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Garage Door Opener Not Working?

garage door opener not working and smoking

Is your garage door opener not working? Considering that a typical residential garage door can weigh upwards of 300 lbs., you can imagine how vital the lifting mechanisms are to proper operation. Of the many parts involved in the process, it's your garage door springs that actually lift and close the heavy garage door, in tandem with your garage door cables, and they are under an extreme amount of tension. If a spring breaks, and they are capable of doing so, not only is your garage door broken but also the broken spring can cause a huge amount of damage.  If you hear a big bang coming from your garage, you can bet your garage door spring has broken, and your garage door opener won't work until the spring is fixed. But what if it's not a broken spring causing the issue?

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.

Chain drives, which are like bike chains, are the most commonly installed 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 it doesn’t break, which is a very appealing feature.

With proper care and installation, your opener should open the garage door smoothly time and time again. Unfortunately, it’s not unheard of for an opener to break down. The real question is will you need to pay to have it repaired or is it more cost-effective to have it replaced? If your garage opener is not working a few different things could be causing the 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 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 also 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 opener’s user manual.  Also, the garage door system might require software updates to keep the remote and the opener compatible, which requires a call to a garage door specialist.


Yet another reason your garage opener won't work could be electrical issues. For example, something could be wrong with 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 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 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 the opener, but the garage door won’t actually open. If this is the case, the problem is the main drive gear in the 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 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 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 doors 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 opener need to be reset, as they 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 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 these are such complicated instruments, 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.

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At Garage One, we have over 15 years of expertise providing Residential & Commercial garage door services such as new installations, repairs, garage door opener installation and repair, and general garage door maintenance throughout the Greater Toronto Area and across Southern Ontario, including:

AjaxAuroraBoltonBramptonBurlingtonEtobicokeHamiltonLondonMarkhamMississaugaNewmarketNorthYorkMapleOakvilleOshawaPickeringScarboroughThornhillRichmond HillTorontoVaughanWhitby & Woodbridge, and many more!


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We at Garage One have researched the most reputable suppliers in the garage door industry and have brought those premium products to our clients. We offer professional garage door services and guaranteed products  -- with affordable prices on both.  Call us today!

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