So, your garage door opener isn’t working properly. Maybe the motor makes a noise, or the motion of the door opening and closing has become jerky. You’re not sure what the problem is, but you suspect that the motor is wearing down. What steps should you take? Here’s what you need to know about repairing your garage door opener to keep it working right.
Understanding the Anatomy of a Garage Door Opener
Before you start replacing your garage door opener, it’s important to understand its anatomy. Your garage door opener is made up of a motor, which is connected to a spring, which is connected to the door of your garage. The tracks are attached on either side of the door and are also connected to a header bracket and other components that hold everything together.
How to Determine if You Need a Garage Door Opener Replacement
Before you decide to replace your garage door opener, it’s a good idea to know if you need one in the first place. Here are some signs that your opener may be on its last legs:
You have an older model. If your garage door was installed in the 1980s or earlier, it’s likely that its motor is going to need replacement soon—or possibly even right now. Since these motors were fairly simple and didn’t require much technology back then, they tend not to last as long as more modern models do today.
Your garage door is falling apart or has fallen off its tracks. If this happens repeatedly over time with no obvious cause (like weather conditions), then this could be a sign that something else inside the system isn’t working properly and needs attention before it causes further damage or injury while opening/closing your garage doors manually without power assistance from an electric motor unit (usually done by hand).
1. Diagnose the problem.
While garage door motors certainly can wear down over years of use, there are many problems that could be occurring with your automatic garage door opener. Start by getting a diagnosis from a professional garage door contractor. It takes just an hour or two to perform an inspection, diagnose the issue and make small repairs. If your garage door motor needs to be replaced, your contractor can help.
2. Get quotes for repair and replacement.
With any luck, the problem with your garage door opener will be easy to fix. If it’s not, your repair person may present you with a couple options, including repair of the unit or replacement. Garage door openers typically last about 10-15 years, so if your opener is getting older and nearing the end of its service life, it may make more sense just to replace the unit entirely. Your contractor can help you decide what makes the most sense.
3. Hire the right contractor.
Very likely, you’ll choose the same contractor who did the diagnosis to make the repair, however, if the job is expensive, you may choose to shop around just to ensure you’re making the right decision. When you’re picking who to hire, consider the following:
Reputation in the community.
Years in business.
It may be tempting to hire the least expensive contractor for the job, but your garage door and automatic opener are important features in your home. Hire someone that fits in your budget, but don’t hire a contractor with bad references or a poor reputation. Contractors who charge significantly less for their work may be cutting corners in ways that could be problematic down the road.
4. Maintain your garage door opener.
Once the garage door opener has been repaired or replaced, maintain it. Get a tune-up once annually to keep your garage door in good repair. The more time you spend maintaining your door and automatic opener, the fewer break downs you’ll experience in the future.
How Long Should a Garage Door Opener Last?
With regular use, you can expect your garage door opener for around 10 to 15 years. Though many different factors can affect the lifespan of your garage door opener such as the weather conditions in your area or if you have a belt or chain drive garage door opener.
Can You Install a New Garage Door Opener on Old Tracks?
It is generally not suggested to use the same old tracks when installing a new garage door opener. Once the old opener is removed, make sure to inspect the tracks for any damage or deterioration. If your tracks are damaged in any way, consider replacing them with new ones before putting in the new garage door opener.
Need Garage Door Motor Replacement? Get Started Today