Repair a Broken Garage Door Opener Repair a Broken Garage Door Opener

Every night as you pull into the driveway, you instinctively reach overhead and push the magic button that raises the garage door to let you in. You've done it so many times that you probably don't even think about it anymore. You just go through the motions because you assume the door will go up. But what if it doesn't? How will you get in? Can you even lift the door up manually? Like so many other facets of our technologically driven lives, the automatic garage door opener makes things easier, except when it doesn't work. By being able to accurately assess the problem, you will be able to make a quick decision as to whether or not you need to get professional help.

If you suddenly find that your door is not working, the first step is to make sure that the power is on. This may sound elementary, but if there is no electricity, then your power door opener won't work. If there is power, then you must first ascertain which type of spring system you have.

There are two basic types of spring systems. The first is a standard extension spring. You can quickly identify this type of door system by locating the long extension springs that run parallel with the roller tracks. If you do have this type of door and you are comfortable with do-it-yourself projects, then this is most likely a fix that you can make on your own. There are several potential dangers that you need to be aware of when it comes to handling large springs that are under pressure, but with some caution and by following the manufacturer's instructions closely, you can do most of the repairs on these doors. Some of the possible problems with these are broken springs, broken cables, broken pulleys or broken rollers. A broken spring or cable will be obvious when you look up at the railing system, but a damaged pulley or roller may take some closer examination to spot.

If you notice that your door system operates with a large spring that is mounted over the header of the door, please don't mess with it. This is a torsion spring. It is mechanically wound to a very high tension and then bolted into place. It is very dangerous to try to fix these on your own. If you believe that you have a problem anywhere within this type of system, please call a professional to take care of it.

There is one basic fix that you can do which will allow you temporary access to your garage in the event that you can't fix the door, or don't have the time to do so immediately. That mysterious red cord that is hanging from your opener is the key to freedom. If your door opener system isn't working for any reason, whether it is an electrical problem with the opener motor itself or a mechanical problem with the door, simply pull the red cord. Pulling this cord is like throwing a switch that disconnects the door from the opener system. It may take a little muscle, but the door will go up. Be careful, though, when you put the door down manually. If you have a broken spring or a cable, there is a large risk of gravity doing its job, and the door could close much quicker that you expect. Make sure all hands, feet, kids and cats are well out of the way when you go to close a door that isn't functioning properly.

In the event that you realize the problem isn't with the door opening system itself, but with a structural problem with the door or the track, try to locate who the manufacturer is. Some doors will have a label on the back side of a panel or somewhere on the track. It is feasible to just order the structural piece that needs replaced and prove to everyone just how mechanically inclined you really are. You can re-order everything from solid door panels to pieces of track. If you have questions about how to install these new pieces easily and safely, simply call the manufacturer. Most have customer service representatives who will actually talk you through the process on the phone.

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Brian Simkins is a freelance writer living in Chicago. He enjoys using his 14 years of home improvement experience to educate and equip new home owners.

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