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Quick Decision Guide to Emergency Garage Door Opener Repairs

Newly installed LiftMaster garage door openerYour garage door opener is on the fritz. If you don’t act fast, it could throw a wrench into every plan that requires you to take the car AKA 90% of your plans. Chances are, you’re more than a little stressed about it.

We deal with malfunctioning garage door openers every day. In fact, Balanced Garage Doors specializes in emergency situations like this.

That’s why we’ve compiled this guide on what to do, what to ask, and what factors to consider when making your repair and replacement decisions.

How To Choose a Garage Door Repair Company

cartoon of person leaning out of driver's side of a white car, aiming garage door opener at their closed garage door.DIY garage door repairs almost always result in higher costs and lost time versus hiring a professional to make your repair. So your best bet is to contact an expert for garage door repair.

We recommend doing some research before calling or committing to a particular company. Some things to look for include:

  • Positive reviews: Most garage door companies have profiles on Google, Angi, Home Advisor, and Yelp. Look for companies with plenty of recent positive reviews. Suppose your first and only response to your emergency repair is to call the number on your aged and weathered garage door sticker. In that case, you might sell yourself short on price, product quality, warranties, and new features engineered into the newer opener models that aren’t widely carried by every service provider. 
  • Location: Many customers prefer to support local businesses when possible. However, choosing a garage door service company based on the proximity of a Google map marker doesn’t guarantee you’ll find all your local options. Some of the well-established and best local garage door companies don’t have map markers. The quality of a company’s reviews, along with their business profile, is the most important information you can find online. For more detail, you’ll need to call the company. Referrals are good too, but may not be widely available when you need one.

Questions To Ask a Garage Door Repair Company

It’s in your best interest to call a few garage door service companies before making your decision. That way, you can compare specifics like scheduling, prices, and warranties. Here are some questions we recommend you ask when speaking with potential service providers:

Smartphone on a white table, showing a phone call screen, with call to Balanced Garage Doors.

  • Do you offer free estimates to assess my garage door repair? Service fees used to be the norm in the garage door repair business. Not anymore. If the repair cost or recommended options aren’t to your liking, you don’t want to be obligated to pay a service fee that can range from $65 to $95.
  • Do you stock parts for my opener brand? If you know your garage door opener brand, check if the service provider stocks relevant parts on their service trucks. Otherwise, the only option a service provider can offer you is a replacement.
  • Which opener brands do you sell? If you’re in the market for a new opener, find out which brands they supply. It’s also good to ask which opener model is their best seller and why. In most cases, garage door companies sell a selection of LiftMaster models plus one or two other brands.
  • Are you offering any specials? Ask if they have any current specials for a chain drive or belt drive opener or the particular model you’re interested in. Ask if programming an opener is included in their installation fee.
  • What type of warranties do you offer? Confirm the service provider offers an unconditional workmanship warranty of at least 90 days.

Preparing basic questions like these will allow you to take control of the conversation. Ideally, you’ll find a company that ticks these boxes and is available on your emergency timeline. Once you’ve made your decision, go ahead and schedule an appointment.

What To Do Before Your Garage Door Is Inspected

If you’re in the Atlanta or North Georgia area, we’ve tailored these instructions to Balanced Garage Doors customers. But these steps are also applicable to anyone, anywhere.

While you’re waiting on your technician to arrive, we recommend you:

  • Move your car: If possible, you should park your car outside the garage, so your technician has plenty of room to inspect your opener.
  • Assess your budget: Your technician will identify possible solutions, each with a different price. The average garage door opener repair ranges from $125 to $250. If your opener isn’t repairable and needs to be replaced, new opener options start around $300. So, even for the least expensive replacement, you’re looking at considerably more dollars to replace versus repair. But, the marginal cost depends on the specific repair and the model of opener you choose.
  • Identify your home Wi-Fi password: Make sure you know the password to your home Wi-Fi network and have it available when your technician arrives. Many professional installers charge an additional fee to program devices to an opener because it takes so long for the homeowner to find their home Wi-Fi password in addition to the increasing number of devices that need programming. Having your Wi-Fi password ready helps you avoid this additional charge. 

Garage Door Opener Inspection

If you choose Balanced Garage Doors, we’ll schedule a minimum two-hour window to perform an inspection, offer recommendations, and either repair or replace your opener. This practice is relatively standard among garage door service companies. Also, it’s our policy to notify customers that our service technician is en route 30 minutes before their estimated arrival time.

During the inspection, your technician will access your opener via a ladder. They will remove the exterior housing to inspect the system visually and perform various diagnostic tests.

Balanced Garage Doors 25-point inspection sheet with garage door diagram.

During the inspection, your technician will assess each of these features of your garage door and opener. 

After the inspection, they will present all the possible solutions. Notably, they should be able to tell you whether repairing your current opener is an option. This hinges on whether an opener’s parts have been discontinued. Your technician can determine this via the visual inspection.

Typically, repairs are possible if the faulty part is a safety sensor, gear, or sprocket. A repair should also be feasible if your opener is malfunctioning because of discombobulated opener settings. Repairs may not be possible if the issue lies with the circuit board on an older model since circuit boards are typically model-specific and discontinued after only a few years.

Replace or Repair? Questions To Ask Your Technician

After inspection, your technician will offer various solutions. During this discussion, we recommend you get answers to all of the following:

  • Is repair possible? If not, why not? If your technician only suggests replacement, ask for an explanation.
  • Will we need to order replacement parts? If the company needs to order repair parts, you’ll be stuck with a broken opener for a few extra days.
  • What brands and models of openers are available on your service truck? If you decide to replace your garage door opener, you’ll want to consider installing a professional-grade model versus a DIY model found in local retail stores. DIY models can wear down more easily due to the higher number of plastic parts used to manufacture them. Generally, professional brands open doors faster, have more HP, are more durable, and have better warranties. Large national companies market their private brand opener models, which aren’t as rigorously reviewed as the widely distributed professional opener brands and may limit the company’s options for future adjustments and repairs.
  • What features do new opener models offer? Not sure whether to repair or replace? Learning about the features of a new model may tip the scales toward replacement.
  • Do you offer free programming of home devices to a new opener? Don’t get surprised at the end of your garage door opener installation with a programming charge. This can be justified based on the time it takes to connect multiple devices, cars, cameras, etc. It’s best to clarify upfront that this service is part of the installation fee.
  • Do you charge separately for spring testing? Ask the technician if spring testing is included in the installation fee. Professional garage door opener installers will test your springs to ensure they’re properly sized for strength to work in equilibrium with your new garage door opener. This is an extremely important calibration to make sure a weak spring system doesn’t impart stressful wear and tear on your new opener, which would shorten its service life.
  • How long is your workmanship warranty? Never settle for anything less than a 90-day warranty, which is the industry standard. It’s value-added to try to get the longest warranty possible. At Balanced Garage Doors, we’ll service openers that we install for an entire year at no charge.

Once you’ve reached a decision, your technician should be able to make the repair or replacement either the same day or once new parts have arrived. Don’t be afraid to keep asking questions along the way — a functional garage door impacts the value of your home, so it never hurts to be more informed.

Unless your repair requires ordering special parts, your technician should be able to make same-day replacements and repairs. 

The Takeaway

We hope you’ve either completed the outlined steps and you’re now enjoying a newly functional garage door opener, or you’re empowered to get it fixed and make some informed purchasing decisions along the way.

Either way, it’s probably clear that your garage door opener is an investment in your home and the efficiency of your daily life. We encourage you to consider your options and their implications carefully.

If you’re an Atlanta or North Georgia resident still reeling from the discovery of a broken garage door opener, don’t panic. 

Call (770) 880-0376. We understand the stress of a broken garage door opener, and we’ll do everything possible to get you back to your busy schedule ASAP.

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