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FAQ - Openers

Garage Door Opener Not Working?

Garage Door Opener Repair
Did you know that the average family opens and closes their garage door about 1,500 times a year?  That’s a lot of wear and tear on something we don’t give much thought to. That is, until something goes wrong and the garage door stops working. This can cause life to come to a screeching halt, especially if your car is inside the garage when this happens.  With at least 25 parts working together to lift and drop a garage door that could weigh upwards of 300 lbs., there are several things that could go wrong.  One big problem could be a broken garage door opener.

The garage door opener is the most complicated part of the garage door. The opener itself hangs above the garage door and contains a motor which is the drive mechanism of the whole system, a system that includes a series of moving parts working together to raise and lower your garage door. There are three types of garage door openers, a belt drive, a screw drive, and a chain drive. Each has its good points and it’s bad ones.

Belt drive, screw drive, chain drive


The belt drive opener is definitely the quietest of the bunch. This type of drive is most desirable if you have a room above or near your garage and you don’t want to be disturbed by the incessant groaning of a garage door opening and closing. A problem with a belt drive is that they wear out typically 10 to 20 years down the road.

Screw drives, which are threaded steel drives, were known for being really low maintenance, but this has changed recently.  Another issue with the screw drive is that it’s the loudest of the three, making it the least attractive option.

The third type of opener has a lot going for it. Chain drives, which are like bike chains, are the most commonly installed garage door openers. They’re not as quiet as belts, but they are much quieter than screw drives. The best part of a chain drive is that is doesn’t break, a very appealing feature.

With proper care and installation, your garage door opener should open the garage door smoothly time and time again. Unfortunately, it’s not unheard of for a garage door opener to break down. The real question is will you pay to have it repaired or is it more cost effective to have your garage door opener replaced? A few different things could be causing your garage door opener to malfunction, and understanding the problem could help you decide whether to fix it or ditch it for a new one.

One problem could be the handheld remote device. A signal runs between your remote and a receiver on the garage door opener, linking them together.  If the batteries in the remote go dead, obviously the remote won’t communicate with the opener. Replacing the batteries is simple enough, but if this doesn’t work, a more complicated fix may be required.   The remote requires certain codes that match codes in the opener in order for the door to work; sometimes these codes in the remote need to be cleared, and the remote itself needs to be recoded. This information can be found in the garage door opener’s user manual.  Also the garage door system might require software updates to keep the remote and the garage door opener compatible, which requires a call to a garage door specialist.

Opener-Not-WorkingYet another issue could be electrical.  For example the wiring in the door control button on the inside wall of your garage or in the safety sensors.  Both of these are connected to the motor of the garage door opener with external wiring.  It’s not uncommon for any kind of external wiring to become damaged, and this could be the reason your garage door opener is not working properly.  If the wiring is cut, exposed, frayed, or damaged in any way, it needs to be replaced or repaired by a specialist. Another electrical problem could be defective circuit boards located inside the motor of your garage door opener or bad safety sensors, which keep the door from closing on objects in its path. Any of these electrical issues requires a call to a specialist.

You might notice a grinding noise coming from your garage door opener, but the door won’t actually open.  If this is the case, the problem is the main drive gear in the garage door opener. This is typically the most common component to break down in an opener, and it will need to be replaced.  However, before you call a specialist, check the disconnect switch. Garage doors usually come with a switch attached to a rope or knob that can be disconnected in the case of a power failure. This would allow you to manually open and close your garage door. If the disconnect switch has been accidentally pulled, the garage door opener will make noise but the door won’t move.  Simply open or close the garage door all the way, reattach the switch, and push the door control button again. If the door still won’t function, the problem is most likely the garage door opener drive gear. If the parts are no longer available for your type of opener, or there are so many parts broken that it’s not worth fixing, then it makes sense just to buy a new garage door opener.

Sometimes  garage door will close all the way to the ground, but then open right back up again. If this happens, the open and close settings in the garage door opener need to be reset.  Garage door openers have limit settings that control how far down your door will go before it is considered closed. Sometimes these settings can get thrown off and the garage door opener will try to close the door farther than the ground will allow. All it takes is a simple adjustment on the opener to stop the door from re-opening on its own.

Since a garage door opener is a complicated instrument, a few things could definitely go wrong. Whether it’s a remote control issue, electrical problems, or problems within the opener motor itself, understanding these issues will help you communicate better with a certified repairman.