What To Do When Your Garage Door Opener Stops Working

Like many homeowners, you probably don't think much about your garage door opener until the moment it suddenly decides to stop working. If you come home and find that your garage door isn't working properly, then you can use the following in-depth guide to pinpoint the cause and hopefully solve the issue.

Check the Remote First

The first aspect of your garage door opener you'll want to check is your remote. In many cases, all it takes is a fresh set of batteries to get your opener going again. Try changing the batteries according to your manufacturer's instructions and then see if the garage door opener works.

When replacing the batteries, pay close attention to how the battery contacts look. If there's a significant amount of rust and corrosion, is a good idea to clean it up with a small piece of fine-grit sandpaper or emery board.

Make Sure the Wall Switch Works

If the remote still doesn't work, then your next step is to check whether or not the wall switch works. If it does, then you may need to have remote reprogrammed to its correct frequency. If it doesn't, then you want to check the following:

  • Take a look at the circuit breaker panel for the garage door opener and make sure it has power. If it's plugged up to a wall outlet, then make sure that outlet is sending power to the garage door opener.
  • Unmount the wall switch and locate the two low-voltage wires used to activate the garage door opener. Touch the two wires together and see if it triggers the opener. If so, you should replace the wall switch.
  • Locate the garage door opener's wiring terminal and locate the two wires responsible for triggering the opener. Touch the two wires together at the terminal to see if the garage door opener works. If so, then you'll need to replace all of the wiring leading from the terminal to the wall switch.

Check the Rails for Obstructions and Lubrication

Make a quick inspection of the garage door opener rails as well as the chain (or screw drive, if it uses one) for any signs of obstruction or deformation. You'll also want to make sure the garage door hasn't jumped off its tracks and that its moving parts can open and close smoothly, as poor lubrication or lack thereof could cause the door to have jerky movement and even cause it to bind as it opens and closes.

Check the Photo Eye Sensor and Wiring

If you still can't get your garage door opener to work properly, then you may want to check yet another feature that is commonly overlooked during troubleshooting: the garage door opener's photo eye sensor. This sensor prevents the garage door from closing whenever there is an obstruction in the doorway.

First, you'll want to make sure that the photo eye is located approximately 6 inches off the ground and that both sensors on either side of the door are perfectly aligned with one another. Most sensors have a small LED light or other form of visual confirmation whenever the sensors are properly aligned.

Next, make sure that the photo eye sensors aren't being blocked by any other obstructions near or around the garage door. If the sensor lens is dirty, then you'll want to wipe it clean with a clean, dry microfiber cloth. Don't forget to take a look at the wiring leading to the sensor to make sure it's not frayed, broken or corroded.

Check the Opener Itself

At this point, you've probably checked and double-checked all of the above. If you're still not getting anything out of your garage door opener, the only thing left to do is to check out the actual opener.

The motor on the garage door opener could simply be burnt out. Some models make it possible to replace the motor without having to replace the entire garage door opener. In other cases, you may have no choice but to uninstall your old opener and put a new one in its place.

The circuitry within the garage door opener might have stopped working due to a lightning strike, power surge or internal corrosion on the circuit boards. In most cases, these boards can be replaced without having to replace the entire unit.

If you still can't figure it out, contact a company like Allied Garage Door Inc to have a professional give the door a once-over.