While you should leave some aspects of repair to the professionals, garage door opener repair is relatively straightforward in many circumstances. Often the problem can be as simple as a worn-out gear. In most cases, it is much cheaper replacing or fixing the part yourself than hiring a professional. Professionals cost a lot just to come to your house, not including the potential parts they will need to ship in.
However, other problems with the garage opener may require extensive rewiring. For the average homeowner, this knowledge might seem ungraspable, but it is not too hard to break down. You need a basic working knowledge of the moving parts of a garage door opener, and it is not too hard to learn on the go.
If you are torn between calling a repairer and trying to solve the problem yourself, try a quick troubleshooting checklist to see what is wrong with your opener. Once you identify what is wrong with your garage door opener, you can decide if you are up for the task of repairing it. If you are, we included basic repair instructions to proceed.
Tools Required For Basic DIY Repair / Troubleshooting
Here is a list of some things you will need to access and repair specific parts of your garage door opener. These are not necessary for some repair problems, but most of the time you will need them to reach certain parts of your opener.
Figure Out What is Wrong With the Garage Opener
Before you begin your garage door opener repair process, you need to know the specific problem facing your unit. Sometimes, it is not even the electric opener, but rather one of the components of springs and levers working in operation with it. Also if you plan on hiring a professional to take care of your garage door opener, knowing what is wrong with your product can help expedite the process. This expedition saves money, especially if the repairer charges by the hour.
Whenever you are working, make sure the garage door is down, and the opener is unplugged. If someone accidentally opens the door while you are working, you could risk injury or electrocution. Always have someone hold the base of a ladder if you are working of the overhead portion of the garage opener.
1) The Garage Door Will Not Open, Even With the Emergency Release
Before even checking the garage opener, make sure the problem does not lie with the mechanism of the door itself. Pull on the emergency release and see if the garage door opens smoothly without resistance. If you find it getting caught or stuck, the problem likely likes with the overhead rails, springs, tracks or rollers. These parts may need tightening, lubricating or all together replacement.
2) The Garage Opener Wall Switch Will Not Work, But the Remote Control Does
This problem usually indicates an issue with the wall switch — either the unit itself or the switch wires within the device. An easy way to figure out is by touching the switch wires together. Using a screwdriver, open up the wall switch either by taking off a panel or removing the group. Once the electronic board is exposed, take the two wires and press them together. The door will either open or remain closed.
If the garage door opens, the problem lies with the switch unit itself. You will need to buy a replacement. Luckily, wall switches are very inexpensive — but make sure you buy the compatible switch for your specific garage opener. If your garage door remains closed when you touch the two wires together, then you will need a replacement wire that attaches the switch to the opener. Sometimes the staples holding these wires down will interfere with a connection, so check for that as well.
3) During the Winter the Garage Opener Will Not Open the Door
In most cases, the solution to this problem involves adjusting your garage openers sensitivity. When frost or ice build up outside, the opener will need more force to propel the door. Lubricating the rail system is also a good idea for a smoother garage opener in the winter. Specifically, you’ll need to apply a lot of lubricant to the screws on the rail driver and opener itself. Greases with lithium as an active ingredient, or silicone spray, are usually good choices.
4) The Garage Opener Remote Will Not Work, But the Wall Switch Does
This problem is likely an indication that your remote control needs batteries. If you replace the cells in the remote and it still does not work, then you will need to replace the remote itself. Most garage door opener remote replacements can be found online or at large hardware stores. If you cannot see your specific remote model, you can always buy a universal remote and install a new receiver, though this can be a little more complicated installation.
5) The Garage Opener Remains Closed but Makes a Grinding Sound
Most of the time, a heavy grinding noise is an indication that the main drive gear in your garage door opener needs replacing — especially if the door remains closed when the sound occurs. Typically found in the center of the garage opener console, the main drive gear is an important piece. Ironically, these pieces are usually the first things that need replacing since they are plastic.
Remove the component and determine if you only need a replacement gear, or an entire new shaft. A new rod will require a gear repair kit, which is readily available, but cost a bit more than a single central drive gear.
6) The Garage Opener Does Not Open the Door All the Way
For this problem, try adjusting the up-limit switch. All garage doors have a limit on the specific height the door remains above the ground. This feature is for different door sizes and outdoor pets that come in and out of the garage. Sometimes with a new installation, the switch can accidentally press further up than usual. Just move the switch a bit closer to the garage opener unit, in the direction of the motor. If the up-limit switch is not the problem, then you will need to check the rollers, which are likely damaged.
7) When the Garage Door Reaches the Ground, the Opener Reverses It
Nothing is more frustrating than repeatedly trying to close your garage door only to have it pop right back up. While it might seem like a faulty sensor, the problem most likely lies with the closing force of the door. When a garage door closes too hard, it tricks the sensor into thinking something is blocking it. Try adjusting the screw on the close-force setting of the garage opening. Damaged rollers can also create more force during the descent process, causing the same problem.
8) The Garage Open Does Not Close the Door All the Way
Similar to the previous problem, a garage door that does not close all the way most likely has a problem with its force close setting or rollers. Try to see if either of the issues in 7) fit the activity of your garage door. If not, try checking the safety sensors at the bottom of the garage door itself. Either something is blocking the field of view between the two sensors, or the support structures the safety sensors are attached to are loose. This looseness will cause the door to close before reaching the bottom.
9) The Garage Opener Lights Do Not Work
Are the lights not coming on when your garage door opener activates? The solution to this problem could be as simple as replacing the light bulb. However, if you know the lightbulbs in the opener are new, and it still does not light up, you may need to replace the light socket. To access the light device, unscrew the garage opener and remove the circuit board blocking the outlet. The socket itself detaches easily enough with a clip, but they do require some necessary rewiring. Replacements usually cost around $10-15.
Hopefully, our run-through of some fundamental garage door opener repair problems has been helpful for troubleshooting whatever issues you encounter. Since most garage opener repair only requires an intermediate knowledge of wiring — as well as a cheap unit replacement cost — almost anyone can do it. And even if you are opposed to repairing your opener yourself, some necessary maintenance, like lubrication during the winter, can keep your garage door and opener running smoothly for years to come.