Are You Sure It’s the Garage Door Motor That Needs Repair?

When your automatic garage door opener doesn't seem to work, it's easy to think that the motor must be burned out and needs replacing. This can certainly be true, but not always. Remember that the motor itself doesn't open the door; the motor just powers springs or cables that actually lift and lower the garage door. If these parts need fixing, the door may not work even though the motor is fine. Note a few tips for determining what might be wrong with your home's garage door opener so you can know if it's the garage door motor or something else that may need repair.

The motor hums for a minute, then shuts off

If you hear the motor humming, this means it's getting power, so you know it's not a blown circuit or other electrical issue. In this case, it's usually a broken spring or cable. The motor is sending out power, but when the spring or cable won't operate, the motor shuts down as a safety feature. The spring may have lost tension or a cable may have snapped and these need replacing. 

In other cases, it may be that something is obstructing the spring or cable so that they cannot operate. This could be something physically obstructing their path or it could be an excessive amount of rust. Whatever the case, it's always good to have a professional inspect and repair the spring or cable, as the tension they're holding makes them very dangerous to work with.

The door stops midway

Sometimes doors stop midway when opening or closing because there is an obstruction along the tracks. If the tracks are clear, it may be that the springs or cables lifting and lowering the door are carrying too much weight; the motor then gets overloaded and shuts down. This can happen if the springs or cables are just starting to lose tension. When they need to work harder, the motor needs to work harder and it shuts down as a safety measure. 

There is no sound from the motor or just clicking sounds

When there is no sound from the motor or just a clicking sound, this usually signals an electrical problem, just like you might hear clicking from under the hood of your car when the battery is dead. First be sure you haven't blown a circuit in the home. If the circuits are fine, the wiring connecting the garage door motor to your home's circuit box, or the wiring inside the garage door motor itself, may be frayed or worn and needs replacing.