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How to Maintain a Garage Door Opener

A garage door opener is all about convenience, safety, and security. An automatic garage door opener has an average lifespan of about 12 years. But with routine maintenance, it can last even longer. Fortunately, maintaining a typical garage door opener is an easy job that only needs to be performed a couple of times a year. Follow a few simple steps to keep your opener operating smoothly.

Know Your System

First, identify what type of garage door opener system you have. Garage door openers have common parts that require maintenance. You likely have one of the following drive types:

  • Chain-drive systems are the most common and least expensive type. An electric motor drives a metal chain that raises and lowers the door. While reliable, these systems can be noisy.
  • Belt-drive systems use a rubber belt instead of a chain to lift the door. These systems typically offer the smoothest and quietest operation.
  • Screw-drive systems feature a threaded steel rod that turns to raise and lower the door. While these systems operate more slowly, they're able to lift heavy, one-piece tilt-up doors.

Whether you're repairing an existing door opener or thinking of installing a new one, talk with an associate in the Lowe's Garage Door and Openers department. You'll learn how to adjust your current system or select the best replacement system to suit your garage and level of use.

Maintaining the Garage Door Opener

A key step in maintaining your garage door opener is finding the owner’s manual that came with the unit. If you can’t find it, look online at the manufacturer’s website. Many garage door opener manuals, even for older models, can be downloaded. The manual will include specifics about the power unit as well as maintenance and troubleshooting information.


Step 1

Visually inspect all mounting brackets, cables, fasteners, tracks, and supports, looking for loose, bent, or worn parts. Tighten, adjust, or replace as needed.

Step 2

Check the cord connection between the opener and the electrical outlet to make sure it is secure and not frayed. If the opener has a battery backup, check and, if needed, replace the battery.

Step 3

Check and, as needed, replace batteries in the remote control and wall control keypad (if applicable).

Step 4

Every couple of months, test and adjust the auto-reverse system. This system opens the door immediately if it comes in contact with anything while closing. Make sure the two electronic eyes align. You may need to clean or replace one or both eyes. Then try all the following:

  • Set an object that blocks the opener's electronic eyes — such as a roll of paper towels — at your garage's open threshold. When you try to close the door, it should immediately reopen.
  • Set an object in the threshold that doesn't block the opener's electronic eyes such as a folding chair or a sawhorse. When you close the door, it should touch the object briefly and then immediately reverse. Adjust the tension in the motor housing mounted on the ceiling following the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Start to close the garage door and then insert a broom or rake into the path of the electronic eyes. The door should immediately reverse.

Step 5

Lubricate the chain, screw and rollers with a spray lithium lubricant. Apply lubricant to all moving parts and run the opener a few times.

Step 6

Test the manual release handles. This feature allows you to open the door by hand when the power is off or the opener is malfunctioning. Review your owner's manual for operation instructions. It's best to know how your manual release works and practice a few times before you have a problem.