Garage door rollers play a vital roll in the smooth operation of any garage door. They vary in both size and material. In Las Vegas, common residential garage door tracks are 2″ wide. For 2″ tracks you would have a roller that’s 1-3/4″ in diameter. This allows the roller to spin freely in the tracks and gives it enough wiggle room without allowing it to slide out of the track. Material and built style determine the load the roller can handle, as well as its life expectancy.
How can I tell if my garage door rollers need to be replaced?
Just as tires are rated by miles driven, garage door rollers are rated by cycles. A cycle is a complete open and close of your garage door. Garage door rollers are typically rated for 3,000-15,000 cycles demanding on material and build quality. Frequent maintenance can extend that number. Heavier doors or taller doors will have more wear on the rollers as there is more pressure on the stem with heavy doors, and longer cycles on the rollers for taller doors. That’s why at American Veteran Garage Doors Las Vegas, we lubricate all moving pieces in the garage door with every visit.
Steel rollers are common with pre-2000 builder installed garage doors. These are a steel wheel mounted on a steel stem. Usually, they will have a 10 ball bearing between the wheel and the stem. These are rated at 75 lbs per roller @ 15,000 Cycles. Today most people opt against steel rollers, as they make a rattle like noise, due to the steel to steel contact with the railing and roller.
These are the cheapest of the bunch and are standard with any builder installed a garage door in Las Vegas today. This is a 1-3/4″ nylon tire mounted on 7/16 a zinc plated stem. No ball bearings here. They typically slide more than spin and provide a cheap alternative to their slightly more expensive competitors. In Las Vegas, due to the dry weather, the plastic wheels tend to break when as the material deteriorates. Rated at 50 lbs per Roller @ 3’000-5,000 Cycles. It is recommended to oil these rollers regularly to ensure correct functionality.
Plastic rollers are getting more and more common in today’s build. Garage door openers are getting quieter and people want to have their doors quite as well. Here come plastic rollers. These have steel wheels plated with a plastic tire and them mounted on a zinc plated stem. utilizing 10-14 ball bearing, this roller provides a smooth and quiet operation to the garage door. The plastic plating decreases rattling and acts as a shock absorber. Rated- 75 lbs per Roller @ 10,000 Cycles.
Polyethylene rollers have Polyethylene tire, mounted on a stainless steel stem, and also have a washer and retainer. This is a great roller for humid environments, especially for beach houses, due to its resistance to humidity and corrosion. In Las Vegas, these are considered overkill. But some garage door repair companies in Las Vegas do offer them as an option.
Long stem rollers
Standard rollers have a stem of about 4-1/2″ long. Hinge housing is, usually, 3″ long. So why would you want a longer stem?! Long stem rollers compensate for gaps between the garage door tracks and the panels. Ideally, you should have about 1/2-3/4 of an inch of space between the tracks and your garage door panels. Sometimes, due to poor installation or technical obstacles (bad stud positioning during build), this exceeds the recommended gap. This may cause a roller to slip out and potentially cause the door to go off track. Narrowing the tracks is sometimes hard or not possible. Long stem rollers are an easy fix to this problem. Installing long stem rollers allow the door to slide sideways without risking the roller to slip off the hinge sleeve. Sometimes it is highly recommended to install long stem rollers on your door.
A good way to know if a garage door roller needs to be replaced is to take them off the track and out of the hinge sleeve housing, so they are in your hand, and then doing a quick inspection. The wheel needs to be perpendicular to the stem and allow no wiggle room. If the wheel wiggles it will not only create noise but might also cause the door to go off track. Another important thing to check is that the wheel is spinning freely and evenly. If the wheel is “stuck” in a few spots and doesn’t spin freely, it will make the door rattle and might even cause the door to go off track. At American Veteran Garage Doors Las Vegas, we will give you all the options and advise. This way you can make the best choice, and decide what’s best (or good enough) for your garage door.