Troubleshooting Garage Door Opener Problems

It can be a huge inconvenience when your garage door will not open, and a safety and security hazard if it will not close. Since the garage door is the largest opening to your home, with the largest moving part, it is important to address any problems you may have with it. The following troubleshooting tips should help you determine where your garage door opener problems might be, and from there you can determine what you will do about your situation.

The first step is to determine if there is power to the garage door opener. Any response from the motor indicates there is power to the unit. If the unit is totally unresponsive, make sure you have power to the outlet by plugging another electrical device, that you know is working, into the outlet the door opener is currently plugged in to. If there is power to the outlet, and the garage door opener is unresponsive, there is a good chance you have an internal electrical problem such as the motor start capacitor or the circuit board. A burnt electrical smell could indicate the motor start capacitor.

It is not common for the problem to be in the electric motor itself, but they are very sensitive to power surges. If you have been experiencing severe storms with lightning and your door stopped working during the storm or a day later, this could have caused the circuit board to fail. It is always a good idea to have an inexpensive surge protector in place to prevent such things from happening to your garage door opener.

The second step would be to determine if your problem is with the door itself or the opener. To do this, carefully put the door in manual operation mode by disconnecting the door from the motor using the disconnect cord. IMPORTANT TIP: always disconnect the door in the CLOSED position to avoid injury. If the door does not open, double check that it is disconnected from the door opener. The door should lift without much force all the way through to the open position, and a properly balanced door will hold itself open at the mid point position.

If the door is unable to be opened, see if the lock is engaged. If it is not, start inspecting the door visually. Look for any signs of breakage on the springs and lift cables, if there is, this is the problem. If all seems to be okay with the springs and cables, look for things like a bent track, and worn or damaged rollers and hinges. If the door is working properly, reconnect the door opener and move to step three.

Once you know the door is not the problem, you need to determine if it’s a safety or mechanical problem with the door opener. If your door is not closing from an open position because it’s reversing immediately or part way down, it’s a safety device. Pushing and holding the wall button will usually close the door all the way in this case. Once the door is closed, look for damaged or misaligned photo eye safety sensors. If they’re aligned but the light is not lit, check for frayed wires or loose connections.

The fourth step moves to the mechanics of the motor itself. If, when holding the wall button the motor is operating but the door is not closing, it’s likely an internal drive gear is worn or damaged. Many openers use nylon drive gears that wear down over time and need to be replaced.

The last step, and a common problem is the travel carriage. This is the part that runs up and down the rail and works as the disconnect device. It is not uncommon for many screw drive units to have the teeth that engage into the screw break or wear out. It is also possible that the trolley disconnect or attaching point for the chain or belt has become worn.

Troubleshooting garage door opener problems can be done yourself, and you may possibly also do the repair yourself, but keep in mind that The Doorologist is always available to help you get and keep your garage door and garage door opener operating so you can have the convenience of a properly operating garage door and a safe, secure home.


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