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Overhead Door Blog

Kids, Trains, Dirt, and Tracks

Who doesn’t love a good train? For those of us who don’t live in a area where trains frequently run it’s simply a delight to have to stop at a railroad crossing and wait for a train. It’s quite a spectacle seeing something that big and that heavy to be moving along at such a pace. All that motion without a steering wheel.

Years ago my family, my entire family, decided we were going to vacation together and we rented a large home on Lake Champlain in NY. One of the most exciting features of this endeavor was the fact that there was a train track that was literally 200 feet behind the house. Our rental was sandwiched between the water on one side and the train on the other. What a fantastic situation for our children. Not long after we arrived we could hear the oncoming train and rushed around the house to watch it go by. My kids were bubbling with excitement and I must confess my curiosity was piqued s well. We started counting the cars as they went by and when we reached the 100 mark I was ready to get back to the water and crack open a cold one. My two young boys were still enamored so I relented and waited it out.

After the third or fourth such train, some being in the wee hours of the morning, I was beginning to understand how a 6 bedroom 3 bath vacation rental could be $750 for the week. Those trains turned into a rather large nuisance shaking the entire structure, waking us up, ending conversations with the noise, and creating a general anxiety of making sure we had a head count on the kids. Even so, I wouldn’t trade the memories.

Your garage door also has tracks and they provide the system that allows your garage door to move up and down freely while keeping it balanced and controlled. Much like trains your garage door is large, probably the largest moving thing in your home, and as such needs to be treated with care for both operation and safety.

Today’s tip has to do with your garage door tracks and dispels a popular myth about their maintenance. Say it with me, Garage Door Tracks Should Never Be Greased or Lubricated in Any Way.” We see this fairly frequently where homeowners will use oil or grease to lubricate these tracks in an attempt to make the door travel more smoothly. It’s a fairly common misconception and by performing this on them you will make your door slide up and down more quietly and easier. This is only a very temporary fix.

For starters the door should ride on the rollers and the rollers need to roll, not slide, on the tracks. Rollers that are sliding are doing one of two things and probably both. Since there is a reduced amount of friction between the track and roller the rollers can develop flat spots and, in turn, start wearing the tracks prematurely at the pivot points.

Additionally, the tracks now have a surface that can, and will, attract dust and dirt from the wind. Once this happens the effects can be like sandpaper. If you combine that with a roller that may have a flat spot you’ll notice an enhancement in track wear well before they should show these signs.

Here’s a tip from the pros. Clean your tracks once or twice a year with WD40 type product. You’re probably saying to yourself that this seems counter-intuitive because WD40 is a lubricant. In fact, WD40 dissolves grease and oil and as such makes a perfect product for cleaning the tracks. This is the ONLY place we recommend you use a product like this on your door.

The next time you have to stop for a train go ahead and count the cars and if you get to 100 drop me a line. The next time you’re thinking of greasing the tracks of your door remember you could be doing more harm than good and, more importantly, there is probably a separate, underlying issue with your door.

We’re always here to help and are at your service.

Your Overhead Door Team