Garage Door Opener Repair 101: A Guide

Call it planned obsolescence or a Murphy’s Law of homeowner physics, it’s inevitable that your garage door opener will break and need replaced before your garage door. Your average garage door opener will last 10 to 15 years, while most garage doors last 20 to 30 years. And even before the opener needs replaced, your garage door opener will break down from time to time and need repaired. Fortunately, usually it’s a simple repair you can do yourself. Here is a brief guide to troubleshooting garage door opener repair.

Troubleshoot the Garage Door

The first thing is to check the door to see if the problem is the opener or the door itself. Pull the emergency release cord to disconnect the opener from the door. Check to see if it opens. If not, you might have a problem with the tracks, springs, or cables that may require a specialist.

Troubleshooting Whether It’s the Garage or Switch

If the remote still works but the wall unit doesn’t, you’ll either need to repair the switch or swap out the wires. To determine which, remove the switch from the wall and touch the two wires together. (They’re low voltage — no risk of shock!) If this works the opener, the switch is bad. Unless it’s an older model, get a switch that corresponds to the brand of opener you own.

If the wires are bad, you’ll need to swap out the wires.

Troubleshooting the Remote

If it’s the remote that‘s not working, change the batteries. If that doesn’t do the trick, you may need to get a new remote. You can find one online that corresponds to your brand of opener, or purchase a universal remote. Another option is to install a new receiver that comes with its own remote. This protects your door from hacking.

Could the Problem Be the Motor?

If you hear a whirring sound but the door doesn’t open or close, chances are the motor in your garage door opener has gone bad. This will often wear out before the opener itself. The good news is it’s a fairly inexpensive garage door opener repair — one you can do yourself if you are fairly handy with tools.

You can purchase a garage door motor repair kit at most hardware stores. Make sure when you inspect the motor that the door is completely closed. You don’t want to risk it crashing down on you.