• Replacing a Broken Garage Door Opener


    One day, you push the button to open the garage door, and nothing happens.
    The motor whines, and maybe it starts to smoke or smells hot. It’s done.
    Replacing a garage door opener is something handy homeowners can do themselves, though it is time consuming and requires a number of hand tools and a drill.
    The work goes much easier with a second pair of hands and two ladders to complete the overhead work.
    Garage door openers are a common fix for garage door contractors too, so if you don’t want to tackle the job yourself, you’ll be able to find a few guys in your area who can do the job.
    We also have helpful guides for garage door spring repair and how to fix a garage door that won’t close that you may be interested in.

    Garage Door Opener Installation and Repair Tips

    Our goal in this home guide is to help you decide whether you want to do the work yourself or hire someone who does this every day.
    You will find helpful links below. In addition, every new unit comes with detailed instructions, and there are videos online that walk you through the whole process.
    Look for garage door opener repair costs below too, because price might factor into your decision to do it yourself or call a contractor. We also supply a list of tools you’ll need for the repair.

    There’s nothing extremely difficult about replacing an opener, but there are a lot of small steps that need to be done correctly. As noted, get a good set of instructions, and follow them carefully.
    Here are tips for successfully completing the garage door opener installation or replacement.

    • Read the instructions completely and watch a video before starting to get an overview of the work
    • If there’s an existing unit, remove it and use a tape measure to determine whether or not it was installed in the center of the garage door and can be used as a guide for installing the new system
    • You’ll want a straight line running perpendicular to the garage door, so measure and mark it using a pencil or a chalk line.
    • Check the high point of the door’s opening and mark it, then be sure to install the mounting bracket for the rail two inches above this, so it won’t be in the way of the door opening
    • The rail mounting bracket must attach to a stud, so locate one with a stud finder or install a front mounting board to the two nearest vertical studs
    • Once the bracket is in place, attach the rail to the motor assembly and raise both to the ceiling with the assistance of a helper and two sturdy ladders
    • Attach the front of the rail to the mounting bracket and secure the motor assembly to the ceiling
    • The motor assembly must also be attached to ceiling joists, and if you can’t locate them where the assembly should be attached, you’ll need to add a mounting bracket that does attach to joists
    • The trolley arm attaches to the door and to the trolley and is used to raise and lower the door. Follow instructions carefully for adjusting the height of the trolley arm to fit the bracket you’ve mounted on the inside of the garage door
    • Your garage door should have safety sensors that cause the door to stop closing if there is an instruction in the way. Sensors on either side of the door, six to 10 inches off the ground, ensure the safety of children and pets

    Garage Door Opener Replacement Costs

    Today’s garage door opener assemblies cost as little as $125 for a ½-horsepower model suitable for a single garage door. A two-car garage requires a ¾-horsepower opener, and they start at about $150. The best openers on the market cost $200-$300. The installation takes several hours for a team, so expect to pay another $175 to $250 to have the unit installed. If you do the work yourself, these tools will come in handy:

    • Drill/driver and sockets
    • Adjustable wrench
    • Staple gun for installing wiring for sensors
    • Two sturdy ladders
    • Safety glasses

    How to Save Money on Garage Door Opener Installation

    For a DIY job, the best way to save money is to shop around for sales on the opener and to borrow any tools you need. Trade a friend help on a project he or she has for helping you.

    If you’re going to hire a garage door contractor for the work, you’ll find the lowest garage door opener installation prices by getting at least three estimates from competing contractors. You might also be able to save money by removing the old unit yourself. Discuss that possibility with the contractor you select.

    Garage Door Opener Replacement Resources

    These links provide additional information including step-by-step garage door opener installation instructions.

    YouTube – This video is a little shaky in spots because it’s been hand-videoed while the job is being done, but it does provide good visuals. The guy does the job himself, but we definitely recommend finding a second set of hands to make the job both easier and safer.

    The Fun Times Guide – This site has a good troubleshooting section for determining the cause of the problem with your garage door opener.

    Precision Overhead Garage Door Service – This site discusses repair versus replacement of your garage door opener.

    Ventura County Overhead Door – You’ll find good garage door maintenance tips on this website.


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