A guide to help you decide when you should repair or replace garage door openers

Your garage door opener is a workhorse, lifting a lot of weight multiple times a day for years. At some point, your garage door opener will die or start getting a little wonky. Since replacement garage door openers can be a couple hundred dollars or more, it might be worth it to do a repair before investing in a brand new model.

How to repair a garage door opener

The easiest way to repair your garage door opener is to consult your owner's manual. Most of them have a pretty good troubleshooting guide that will walk you through the most common maintenance issues. If you can't find your owner's manual, locate the model and serial numbers of your opener and call the manufacturer; most of them will be able to send you a new manual or help you locate one online.

If you still can't locate an owner's manual, do a troubleshooting check of your own. The two basic issues you will face with a garage door opener are mechanical and electrical issues.

To look for mechanical issues, inspect your opener. Are there any ropes or cords tangled in the assembly?  Is your opener clogged with dirt and debris? Do a sweep for these issues and clean or de-tangle as the circumstances indicate. Then, inspect the mechanical parts of the assembly; most problems occur with the chain, drive screw or springs. You will probably be able to fix the chain or drive screw yourself, but consider calling a professional if you need work done on your balance springs.

Electrical issues are also easy to spot if you know what to look for. First of all, is your opener getting power? Sometimes this problem is as simple as your power cord getting knocked from its source or throwing a breaker. You should also check the connections to your inline switch and, of course, put fresh batteries in your remotes. If none of those work, you could call an electrician. Be warned though; it might cost more to fix it than to replace it.

How to replace a garage door opener

If your opener is more than ten years old, and none of your repair ideas work, your best bet is to get a new opener. Modern garage door openers tend to be a little more durable and easy to troubleshoot if the situation arises. Do-it-yourself garage door opener replacement is pretty straightforward, though replacing garage doors involves a little more elbow grease than replacing something like your car batteries. Most owner's manuals include an installation guide, but, if you need additional help, many magazines and websites are excellent resources for step-by-step assistance.

What you will need to do first is remove your old model in order to make room for the replacement garage door opener. Once the old model is down, you will want to double check measurements and placements. The new garage door opener should be installed in the exact center of your garage door, and the high point of the door should be supported by a 2-by-six piece of lumber. Once you have these measurements in place it is time to replace. Garage door opener assemblies attach with a rail on the center line, which should be an easy-to-spot reinforced panel on your door. Then, lift your motor assembly to a point that makes the rail horizontal. You can rest the assembly on the top of a ladder as you are getting it into place. Once everything is fastened, manually test the door to make sure everything is operating smoothly. If you are sure that the assembly is working properly, then you can test the motor and be on your way.

Garage door openers, while durable, still need maintenance, care and sometimes replacement. Whether you are looking for parts to fix an old model or you hope to install a new model yourself, Sears can help you find the tools, parts, and garage door openers to make replacement a breeze.

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