Just like garage doors, garage door openers can last for 10–15 years when properly maintained. But, just like with anything used on a regular basis, garage door openers and the remotes that go with them can get worn down or damaged. The remote is probably one of the most important aspects of your garage to you since it allows you to get your vehicle in and out on a regular basis.

When that remote stops working or decides not to function properly half the time, you could find yourself stuck in the garage instead of on your way to work or school. So, how do you know when it’s time to replace the remote with your opener?

How do garage door openers work?

First, let’s talk about how your garage door opener works so you know what to watch out for when it stops operating correctly. While there are different types of garage door openers, they all operate the same way. You probably know that one click on the remote of your garage door opener sends everything into motion. This process is the same whether you have a remote you keep in your car or you use a WiFi-powered opener controlled through your phone.

When the motor of the opener receives the signal from the remote, it makes the springs start counterbalancing the weight of the door as it lifts off the ground. This helps keep the door stable as it opens. Cables also support the springs when opening and closing the garage door. Then, rollers allow the door to glide easily and smoothly along the tracks.

When should you replace your remote?

When you click the button on your remote and it doesn’t open or close the door, that is a definite sign that something isn’t right. Before you buy a brand-new remote, use this troubleshooting checklist to make sure the problem isn’t with the opening system. If your remote is battery-powered, the simplest first step is to replace the old batteries with new ones. If that doesn’t work, then inspect the rest of the system.

  1. Visually inspect to see if you can find any problems like broken, damaged, or rusted parts (springs, cables, etc.)
  2. Clear the garage door tracks of any dirt or debris blocking the way. Your operator has a built-in safety feature that prevents the door from moving if there are obstacles in its path.
  3. Check the nuts, bolts, screws, and other hardware to make sure everything is tightened. Replace any that seem worn or rusted.
  4. Inspect the springs, rollers, and cables, but if any seem to be damaged, do not fix these yourself. These parts are responsible for holding the weight of your garage door, and trying to replace them yourself can result in property damage or bodily harm.
  5. Make sure the photo eye sensors are clean and aligned.

If everything on this checklist seems operational, it could be time to invest in a new remote.

What kind of garage door remote should I use?

Replacing Your Remote

When it’s time to replace your garage door remote, first decide what kind you want. The most common is the visor clip remote, which slides nicely onto the sun visor in your car. The range of this type of remote is about 100 feet, so you can push the button when you get close to your house without needing to come to a complete stop while waiting for the door to open. A remote that attaches to your keychain can minimize the chance that you’ll lose it (unless you misplace your keys). This is a good alternative if you don’t want to leave the remote in your vehicle. Remote transmitters, otherwise known as bar-type remotes, are similar to television remotes. They are pretty simple and usually only have a couple of buttons.

Using a Smartphone App

Newer garage door opener models allow you to use your smartphone to operate your garage, regardless of where you are. This is perfect if you tend to forget whether you closed your garage after you arrive at work. It’s also useful in an emergency, like if your kids get locked out of the house while you’re far from home. The important thing is to make sure that your new remote is compatible with your garage door system. Contacting a professional can be the fastest way to make sure you’re getting what you need.

Maybe it’s time to replace your garage door opener.

Of course, you could replace your remote and still have problems with your garage door opener. It could be time to replace the entire system in favor of something new. For example, it is smart to replace the opener if your garage door opens extremely loudly or the system doesn’t provide you with the security you want.

Advances in technology have created a wealth of options for you to choose from. If you need help replacing your garage door remote or opening system, the experts at WD Door can help. Subscribe to our blog for more advice on your residential or commercial garage door.