How to Repair a Garage Door Opener

Electric garage doors are a great convenience -- until, of course, they break. The bad news: a dozen things could be to blame. The good news: many are easy to fix yourself.

You will need

  • Batteries for your remote control
  • Your owner's manual
  • A wet cloth
  • An electrician (optional)

Step 1 Check plug See if the opener’s cord is plugged into a working outlet. Of course it’s a ‘duh’ — but it’s also the most common reason electric garage doors don’t open.

Step 2 See if lock is on Now check the second most-common stupid reason that an electric garage door won’t open—the owner inadvertently activated the ‘lock’ feature. Many people aren’t even aware of this feature—consult your owner’s manual.

Step 3 Turn off and on Try unplugging the garage door opener and then plugging it in again; this sometimes does the trick by resetting the sensors.

Step 4 Try new batteries See if dead batteries in your remote control opener are the problem.

Step 5 Reprogram the remote If the batteries are fine, the remote might have become deprogrammed. Consult your manual for instructions on resetting it.

Step 6 Check beam Next, make sure the beam sensor is plugged in.

Step 7 Clean the sensor Clean the sensor’s eyes—usually located in front of the on/off button—with a wet cloth. When these eyes get dusty, it can block the signal that turns on the motor.

Step 8 Check the chain Next, check to see if the chain is broken or loose. Unfortunately, if it needs to be tightened or replaced, you’ll need to contact an electrician.

Step 9 Open manually If none of your quick fixes have worked, pull the red release cord to free the door so that it can be opened and closed manually.

Step 10 Get help Operate your door by hand until you can have the unit fixed. Contact either an electrician or the service department of the store where you bought your unit.