DIY Garage Door Opener Repairs

How to Fix Your Automatic Garage Door Opener

When you experience problems with your garage door, make sure you're not just paying attention to the door itself. Often, the problem can lie in the automatic garage door opener, which is the device that actually does the lifting and lowering.

There are three different types of residential garage door openers: screw drive, belt drive and chain drive. Different problems can arise depending on the type of garage door opener that's doing the work. Below are a few of the most common issues and the suggested ways on how to fix them. Most garage door opener repairs take some know-how when it comes to DIY maintenance, so keep in mind that if the task looks too complicated to complete on your own, it would be best to call garage door technicians that you trust.

Remember that before you make any repairs or replacements to the internal workings of your garage door opener, you first unplug the cord going to the motor.

  1. How Do I Fix a Broken Belt?
    When your belt drive opener's most important component— the belt itself— fails, repairing it really isn't an option. What you will have to do is replace it completely, which will take just a few basic tools. For this example, and for the following repairs, you will probably need to utilize a step ladder and re-position is throughout the process while working on different parts of your opening mechanism.
    If your opener has a cover that needs to be removed before working, do so with a screwdriver. Next, find the bolts that are securing the motor to the frame of your garage door opener. Loosen the bolts until the motor is free to slide in the adjustment slots. Sliding the motor will allow the belt to be loosed and taken out, after which you can simply replace it with a belt of the same size. To tighten it into place, slide the motor again and fasten the bolts. If you've done it correctly and the tension is where it needs to be, there should be about a half inch of movement allowed when you push the center of the belt. Then simply screw or pop the cover back on and plug your opener back into the outlet.
  2. How Do I Fix a Worn Sprocket?
    The sprocket is also part of a chain-drive opener, which is attached to the top of the motor. The sprocket has teeth that help reel the chain, and when these teeth break off or wear down, it can cause problems with how smoothly your garage door opens and closes.
    Pull down the red trolley cord and lower the door by hand. Remove the covering near the sprocket and chain. Next, loosen the bolts on the chain pulley that are attached to the top of the chain arm. Move the pulley about an inch towards the motor, and then use a ratchet to begin removing the bolts on the motor that are keeping the sprocket in place.
    A screwdriver can be used to pry the sprocket out of place. From there you will detach the chain from the sprocket. Using the ratchet and the bolts you just removed, insert the new sprocket and fit the chain back in place. Adjust the chain further at the pulley, then slide it towards the door until it is taut. Move the chain of your opener towards the motor until the middle of the chain reaches the upper side of the arm. Tighten the pulley's bolts and reattach the cover. Once you plug back in the power cord going to the motor, all you have to do is go below the trolley and tug the cord to refit it at the chain arm.
  3. How Do I Replace My Screw Drive Carriage/Trolley?
    The carriage is the part of a screw drive opener that travels along the threaded rod when the door is lifting or lowering. To begin, pull the release cord attached to the carriage to close the door and disconnect it from the rod. Move to the rail that attaches to the top of the garage door and remove the cotter pin and bolt. Place them somewhere you won't lose them. Then lift the end of the rail and use a wooden block to keep the place between the underside of the rail and the top of the garage door. On one side of the carriage, remove the hex-head machine screws, and remove the entire side of the carriage. Remove any pins that are attached to the cord release, and then remove the release mechanism altogether.
    At the rear of the motor, rotate the hex-head bolt clockwise to move the carriage to the outer end of the rail, where you can slide it completely off.
    Next, fit the bigger end of your new carriage at the outer end of the rail. The bolt on the back of the motor has to be turned counterclockwise until the carriage is fitted properly. Put the release cord into the carriage using the pins you saved earlier. Then reattach the side of the carriage.
    After that, all you have to do is attach the upper end of the door bar to your newly installed carriage.
  4. How Do I Fix the Automatic Lights?
    Each of these types of openers have lights, and they can all be fixed in basically the same way. First, make sure it's not a problem with the bulb itself, which may simply need to be replaced.  Remove the light cover and unscrew the light bulb to determine if it's broken or worn out. If the bulb itself isn't your issue, remove the circuit board with a screwdriver and disconnect any switches and sensor wires in the way. (Also make sure you're using the right wattage for your opener— a yellowed light cover means the bulb you're using emits too much heat, and can become a hazard.)
    Underneath the circuit board, you'll find the socket, which can be removed by pressing on a clip that holds it in place. There are two wire connections that will need to be removed, and then you will have access to the area in which you can install a new socket, which are generally less than $20.

If you’re at-home repairs or replacements don't fix the problem, or if you have any doubts about your ability to perform them correctly, don't hesitate to call AmeriServ. While we like our customers to be empowered with the knowledge of how to fix their garage door issues, we also want you to practice safety and caution whenever possible. Incorrectly installing parts or inadvertently damaging other components of your garage door opener can create more inconvenience and be even more expensive to repair. Our technicians can handle any problem you have, big or small, so don't hesitate to contact us today!

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