A good garage door opener will last for a really long time. But a really long time isn’t forever. Eventually, you will need to replace it.
The tough part is knowing when to replace an old garage door opener. Garage door opener lifespans vary by quite a bit depending on a few different factors.
How often do you open your garage door? How well do you maintain both the door and the opening mechanism? Is the door balanced and hung properly? All of these affect how long the opener will last.
Luckily there are a few ways to tell if your garage door opener is on its last legs. This is good news because you can replace it before that fateful morning when you go to open it and it refuses to budge.
The Opener Only Works Sometimes
You might be thinking, is that a little obvious? If the opener only works sometimes it must be on its way out, right?
Maybe, but not necessarily.
The same thing can happen if the batteries are simply dying in your transmitter. Try changing the batteries or operating the opener from the wall unit to see if that fixes the problem.
If you find that you’re still having troubles, that’s a sign it’s time for a new opener.
The Door Opens Slower Than Usual Or Slips
Sometimes tired old garage door openers will show their age by moving more slowly. Just like us as we get older.
Sometimes it might not be too obvious to you because it gets slower over time. But one day you might be sitting in your car waiting for the door to open and realize that it sure seems like it used to open a lot quicker than that.
The door may also slip or even come loose and freefall to the floor. This is a serious safety hazard. Garage doors are heavy and if they land on someone they can cause serious injury or even death.
If you notice your door starting to slip, stop using the opener and replace it immediately. It’s a good idea to disconnect it so no one else can unwittingly use the opener in the meantime.
The Door Makes a Lot of Noise as It Moves
Older garage door openers tend to make a lot of noise anyway so this one can be hard to notice. But you may start to notice that it seems to be extra loud or notice a new noise that wasn’t there before.
As a garage door opener motor nears the end of its life, it starts making a lot more noise. In many cases, you can just replace the motor.
But you may want to take advantage of new technologies that quiet the entire operation of your garage door. In that case, it’s best to replace your entire system at once. Anyone who is trying to sleep when you leave for work in the morning will greatly appreciate that.
You Notice an Unusual Vibration
With all the racket that older garage door openers tend to make it may be difficult to hear a vibration. You will be able to see it, though. This is an indication that your motor may have damage such as a bent shaft or worn armature.
You’ll notice that the opener mounts are getting loose. This can be dangerous if left on its own long enough. Eventually, the motor may break free from the mounts and fall. If your car or a person is there when it happens, it could be catastrophic.
The Door Opens But Randomly Reverses
Has this ever happened to you? You hop in the car and hit your opener. You wait for the door to open high enough for your car to fit under and just as you’re about to pull out, the door reverses direction.
Or worse. As you drive off you punch the button and notice the door start its descent. But when you get home you find the door is wide open because it reversed before closing all the way. That can be a serious security issue.
On doors made from 1993 onward, there is a safety feature that will cause a door to reverse if it detects an object in the door’s path. The door uses photo eyes on either side to do this. If something is breaking the beam between the two eyes, the door will reverse.
Thus, a reversing door can mean something fell in front of one of the eyes or they could simply be dirty. But if nothing seems to be wrong with the photo eyes, the opener itself is probably the culprit.
Your Old Garage Door Opener was Manufactured Before 1993
Speaking of the photo eyes and automatic reversal technology, you may want to consider an updated opener for this reason. It wasn’t until 1993 that this safety feature became standard on all garage doors. If your opener is older than that, it’s quite possible that your door does not have this feature.
For the safety of everyone in your home, it may be a good idea to get a new system even if yours isn’t quite on its last leg yet. This is especially important if you have children or pets in the home.
You Want an Updated Door Opener
It may also be time to get a new door opener simply because you want one. New openers come with added safety and security features that can be important for keeping your family safe.
If your opener is old, chances are it makes a lot of noise as it operates. Your family and all your neighbors may appreciate you getting a new opener for this reason alone. Newer openers are equipped with special systems that dampen the noise quite a bit.
Is It Time?
This list should help you decide whether or not it’s time to replace your garage door opener. Whether it’s on its way out, or you’d simply like an updated one, a new garage door opener will come in handy.
If you’re ready for a new one or have more questions about your current opener, feel free to contact us. Here at Lift Tech Garage Door Repair, we are happy to help any way we can with your garage door needs!