The Smartest Way to Fix Your Garage Door Opener

photo searsgaragedoors.com
photo searsgaragedoors.com

It’s one of those days again, your garage door won’t open and you’re hesitant to call the repair guy because you felt like you were robbed the last time he charged you for a quick repair. Situation like this is not really a hopeless case; oftentimes the problem is something you can fix on your own and avoid costly service call. All it needs is a little troubleshooting, patience and common sense.

Check out our simple steps to troubleshoot and fix the issues with your garage door opener. For your safety, work with the door down because if the problem is a broken spring and the door is up then it might come crashing down on you.

1. Make sure the cord is plugged into a live electrical outlet. Obviously, it won’t work if unplugged.

2. For about 15 minutes, wait for the motor to cool then test it again.

3. If the door only opens up and it closes down when you press down the wall switch, it could mean that the sensors are not aligned. Check the sensors, it should light up when nothing is blocking between them. If the light is not on, this could mean that they need to be replaced. Take note that sensors are brand-specific. Also, check the sensor for blockages. Clear it from things that could be blocking the sensors. Even thick cobwebs, dust and direct sunlight reflecting on the sensory eyes could prevent it from working perfectly.

4. If the remote works but not the button on the wall, check for loose connections. Worn out plugs should be replaced. Try unscrewing one wire then touch the terminal with it, if the opener works you may have to replace the switch.

5. If the remote is not working, check the battery and replace if weak. If still it wouldn’t work, you may need to buy a new remote. There are home improvement stores that carry a wide selection of remote, even online. If you don’t find the remote for your garage door opener model, you may buy a universal remote or you could install a new receiver.

6. Check if the antenna is placed properly. You may also check the range of your antenna or add an antenna extension which you can buy online or at any electronic store. This may improve the performance of your garage door opener.

7. Check gears or the sprocket if the door is not working but the opener is. In most brands like Liftmaster, Sears and Chamberlain openers, the motor will turn the worm gear and the drive shaft inside. This will rotate the sprocket placed on the top of the drive shaft, turns the chain and then moves the door. When the gear wears out which is a common problem because of lack of lubrication or if it has evaporated due to warm climate, this would result in not opening and closing of the garage door because the sprocket will not be able to turn the chain. You have to replace the worn out sprocket.

To change the sprocket: First, unplug the opener then remove the bolt that holds the chain to the trolley. Be very cautious in removing the chain as it might cause serious injury to the hands and finger. You will notice that the sprocket is loose and the debris inside tells the wear from the shaft and bushing. Before installing the new gear and sprocket assembly, tap the 3 holes and use grease from the kit to lube the screws that would hold the gear and sprocket. Slide the new gear and sprocket assembly into the bushing, align the specific hole then secure with a punch. Lubricate all the teeth as well as the bottom neck of the drive shaft and all sides of the worm gear. Slide the limit drive gear into the drive shaft, insert retainer clip then secure. Before you reinstall the chain, you have to reset the travel timing then test.

8. Press button and check if it is jammed or stuck. Try lubricating to release it. Any garage door opener should always be lubricated especially the rail that comes in contact with the trolley carriage. Best to use silicone spray lubes that don’t attract dirt.
Additional tip: heard about seasonal changes? Save time and avoid getting frustrated by testing and checking your garage door opener every time the season changes. It may alter how your garage door operates so make sure to inspect and clean or lubricate parts when the season calls for it. But for colder season it would be best to use lithium grease since it won’t harden.

9. If the door only opens partially or closes halfway, check for obstructions. Locate the adjustment screws and springs inside or on top of the opener. You may also increase the tension, just adjust the screws slowly. Also, try adjusting the clips on the opener chains to activate the automatic switches.

10. If you hear a grinding noise in the garage door opener but the door won’t open, chances are the drive gear is burnt. Since the drive gear is made of plastic it is prone to getting melted due to contact with the worm drive gear on the motor. This is the most common reason door openers fail to operate.

To replace the gear: First is, remove the chain by unscrewing the nut on the tensioning rod. You may use pliers for the chain not to turn. You have to use a wrench to loosen and remove the chain then a drive socket extension to remove the gear. Don’t forget to take a photo of the wirings. Photograph all the connections from the motor and label it. To remove the entire assembly, disconnect the wires then move the gear assembly and the motor to your work table. Now that the gear is out, remove it from the shaft or you may also buy a gear that comes with a shaft, reassemble the motor and replace the old one, try if it fixed the problem. Don’t forget to lubricate everything when you are done.

11. If everything is working perfectly but the lights won’t lit up. Remove the bulb and check with other sockets, if it lit up then the socket on the garage door opener has to be replaced. To replace, remove the circuit board then remove the old socket by unclipping it. Put in a new socket and make sure the bulb has the correct wattage. Bulbs with high wattage can be a fire hazard.

Any of these issues could be the problem of your garage door, so it is best to have the patience to try them for it could save you some serious cash.

3 thoughts on “The Smartest Way to Fix Your Garage Door Opener

  1. Thank you for the advice on fixing a garage door opener. I’ve noticed that my remote won’t open it all the time anymore, and I’m not sure if it’s a problem with the remote or the door. I’ll try out these steps to troubleshoot and hopefully I’ll figure out what the problem is! Would you recommend that an amateur do repairs like this or should I call someone to fix it?

  2. I like how you said, ” If the door only opens up and it closes down when you press down the wall switch, it could mean that the sensors are not aligned”. I can’t even tell you how many times this happens to me. One of my kids bumps it on accident or something else happens to knock them out of line. The first time it happened, it took me quite a while to figure out, but now the sensors are one of the first things that I check.

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