When to Replace Garage Door Rollers

Rollers are considered the main component of your garage door system. They link your door to several tracks, which determine how smooth it’ll open and close. While door rollers have long lifespans, they require maintenance from time to time due to the major role they play each time the door operates.

For optimal performance, garage door rollers rollers will need to be replaced anywhere between 2 to 20 years. Plastic rollers last the least amount of time (2-5 years) while steel rollers can last up to 3 years. However, steel roller with ball bearings can last up to 15 years. For the longest life, you may want to go with a nylon roller. They can last up to 20 years.

DURA-LIFT Ultra-Life MAX 2" Sealed 6200ZZ Bearing Nylon Garage Door Roller, 4" Stem, Pack of 10

In this article, we’ll talk about when to replace garage door rollers and which rollers are best suited for your needs. We’ll also share a few tips to get the maximum lifespan out of your rollers.

Let’s get started!

What Determines the Rollers’ Lifespan

Rollers also have a lifespan just like all other components. However, it depends on several factors such as the material of the door roller, and whether it comes with ball bearings or not.

The lifespan is measured by the number of cycles; where every time the door is opened and closed counts as a cycle. On average, a garage door passes through approximately 1600 cycles per year. This makes it easy to predict when the rollers need a change.

The Material

The material of the roller is considered the main factor that indicates its lifespan. Plastic rollers are the most common among all materials. They usually last for 2 to 5 years.

Steel rollers come as the second most common material. If it’s perfectly maintained, steel rollers can live up to 15 years. However, the only downside is that they’re considered the noisiest option out of all other materials.

If the steel rollers come without ball bearings, it can cause an extreme reduction to its lifespan, downgrading it to approximately 3 years.

Lastly, nylon rollers are known as the best in the market. They’re easily the best choice in terms of performance and quietness. Their lifespan is usually from 12 to 20 years, depending on the rate of usage and number of ball bearings. They’re also the most expensive.

DURA-LIFT Ultra-Life MAX 2" Sealed 6200ZZ Bearing Nylon Garage Door Roller, 4" Stem, Pack of 10

Ball Bearings

Ball bearings are small metal balls that are located between the rod and the wheel. They surprisingly play a major role in the survival of the roller. In fact, ball bearings are used mainly to decrease the friction between the rod and the wheel. This makes the roller much more durable and less vulnerable to damage, increasing its lifespan.

Most steel and nylon rollers come with ball bearings. Plastic rollers never come with ball bearings.

Rollers usually have from 7 to 13 ball bearings between the moving parts. As the number of ball bearings increases, the lifespan of the roller increases. For example, a nylon roller that comes with 7 ball bearings will work for around 10000 cycles. On the other hand, a roller that comes with 13 ball bearings can work for up to 20000 cycles.

HardwareXsupply 2" Nylon Sealed Garage Door Rollers, 6200ZZ High Performance Ball Bearing (10 Pack, 4" Stem)

How Do I Know My Rollers Need Replacement

Looking for signs that your rollers are in bad health is extremely important to avoid damage to other parts of the door. Even though rollers come with an expected lifespan, some rollers show signs of damage long before their lifespan is over. So, it’s crucial to frequently look for signs of damage, and replace the faulty parts when need be.

More importantly, you need to search for any deformation in the rollers such as tears, dents, or disconnected components. If your roller has ball bearings, you also need to check the condition of the seals. It’s easy to know when your rollers are desperate for a replacement. They’ll become slow during operation and produce unusually loud noises.

It’s also crucial to regularly check for any signs of damage in the door system. This job requires a professional to inspect all the parts up close, and maybe use a lubricant to reduce friction. Make sure to inspect the door parts at least once every year.

You should never try to lubricate or replace the bottom rollers, as they’re attached to the springs that lift the door. This could cause dangerous injuries as the door is very heavy, and it can fall if you lack the equipment or experience required.

In a Nutshell

  • Look for signs of damage even when the door is operating normally
  • Check for tears, dents, or disconnected components
  • Check for loud noises or jammed parts
  • Check the tracks of the garage door, make sure they align correctly

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Can I Increase the Lifespan of My Rollers

This question is commonly asked by garage owners, because, let’s be honest, who’d say no to three years of additional lifespan. The only thing you can do to prevent early damage is frequent lubrication. This will decrease the friction of door parts resulting in a significant increase in their lifespan.

Lubricants should be added at least twice each year to maximize your rollers’ lifespan. However, rollers with no ball bearings won’t require lubrication.

You should also try to prevent unneeded cycles to reduce the rate of usage as much as possible, this can come in handy for maybe a few more months.

Which Rollers Are Best for Me

Each type of rollers has its pros and cons. However, Nylon rollers are considered the best choice due to their high lifespans. In addition, nylon rollers generate much less noise compared to other rollers.

Steel rollers are the second most common type of rollers used, but they’re the noisiest. They can also have very short lifespans if they don’t have ball bearings. In fact, steel rollers that come with no ball bearings have almost the same life expectancy as plastic rollers.

Home Master Hardware 1-3/4" Nylon Garage Door Rollers with 4" Stems Zinc Plated 12 Pack


In summary, the expected lifespans of rollers are not always accurate. However, they give you an indication of how each material differs from the other. It’s extremely important to regularly check for any abnormalities in your garage door, rollers, ball bearings, cables, springs…etc.

If you’re looking for long-term rollers, you should avoid using plastic rollers as they’re the quickest to get damaged. You should also choose the roller with the most ball bearings to minimize friction and maximize the life expectancy of the roller.

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