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4 things to keep in mind before you replace your garage door motor



Imagine getting ready in the morning, preparing to leave the house right on time only to find out that your garage door won’t open. A working garage door motor is a modern convenience many people take for granted until it stops working. Then it becomes a task having to open and close it manually. A working garage door motor is truly a must-have in a modern home. 

Luckily, if your garage door motor fails you, there is a solution. Handy homeowners and DIYers can take matters into their own hands and replace the garage door motor. Before you start, here are four important things to remember. 


How long do garage door motors typically last?

There are a lot of factors that go into determining how long a garage door motor typically lasts. On average, a garage door motor will last between 10 to 15 years. However, that time span will vary depending on the motor type, the garage door’s size and weight, and how often you use it. It’s all about the amount of strain you put on the motor.

The average garage door motor will open and close about 10,000 times before the motor needs replacing. So, if you don’t use your garage door often, it will take longer to reach that number. 

If you have a heavy garage door or use a motor with lower horsepower, you add strain to the motor, which can cause it to fail sooner. Using a ½ horsepower motor for a double garage door or a ¾ horsepower motor for a heavy or accented door is advisable.

The type of motor will also help determine its durability. There are four different types to choose from:

  • Chain drive. Generally the least expensive option; however, it is also the loudest and the least durable of the four types. The chain creates a lot of metal-on-metal friction, causing parts to wear down faster. 
  • Belt drive. Slightly more expensive, a belt drive garage door opener is a lot quieter. Thanks to the rubber belt system, this motor creates less friction, making it more durable. It also comes with a battery backup and can connect to your home Wi-Fi. However, the rubber belt could deteriorate faster depending on the climate.
  • Screw drive. One of the more expensive options, the screw-drive motor uses a rotating screw rod to lift the garage door. This is an extremely quiet motor. However, it requires twice-yearly lubrication and can be sensitive to temperature fluctuations.
  • Direct drive. The most expensive and quietest option, the direct-drive motor is nearly maintenance-free because it only uses a motor to open and close the door. Many of these motors also offer automatic reverse as well. 


4 things to keep in mind before replacing your garage door motor

Replacing and repairing a garage door motor can be a DIY project for a handy homeowner. However, it involves moving heavy pieces, working in high places, and replacing electronic parts — including safety sensors and control panels. If you are uncomfortable with any of these factors, call a repair technician.

If you want to make your garage door repairs yourself, here are a few things to keep in mind before you begin the project.

The difficulty of replacing a garage door motor yourself

Replacing a garage door motor is a moderately difficult home improvement project. Because of the heavy parts and heights involved, have an assistant present when replacing parts. This is especially important when installing the new garage door motor and track system. 

Replacing a garage door motor can also cause damage to property or personal injury if not correctly installed. There are many pieces holding heavy parts in place, including the door itself, such as the garage door spring. If any parts look damaged, broken or unsafe, make sure to replace them. Carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions on how to replace a garage door opener or call a professional. 

Gather necessary tools

Before your garage door opener installation, make sure you have the proper tools for the job. Choose the type of garage door opener motor you want to install and read the installation or manufacturer’s manual. Gather any tools listed. 

Typically, a garage door replacement project will require the following tools:

  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Drill
  • Open-ended wrench
  • Ladder
  • Tape measure 

Can you reuse old rails and mounting hardware?

When replacing a garage door motor, it might seem frugal to simply use the old hardware, such as rails, door controls and remote devices. While your new motor might fit within the old hardware, it is advisable to use replacement parts. Reusing old parts won’t save time when installation problems come up.

New garage door motors have changed in design over the years. Old garage door openers used a lot of metal-on-metal parts, making them loud and less durable. Newer models have upgraded, and many use nylon-to-metal parts, making them quieter and more durable. What’s more, if you use a combination of old and new parts, it will be harder to troubleshoot the problem if something fails. 

When installing a new garage door opener, follow the installation instructions step by step. This includes using new parts and pieces.

You may need to reprogram remotes and keypads

When replacing a garage door motor, you might have to reprogram your garage door remotes and keypads. This process is easy and helpful to keep in mind if you ever need to change your keypad passcode for home security or replace a garage door remote.

How to reprogram a garage door keypad:

  • Using a ladder, locate the “learn” button on your garage door motor unit. 
  • Press the “learn” button, make sure the light turns on, and go to the keypad. You might want to use an assistant for this step because you only have 30 seconds before the light goes off. 
  • Enter your new four-digit pin into the keypad.
  • Press enter. The keypad should flash or beep, indicating it accepted the new code.
  • Test the new code. If the keypad does not open the garage door using the new code, try this step again or see the owner’s manual for further troubleshooting.

How to reprogram a garage door opener remote control:

  • Make sure your garage door remote is compatible with your garage door motor. Check your remote manufacturer’s guide or search online for compatibility. 
  • Using a ladder, locate the “learn” button on your garage door motor. 
  • Press the “learn” button and make sure the light turns on.
  • While the light is on, press the “open” button on the remote. 
  • After the “learn” light has gone off, wait about 30 seconds before trying the remote. If it does not open the door, try these steps again or see the manual for further troubleshooting. 


How much does it cost to replace a garage motor?

If you feel uncomfortable replacing your garage door motor, call a professional for assistance. The cost to replace a garage door opener will vary depending on the brand, model, power and type of garage door you want. 

Average cost by type:

  • Chain-drive motor: $275 to $600
  • Belt-drive motor: $275 to $725
  • Screw-drive motor: $350 to $650
  • Direct-drive motor: $400 to $800

Average cost by brand:

  • Chamberlain: $128 to $268
  • Craftsman: $99 to $248
  • Ryobi: $198 to $347
  • Liftmaster: $300 to $525
  • Genie: $128 to $373

The price of the motor isn’t the majority of the garage door installation costs. Labor is an important price factor. The average labor costs range between $127 to $199, and this project takes about two hours to complete. 

So, if you purchased a Genie garage door opener and paid the lowest labor costs, this project would cost around $255.


Garage door opener repairs are covered under a Cinch warranty

When your garage door opener starts acting up, look no further than Cinch Home Services. The Built-in Systems plan covers garage door openers, so you don’t have to worry about DIY repairs. With a 180-day workmanship guarantee on covered repairs, see how a Cinch home warranty can help you. Get an instant quote today.


Before you start a garage door opener installation home-repair project, keep these four things in mind.