing Nylon Roller

This garage door roller will last 155,000 cycles due to the heavy-duty sealed ball-bearing design. The sealed bearing design will increase cycle life and provide smoother operation while reducing stress on your automatic opener.

The design keeps out dirt, moisture, and other harmful elements that could damage the ball bearings. In addition, sealed ball bearings in a garage door roller spread out the weight load, increasing cycle-life and performance.

3″ Double Sealed Ball Bearings Nylon Roller

Double-sealed precision ball bearings are factory pre-lubricated with a high moisture lubricant for wet areas. They are designed for larger commercial tracks. These rollers are rated at 200 lbs. per roller for heavy doors and designed to last 100,000 cycles.

The shielded tires deflect moisture and damaging elements from the bearing. And the snap-lock design gets rid of problematic snap rings. In addition, these roller features an extra-long 9″ stainless steel stem which helps resist corrosion. And the extra stem length will keep your door from coming out of the tracks if you have a cable off on one side.

Plastic Rollers

Most plastic garage door rollers do not have ball bearings. They are mostly sold with new garage doors. The rollers are made of plastic, and the stem has no ball bearings. Their expected life span is about 2-3 years before they need to be replaced.

How to tell if garage door rollers are bad

Ideally, you should replace the garage door rollers replaced when you are replacing your garage door springs. That said, here are signs that your garage door rollers need to be replaced;

  • Your garage door is getting louder as it is opened and closed.
  • Your garage door shakes when opening or closing.
  • The garage door is out of alignment.
  • The rollers will start to feel “crunchy” when you run the door up and down manually.
  • Your rollers make a clicking sound similar to a train on railroad tracks.

Note: worn-out garage door rollers generate more problems like a door going off track or prematurely wearing outdrive gears, sprockets, and belts on your garage door opener.

How Many Rollers Do I Need for My Garage Door?

Most garage doors come with ten rollers when you buy them. Additionally, most residential garage doors that are 7-foot-high require ten rollers to operate. While an 8ft tall garage door needs 12 rollers total.

However, older 7ft tall wood garage doors have five sections instead of four and require 12 rollers. Therefore, it is best to count how many rollers your garage door has before ordering replacement garage door rollers.

Note: If cost is not an issue, opt for sealed ball-bearing nylon rollers. The cost difference is very minimal during the ordering process, but it will significantly impact the overall performance of the lifetime of your garage door and opener.

How often should garage door rollers be replaced?

Most steel and nylon garage door rollers can last between 5-7 years. This is dependent on the number of times you open your garage door and the type of garage door rollers used.

For example, if a garage door roller is designed to be used 10,000 cycles and you open your garage door 1,500 times per year (2-3 times per day), the garage door rollers should last 6-7 years.

How to Extend the Lifespan of Your Rollers

If your garage door rollers have bearings, regular lubrication is essential to maintain them. Try to do this at least twice annually or as recommended by the manufacturer.  

Are all garage door rollers the same size?

No. However, most garage door rollers are relatively standard in size. For example, most residential rollers are two-inch, but the roller diameter is closer to 1 3/4 inches. Thus, roller sizes are standard at one inch, two inches, or three inches; except the dimensions are usually ¼” short: ¾,” 1¾”, and 2¾”.

Commercial and industrial doors use two-inch and three-inch rollers. The wheels on three-inch rollers measure closer to 2 3/4 inches.

How much should it cost to replace garage door rollers?

The average garage door roller replacement cost is between $85 and $175. This is depended on the types of garage door rollers and the service fee charged.

How to replace garage door rollers

Follow the steps below to replace garage door rollers on different parts of the garage door.

Replacing a Top Roller

  • Close the garage door with the electric door opener, if so equipped.
  • Pull on the door release handle and click the garage door remote’s button to raise the opener’s carriage.
  • Disconnect the opener’s electrical cord from the outlet once the carriage stops moving.
  • Loosen the bolt that secures the top roller mount to the door with a socket set.
  • Slide the retainer bracket with the roller attached from the mount.
  • Angle the roller axle inward to release the roller from the door channel.
  • Slide the roller axle from the bracket.
  • Insert a new roller into the bracket.
  • Position the roller at an angle and slip the front edge of the roller into the track before rotating the axle toward the door and aligning the bracket with the bolt on the mount.
  • Tighten the nut with a socket set to secure the roller and bracket to the mount.
  • Repeat with the other top roller if needed.
  • Plug the opener back into its outlet, and press the button on the remote to lower the carriage until it connects with the door’s carriage arm.
  • Raise and lower the door to test the operation of the new roller.

Replacing a Hinge and Roller

  • Close the garage door, release the electric opener’s carriage and raise the carriage.
  • Disconnect the opener’s cord from the outlet.
  • Remove the nuts from the bolts above and below the hinge on the door using a socket set.
  • Pull the hinge away from the door, angling the roller’s axle so that the roller is released from the track.
  • Insert a new roller into the new hinge’s roller mount.
  • Place the front edge of the roller into the track, rotate the hinge and roller toward the door.
  • Position the mounting holes on the hinge over the bolts on the door.
  • Secure the hinge to the door by tightening the nuts with a socket set. Repeat the procedure with any other hinges with rollers.
  • Plug the opener’s electrical cord into the outlet, and press the remote’s button to activate the opener.
  • When the carriage snaps into the carriage arm, raise and lower the door to test the new hinges and rollers.

Replacing a Bottom Roller

  • Raise the garage door, then disconnect the electric opener’s power cord from the electrical outlet.
  • Pull the rope handle to release the carriage.
  • Place a C-clamp into the track opposite the side of the door where you intend to replace the roller.
  • Tighten the C-clamp into the track about 12 inches below the top of the door opening.
  • Locate the intersection of the straight, vertical track and the 90-degree elbow section of the track just beneath the damaged roller.
  • Bend the curved lip of the straight track section just beneath the intersection with a pair of slip-joint pliers. This bend should be wide enough that the roller can be slipped out of the track.
  • Roll the door downward by hand until the roller is centered in the channel’s widest portion of the bend.
  • Place a screwdriver between the bent edge of the channel and the roller.
  • Pry on the screwdriver to push the roller out of the track.
  • Pull the corner of the garage door inward until the roller clears the track.
  • Slip the old roller out of the axle mount.
  • Slide a new roller into the mount.
  • Press the door back into position adjacent to the track, then slide the roller into the track.
  • Slide the garage door upward so that the new roller is within the elbow portion of the track.
  • Then, straighten the bent track section with a hammer to return it to its original condition.
  • Repeat the process with the other bottom roller if needed.
  • Connect the carriage arm to the electric opener’s carriage.
  • Plugin the opener and test the operation of the door.

Safety Disclaimer:

Replacing the bottom roller on a garage door can be extremely dangerous when done incorrectly.

  • Do not loosen the bolts that secure the bottom fixture to the garage door.
  • Do not remove the cable from the bottom fixture.
  • Do not touch the red screws.
  • Do not unscrew the bottom roller bracket.
  • Do not remove the bottom roller bracket of your door.
  • Make sure that you unplug your garage door opener.

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Garage door roller replacement is a task that’s best left to a professional. This is because garage doors are intricate systems, and they are also very heavy and under extreme tension. If you do the replacement yourself, you can make some expensive mistakes or, worse, get injured in the process. You also need the right garage door roller removal tools to get the job done.