Self storage units are often equipped with overhead doors, similar to those found in a typical residential garage. These doors are reliable, safe and provide protection for storage unit users. However, like any overhead door, they occasionally make noises and sometimes shake or stick during opening. This can be annoying if you are a renter, but the good news is that the fix is simple. Below is how you can eliminate the noises and that affect overhead doors and help them to function smoothly:
Tools and materials needed
1. Check with your storage unit manager or owner before proceeding – while the storage unit management will be supportive of your efforts to quieten a noisy overhead door or make it easier to operate, you should ask them if it is acceptable for you to perform the procedures below. In some cases, they will want to perform the work themselves, so be sure to allow them to do so if that is their preference.
2. Inspect the door before beginning – before performing any type of maintenance on your unit’s overhead door, take a look at the moving parts to ensure that nothing is loose or broken. If you discover a loose screw in a hinge or roller, for example, you can tighten it using an appropriately-sized nut driver. Be sure not to over-tighten fasteners, however, so you don’t risk stripping the threads. Should you discover any other damage, such as a bent track or broken springs, then contact the manager of the facility; do not attempt any type of repair beyond tightening a screw.
3. Clean the door’s roller tracks – the tracks of overhead doors tend to become dirty and caked with debris that can create noise and make use more difficult. Merely lubricating these tracks will not help; in fact, the presence of oil or grease may merely cause the trapped debris to harden and increase your problems.
That’s why the first step is to clean the tracks using an appropriate de-greasing solvent spray and shop cloth. Thoroughly spray the inside of the tracks so they are coated with the solvent, and allow the solvent to penetrate for five minutes. Then, wipe down the tracks with a shop cloth to remove the solvent and any loosened debris.
Next, raise the door about 6 inches and place a pair of clamping pliers on the track just beneath the bottom of the door; this will prevent the door from falling. Spray the inside part of the track that was previously covered by the rollers and permit it to soak for another five minutes. Wipe away the remaining solvent and gunk from the tracks. Carefully remove the clamping pliers and lower the door. Once the tracks are clean, do not apply any lubricants to the track as this will cause them to collect dirt in the future.
4. Lubricate the moving parts on the door – the best lubricant to use for moving parts on the storage unit door is lithium grease. It is thick, protective and provides a high-degree of lasting lubrication.
Begin by spraying lithium grease on the hinges that join the sections of the door. Lift and lower the door a few times to permit the grease to work its way into the hinges. Next, spray lithium grease into the bearings that surround the roller shafts. Again, lift and lower the door to evenly distribute the lubricant. Finally, apply grease to the cable drum bearings; these are located at the upper right-hand and upper left-hand sides of the garage door and hold the steel cables that transmit lifting force to the bottom of the door. As above, raising and lowering the door aids in spreading the grease into the bearings.
5. Apply oil to the torsion spring – the large horizontal spring located above the garage door is the torsion spring; this is what actually provides the bulk of the lifting force of the door by twisting and unwinding as needed. Torsion springs can be noisy as the sides of the coils rub against each other.
Instead of applying lithium grease, you need to use a heavier weight lubricant on the torsion spring. Dip an inexpensive paint brush that you don’t mind throwing away into a container of 30W motor oil of any brand or formula. Next, brush on the oil to the torsion spring coils; be sure to cover as much of the coil as you can so the oil is well-distributed. Blot the spring with a shop cloth to remove excess droplets of oil, but leave as much oil as possible that will remain without dripping.