How to replace a garage door opener

How to replace a garage door opener



Your garage door opener is a key convenience feature used nearly every day, from quickly opening the garage door to get you out of the house on time in the morning to safely closing at night to keep your belongings safe. A working garage door is a must-have in a modern home. 

However, a garage door opener can fail after years of near-daily service. When this happens, garage doors must be manually opened and closed, causing terrible inconvenience. Luckily for home improvement fans and handy homeowners, replacing a garage door opener is only a moderately difficult task. If you prefer to leave garage door opener repair to the professionals, replacing the opener is as easy as a phone call.


How hard is it to replace a garage door opener?

Replacing a garage door opener is a moderately difficult repair. It involves removing a heavy motor, installing a new one and replacing motion safety sensors. Having another person to assist is also recommended. 

If not installed correctly, there is a chance of damage to your property or injury. If you are at all uncertain of your abilities to replace a garage door opener or do not have assistance, you should consider calling a professional.

If you choose to do it yourself, make sure you have all the proper tools, understand the safety risks and thoroughly read the manufacturer’s instructions before installation. Understand that this repair may involve purchasing replacement parts in addition to the garage door opener, such as brackets, springs and beans. 


How to replace a garage door opener step by step

Below are the common steps to take when doing a garage door opener installation. However, always follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Step 1. Choose the correct garage door opener

When choosing a replacement garage door opener, make sure you choose the right one. The size of your quality garage door will determine the type of door opener you will need. A ⅓ horsepower or ½ horsepower garage door opener will provide enough power for a single door. A double door needs a ½ horsepower opener, and a door with wood or faux wood overlays will need a ¾ horsepower opener. Popular brands include Liftmaster, Craftsman and Direct Drive. 

There are also three different types of openers to choose from. A chain drive garage door opener is the loudest and the cheapest option. A screw drive opener is midrange in price, quieter than a chain drive and requires the least amount of maintenance. The quietest option, and the most expensive, is the belt drive garage door opener, which is a great choice if you have living space above the garage.

Step 2. Gather the necessary tools

Once you’ve decided on the type of garage door opener you want to install, you must assemble the correct tools. Check the manufacturer’s manual for any other tool recommendations.

  • A screwdriver
  • A drill
  • An open-ended wrench
  • A ladder

Remember, you will also want to have assistance in replacing the opener, so having a buddy is recommended. 

Step 3. Remove the existing garage door opener

Removing the old garage door opener is an easy task. 

  • Turn off power to the garage.
  • Unplug the old garage door opener motor.
  • Carefully loosen the brackets around the motor and slowly lower it.
  • Loosen and remove the bracket on and above the garage door.

Step 4. Check the existing door components

Before installing the new garage door opener, inspect the garage door and other important components. Replace any broken or worn-out moving parts before installing the new garage door opener. Replacing these parts will prevent future garage door repairs.

  • Inspect the garage door springs above the door. If you find a broken torsion spring, replace all the torsion springs, as others will likely break soon. 
  • Ensure the rollers are sturdy and easily roll along the tracks.
  • Make sure all brackets are sturdy and not bent or broken.

Step 5. Put together the assembly for the new garage door opener

When putting together your new garage door opener, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Here is a basic step-by-step guide to assembling a garage door opener. However, instructions may vary.

  • Make sure you have all the required parts and tools.
  • Assemble the rail. 
  • Slide the carriage onto the rail; this is the part that pulls the door open.
  • Attach the motor to the rail at the furthest point from the garage door. This part is heavy, so make sure to support the motor on the floor or table.
  • Install the pulley at the end of the rail, opposite the motor.
  • Feed the belt or chain through the rail, around the pulley and motor.
  • Attach the belt or chain to the carriage using the screw at the end.

Take note that the screw at the end of the chain or belt allows you to adjust the tension. 

Step 6. Mount the new opener with existing components, if possible

After you have assembled the new garage door opener, it’s time to install it. This requires checking the pre-existing brackets for damage. Unless you have an older garage, you can likely reuse those components. Check that your new opener can securely attach to the existing brackets. If it cannot, you will need to replace those brackets with the ones that came with your new opener.

When you are ready to install the new opener, follow these steps.

  • Slide and secure the track into the header bracket above the garage door. Make sure to support the motor on the opposite end by placing it on a ladder, table or saw horse, or having a friend hold it off the floor to avoid damage.
  • Lift the motor to the ceiling brackets. Make sure that the motor is higher than 7 feet in the air so tall people and vehicles will not hit it. Attach the motor to the brackets.
  • Manually open and close the garage door several times to ensure there is enough clearance. If the door hits the track, you will have to move the motor and possibly the brackets to make room.
  • Connect the lifting arm to the door and the track. Open the door manually again to ensure everything is moving correctly.
  • Do not plug the motor in yet.

Step 7. Install new safety sensors and push-button controls

To ensure safety and security, you will need to connect the new opener to the door button and the electric safety system, as well as the manual release and any lights. 

  • Install the manual release rope according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The rope should hang around six feet in the air so an adult can reach it. 
  • Add the correct lightbulbs to any overhead lights included with your garage door opener. Be sure to use a bulb that can withstand vibrations.
  • To install any electric eye safety systems, you will need to run wires down the side of the door. Make sure the eyes are at least six inches from the garage floor. 
  • Place and program the opener keypad or button on the garage wall. Make sure it is at least 5 feet from the floor, out of reach of small children. Call an electrician if the keypad must be wired into the home. 
  • Program any exterior buttons or the garage door opener remote. 
  • Connect Wi-Fi-enabled openers to your home system. 

Make sure to follow all manufacturer's instructions when it comes to installing security and safety features. 

Step 8. Test the new garage door opener

Now it’s time to test the garage door opener. But before you plug in the motor, test the door balance. Simply close the door and pull the manual release rope. Then manually lift the door halfway. The door shouldn’t move. If it does, double-check the torsion spring. If it doesn’t seem broken, call a professional to have it adjusted. Do not attempt to adjust it yourself because that can be dangerous.

Plug in the motor and press the remote control button to open your garage door. If installed correctly, it will open and close smoothly. If it doesn’t, double-check that you have installed each part correctly, the power is on, and the motor is plugged in. Try troubleshooting the door remote or purchase a replacement remote. If the door still doesn’t open, call a professional.


Garage door openers are covered by the Cinch Built-in Systems plan

If you need a professional to help replace your garage door opener, look no further than Cinch Home Services. The Cinch Built-in Systems plan covers garage door openers, so you won’t have to worry about a DIY project. With a 180-day workmanship guarantee on covered repairs, see how a Cinch home warranty can help you. Get a quote today.


When your garage door opener breaks, handy DIY homeowners can replace it. Here are step-by-step instructions for garage door opener installation.

Your home protection is ready and waiting!