While garage door openers are undoubtedly durable, they can occasionally break down, especially after years of use. So, what happens if the opener keeps malfunctioning despite multiple troubleshooting attempts? Does this mean that it’s the end of the road for your garage opener? If so, how long does a garage door opener last?
Let’s find out.
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How long does garage door opener last
A standard garage door opener should serve you for at least 10 to 15 years, after which its performance deteriorates even with regular maintenance. Overhead garage door openers, on the other hand, can last up to 25 years, owing to their superior durability.
However, this lifespan varies depending on the type or brand of your garage door opener and maintenance practices.
Without proper maintenance practices, such as regular inspection and lubrication of garage door parts, your garage opener may barely last ten years. Suppose your garage door opener has lasted for fifteen years or more; it’s time to consider an upgrade even if the opener is still functional unless it’s an overhead garage door opener.
How do you know when to replace a garage door opener?
During the first years of operation, a quality garage door opener is a gem. It offers the utmost convenience by automating your garage door’s operation. Even better, it guarantees the security of your garage even while you’re away on vacation. In some cases, you may not have to break the bank to enjoy the convenience of a quality garage door opener.
Unfortunately, even the most robust garage door opener brands eventually wear out following years of operation. When this happens, you will notice your garage door opener malfunctioning despite how well you maintain it. A constantly malfunctioning opener compromises the security of your garage, making it necessary to know when to replace it.
That said, here are a few indicators of when it’s time to get yourself a replacement:
1. The garage door opener ceases operation
You may simply press the remote button one day, and nothing happens. In such cases, your first instinct would be to establish whether there is a power supply to the garage door opener. Otherwise, determine whether the remote is at an appropriate range or if the batteries require a replacement. You may want to establish whether the remote is the culprit by operating the door using the wall console.
Alternatively, consider checking if the opener is in lock mode, as this prevents the remotes and wall console from operating the garage door. You could also check for any fraying or loosening of the wires on the garage door opener.
Garage door openers often deteriorate gradually and exhibit various warning signs before they cease to function. Therefore, if this is the case, you should have noticed some form of dysfunctionality earlier. You could get a technician to have a look at your garage door opener and advice whether you should replace or fix it.
2. The garage door operates on its own
The most probable cause for the garage door to operate on its own is a blockage of the safety sensors. You could have an obstruction on the doorway or dusty photo eye lenses. If the problem recurs despite eliminating blockages and clearing the lenses, you could be dealing with a bigger problem.
You may also want to check and adjust the travel limits to ensure the door isn’t traveling too far down, which could cause it to reverse automatically. Otherwise, the garage door opener unit itself could be defective, and if this is the case, replacing it could give you peace of mind while you’re away.
3. The garage door keeps getting stuck
This is a common occurrence in cases where garage door maintenance is poor. It could result from friction between unlubricated garage door parts. Old garage door parts, including the tracks and rollers, can leave you with a stuck garage door when worn out. Cleaning the garage door and lubricating the moving parts should do the trick in most cases.
However, lubrication may not come to the rescue if your garage door is too old. Alternatively, you could try replacing the worn-out garage door parts. If you’ve previously done so several times, but the door still gets stuck, you could be dealing with an exhausted motor unit, and it’s time to replace it.
4. The garage opener produces unusual sounds
It is typical for machines to produce sound while operating, and a garage door opener isn’t an exception. These sounds can, however, become a nuisance or unusual with time. For instance, if you use your garage door opener frequently, it can eventually start vibrating following the strenuous operation.
With an old garage door opener, you should expect noisy operation over time despite proper maintenance. This noise can eventually become unbearable, and replacing the opener is the ultimate solution.
5. Your garage door opener is old
A malfunctioning garage door isn’t the only reason to consider replacing your garage door opener. Sometimes your regular maintenance practices actually pay off by extending your garage door opener’s lifespan with little to no breakdowns. However, you will probably notice its convenience going downhill after a decade of service, and you’ll know it’s time to get yourself a replacement.
You might even find it difficult to get replacement parts for your existing garage opener model in hardware stores when it’s too old. More importantly, very old garage door openers are most likely outdated and no longer conform to the safety regulations in your area. This obliges you to get a new garage opener despite your existing one being functional.
Recent garage door openers come with superior add-ons that enhance your garage’s safety and convenience. For instance, thanks to technological advancements, modern garage openers offer you the luxury of operating and monitoring your garage door using your smartphone and many more such as:
- Rolling code technology
With old garage door openers, pressing your remote control would elicit the transmission of an unlock code to the receiver. This mechanism predisposes your garage door to security breaches because anyone can access the code during the transmission and later use it to break into your garage.
However, with modern openers, pressing the remote control disqualifies the existing code and generates a new one. In this way, the old code becomes invalid, so even if unauthorized parties pick up the signal, they wouldn’t be able to access the garage.
- Automatic reversal
Safety is paramount when it comes to garage doors, and what better way to ensure the safety of garage users than to get yourself an opener with an automatic reversal feature? The latest garage door openers come with safety sensors installed six inches above the ground on either side of the door.
These sensors communicate through a beam of light running between them. They are so sensitive that even a slight interruption of the beam by the tiniest of debris causes them to trigger a reversal. This way, they guarantee peace of mind if you have kids or pets running around the garage.
- Minimal energy consumption
Modern garage door openers consume minimal energy, enabling you to cut down on electrical bills significantly. Some models are compatible with solar panels, and these are even better. Initially, installation may be costly, but it could save you a fortune in the long run.
- Battery backup
With the latest garage door opener models, not even a power outage can prevent you from operating your garage door. They come with a battery backup feature that offers you several additional cycles in the event of a blackout, a convenience your old garage door opener denies you.
- Minimal noise
Older-generation garage door openers tend to be noisier than newer models. Even worse is that the opener becomes louder with time. This can be a nuisance to you and your neighbors. Garage openers today come in different designs, including belt and chain-drive openers. Although the latter can be noisier, a modern chain-drive opener elicits minimal noise compared to an older one.
These are but a few benefits that a modern garage door opener graces you with. These openers enhance the safety of the garage and its users, not to mention their unparalleled convenience. If your opener lacks any of these features, you’re missing out, and it’s time for a replacement.
How to prolong the lifespan of your garage door opener
Garage door openers are heavy-duty machines originally designed to serve you for a long time. Residential garage doors, for instance, can offer about 1500 cycles of operation per year. However, without regular maintenance, your garage door opener will barely attain as many cycles without several breakdowns.
You have a greater responsibility if you use your garage frequently. The more you operate your garage door, the more maintenance it requires. The goal is to extend your opener’s lifespan so that it serves you for at least ten years.
You can attain this through proper maintenance practices as follows:
Read your garage door opener’s user manual
Knowing how your garage door operates is the first step to taking good care of it. Garage door openers come as a package, including different garage door parts. By going through the user manual, you will know how each of these parts functions and how well to maintain them.
Familiarizing yourself with the user manual also enables you to know your garage and whether or not it’s compatible with the opener. A garage door that is too heavy for the opener will cause the latter to wear out faster. Ultimately, knowing your garage door makes troubleshooting and maintenance easier, extending its lifespan in the long run.
Inspect garage door parts regularly
It would be best to inspect the garage door regardless of whether or not you notice any dysfunctionality. Regular inspection of the garage door parts, irrespective of whether the door is functional, is good practice. Garage door parts tend to disintegrate gradually before they cease operation, and regular inspection is the only way to get ahead of the situation beforehand.
A thorough inspection often entails checking the rollers for corrosion and assessing the tracks for any debris or bends. Be sure to tighten any loose bolts and roller brackets to avoid waking up to a garage door that is off the tracks. More importantly, check whether the springs are intact by assessing the door’s balance. An imbalanced garage door means more work to the motor unit, causing it to wear out.
Additionally, regularly test the safety sensors by dusting the lenses and re-aligning them if necessary. Check the cables as well for any fraying and replace the ones that are worn out. Regular inspection lets you know when to replace specific garage door parts before they wear out completely.
Maintain the weather-stripping
The weather-stripping is located around the garage door and serves as a seal, preventing cold air from entering the garage to keep it warm. It also prevents the entry of debris and accumulated snow into the garage. Without proper maintenance, you’ll end up with a heavy buildup of snow or debris around the garage.
Sometimes this buildup can even prevent the door from opening. It is, therefore, necessary to clean up snow or debris that accumulates around the door time and again to prevent buildup. Also, check whether the weather-stripping is worn out and get a replacement if necessary. Maintaining the weather-stripping prevents the garage door from getting stuck so as not to strain the garage opener.
Clean the garage door parts
Cleaning garage door parts entails vacuuming the door to eliminate dust and debris. You can then remove stubborn stains using a damp cloth. While at it, focus on the moving parts, including the tracks, because any debris accumulation on these parts could jam the garage door. Also, allow the parts to dry before introducing any lubricant.
Service the hardware
Servicing also includes cleaning the garage door parts. However, it mainly involves lubricating the moving parts of your garage door. Pay attention to the tracks, hinges, rollers, and springs, as they are more prone to wear and tear due to friction. If you own a chain-drive garage opener, be sure to lubricate the chain so that the door opens and closes smoothly.
Ensure you lubricate only after you dust the garage door for the best results. More importantly, avoid using too much lubricant as this could accumulate and attract debris, causing the garage door to stick. You can always wipe off excess lubricant using a lint-free cloth.
Maintaining your garage door diligently through these ways will see to it that your garage door serves you for a considerable amount of time. Replacing worn-out garage door parts also goes a long way in extending your garage door opener’s lifespan. Although costly, consider seeking professional assistance for a routine service plan if you find regular maintenance tedious, as it will save you the cost of replacing your garage door opener.
Get to know the construction and operation of your garage
The first practice to ensuring an enhanced garage door lifespan is to understand your garage door’s construction and operation mechanism. When buying a garage door and the opener, you often ensure you have been given the user manual from the manufacturers. The user manual contains essential information on the repair and maintenance of both your garage door and opener.
After reading through the user manual, the next step is to familiarize yourself with the various parts of your garage door and the opener. A critical element of consideration when understanding the operation of your garage door is the opening mechanism. You should know that some garage doors open upwards towards the ceiling, some downwards, while other garage doors roll-up.
Often, the garage doors that open upwards are fitted with sectional and fixed panel models. When lifting the door, varied hinge mechanisms get used. For instance, for the sectional garage doors, their hinges are bolted onto the door’s insider, which holds six horizontal panels together and permits them to fold when the door is lifted.
On the other hand, the garage doors with the fixed models do not fold but instead tilt and slide upwards. The hinges of such doors assume the shape of a scissor on each side of the door and allow the up and down movement of the door.
The garage doors are also fitted with the spring that ensures counterbalance to the door’s weight while in motion or as it open and close. There are two types of such springs, the torsion springs, and the regular spring.
Another vital aspect to know about your garage door is the opening mechanism. The doors have various control mechanisms that allow for the opening and closing, including;
- Motor-controlled door openers
- Wall-mounted openers
- Keypad controlled
- Electronic eye safety sensors
- Phone –controlled door openers (Smart door openers)
Understand Safety Features and Test for Balance
The next aspect to ensuring your garage door and opener’s longevity is to check the safety and balance. When your garage door is not balanced effectively, it will not be safe, and the opening of such a door will cause a strain in your opener motor. The result is decreased lifespan of the opener.
When buying a garage door opener, ensure that the balance of the garage door is tested. The testing will allow for adjustments of the components such as tensioners, cables, and springs when there is no balance. This should be done at the point of purchase since these components are at high tensions and would not be safe to work on. You should call for the professional to work on the balance if your garage door fails the balance test.
Inspection of the Rollers and Tightening of the Fasteners
The rollers and the fasteners are susceptible to wear and tear and should be replaced when worn out. Most rollers have a lifespan of about 7 to 8 years when put under regular use. It is crucial to visually inspect the rollers at least twice every year for excessive wear, chipping, or cracking and replacing the ones damaged.
How long do garage door opener batteries last?
Garage door opener batteries are durable enough to last for one to two years, depending on how frequently you use them. They can even go up to three years with minimal usage. Battery backups come in handy during emergencies or power outages by enabling you to operate the garage door automatically despite a blackout.
Batteries enable you to operate the garage door opener and its parts just as you would when there’s an electrical power supply. This guarantees the garage’s and its users’ safety during a power outage. A garage door opener battery can offer up to twenty cycles of operation within twenty-four hours, which is substantial as you wait for electricity to be restored.
How long does a garage door opener motor last?
A low-end garage door opener motor should serve you for at least ten years, while high-end models could go up to 15 years with proper maintenance. If anything, the motor’s lifespan is limited by the maintenance level you offer.
Regular maintenance and replacement of worn-out garage door parts could see to it that your garage door opener motor lasts for even twenty years. The only downside is that the motor gets exhausted with time, and when it exceeds fifteen years, you’ll have to eventually replace it as it might no longer be as convenient.
What are the signs of a failing garage door opener?
It’s unlikely that you’ll wake up one day to an already damaged garage door opener because they rarely break down overnight. Garage door openers crumble gradually and exhibit signs of falling apart, which you’ll notice if you’re keen enough.
Any efforts to salvage it even with professional help can prove futile when your garage door is well past its prime. They can break down at the least expected time, leaving you stranded if you didn’t prepare beforehand. Paying attention to the signs of a failing garage door allows you to save for a new one before it’s too late. Here are some of the signs to look out for:
Excessively noisy operation
Although garage door openers are originally noisy, too much noise indicates a problem with the garage door or the opener itself. If you can barely recall the last time you lubricated the door, the noise could be due to friction from unlubricated garage door parts. However, if you regularly maintain the garage door or the noise persists despite lubricating the moving parts, the garage door opener is failing.
Imbalanced springs could also be the source of excessive noise. Try balancing the springs and test whether the noise reduces. Lubrication and adjustment of the springs won’t do the trick for old garage door openers. Additionally, old-generation openers often use AC motor units that can be too loud with time. If this is the case, consider upgrading to a newer model with a DC motor unit rather than waiting until the motor completely breaks down.
A vibrating garage opener
Pay attention when your garage door opener starts vibrating unusually. Powerful vibrations can even move the opener unit from its original position. If you notice this, it’s advisable to seek technical assistance and replace the opener early enough. Otherwise, the opener unit might vibrate until it falls off the ceiling and onto vehicles or equipment in the garage, causing significant damage.
A sluggish garage door
If you notice that you suddenly have to wait for an unusually long time for the garage door to open or close, your opener could be failing. The motor unit gets exhausted over time, and when this happens, the opener may start struggling to lift the garage door’s weight. Imbalanced springs can also overwork the motor, causing the door to move sluggishly. A slow-moving garage door should therefore be cause for alarm.
An intermittently functional garage opener will have you troubleshoot the garage door repeatedly, which could be exhausting. You might find yourself constantly adjusting the travel limits or pressing the remote control several times before the garage door responds, despite replacing the batteries.
In such cases, consider seeking technical assistance, as you could be dealing with a faulty logic board receiver. Without timely intervention, you may have to replace the garage door opener.
A garage door that opens or closes on its own
If the garage door opens on its own when there’s an obstruction in the doorway, then there’s no need to fret, as it could be due to the safety sensors. Adjusting the travel limit settings should do the trick if you notice the door traveling too far down and then reversing. Otherwise, you’re most likely dealing with a failing garage door opener.
A garage door that opens or closes on its own compromises the safety of garage users and the garage itself. The last thing you want is a garage door that opens while you’re away or closes in on a person or object underneath the door. Therefore, reach out to a professional to look at it to prevent unforeseen damage.
How long do belt drive garage door openers last?
Despite coming with a hefty price tag, belt-drive garage door openers are worth every penny due to their longevity. A belt-drive garage door opener offers you about 15 years of service, depending on your chosen model and how well you maintain it.
Unlike chain-drive garage door openers, belt-drive openers are easier to maintain because they have fewer moving parts. With a belt-drive opener, all you need to do is follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how well to maintain it, and you’ll be good to go. This could entail proper installation, regular cleaning, and inspection for ultimate results.
More moving parts mean more friction and faster wear and tear, which isn’t the case for belt-drive garage openers. They elicit quieter operations and require minimal maintenance, which extends their lifespan.
Most of the latest garage openers come in belt-drive design, making it easier to access replacement parts. With proper maintenance and regular replacement, your belt-drive opener could last up to 20 years.
How long does a garage door opener remote last?
It is advisable to replace your garage door opener remote batteries every two years with average usage. Dead remote batteries are a common cause of a dysfunctional remote transmitter, and replacing the batteries should do the trick. If the transmitters start working intermittently, forcing you to press the remote a couple of times before transmitting a signal, it might be time to replace the remote batteries.
A video describing how long a garage door opener lasts
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I replace parts of my garage door opener?
Yes, you can! If anything, replacing the parts is an economical way to extend the opener’s lifespan rather than getting a new garage door opener. If your garage door opener has served you for a few years, you may notice some parts wearing out and occasionally breaking down.
That doesn’t mean the garage door opener is defective. The garage door’s moving parts are more prone to breakdowns, and occasional replacements could go a long way. These include the rollers, panels, springs, and cables. Rollers can last for fifteen years, depending on their material. For instance, steel rollers tend to last longer than plastic ones.
Springs, on the other hand, should be replaced at least seven years. You should also check for fraying on high-tension cables and replace them if necessary. Replacing garage door parts minimizes straining of the opener unit, extending its lifespan in the long run.
What is the cost of replacing a garage door opener?
Replacing your garage door opener should cost you at least 250 dollars to 550 dollars on the higher side. That includes both the labor costs and the cost of the garage opener itself. Depending on the model you choose, the opener could cost between 150 to 500 dollars.
Most technicians will charge you approximately 65 to 85 dollars per hour for installation. Going the DIY route is more economical as you’ll only incur the cost of a new garage opener and additional installation materials.
Do all garage door openers have batteries?
No, some garage door openers, especially traditional models, lack batteries. Built-in batteries mainly come with the latest screw, belt, or chain-drive models. Battery backups maintain the convenience of your automated garage door in the event of power failure.
A garage door opener with a battery backup tends to be more expensive than one without. However, not to worry because even if you’re on a tight budget, you can always incorporate a battery backup to your garage opener later for convenience.
How does garage door opener know when to stop
The limit switch dictates how far up or down the garage door travels. This switch is often located on the opener unit in most models. The up limit switch determines how far up the garage door opens, while the down limit switch tells it how far to close.
For instance, when the garage door opens halfway, you have to adjust or increase upward travel; when it closes halfway, you have to increase downward travel. These switches tell the garage door when to stop, and improper settings could explain why the door operates uncontrollably.
How to check for the performance of your Garage door
The inconsistency in your garage door’s performance should be a red flag to the need for repair and maintenance practice. However, most individuals do not know the simple approaches to testing for your garage door’s performance. The primary ways to determine the effectiveness in your garage performance include;
- Check whether the door is opening uniformly from one end to the other
- While opening the garage door, determine whether the door is moving at a constant speed
- Check out whether the door is producing unfamiliar sound from its motor or if there are scrapping sounds in the tracks
If you notice any of the above abnormalities, ensure that you fix the door or contact maintenance specialists. The faster the slightest abnormalities are solved, the better, as this will save you the high costs of repairs when the conditions worsen.
Can LED lights interfere with a garage door opener?
The LED lights can interfere with the door opener’s operation, causing unreliability in the opening or closing of the door if the LED bulb interferes with the radio control signals as they get activated by the radio control transmitter. However, in most instances, the automatic door opener systems can be used with the LED lighting without any interference.
Can I add Wi-Fi to my garage door opener?
Yes. In a case where your garage door opener is not Wi-Fi enabled and lacks the MyQ capabilities, you can easily retrofit your door opener with a Wi-Fi controller. Your garage door opener system must have an internet connection if you want to effectively use the MyQ on your phone.
How does a smart garage door opener works?
With the advancement in technology, people are quickly shifting to the use of smart garage door openers. The aspect has been enhanced by the instances where people forget to close their garage doors and go through losses due to theft. However, with the smart garage door openers, you can use your phone through the MyQ app to control your garage door’s closing and opening and confirm if you forgot to close your garage door.
The smart garage door openers can connect to the Wi-Fi, and this permits you to remotely control and monitor your garage door from an app on your smartphone. Amazing, right?
Can LED lights affect my garage door opener Wi-Fi connections?
No. The field generated by the LED light does not have sufficient strength to cause any interaction with the Wi-Fi or TV signals and thus will not affect the Wi-Fi connection.
Devastating as it sounds, garage door openers have an expiration date, which often comes after 10 to 15 years of service. The good news is that maintaining your garage door opener regularly could extend this lifespan.
However, in some cases, neither maintenance nor professional repair services will bail you out. Although costly, a new garage door opener could save the day and even grace you with exceptional convenience. Of importance is to know when to take action, and we hope this article has enlightened you on the same.