Here are a couple tips that might solve your problem, and avoid a service call charge. Yes, this does not make me any money, but I would rather help out on a simple thing like a sensor out of alignment, than charge a full service for 10 seconds of work. Besides, you'll remember me later when you really need help... Right?
1. Check the sensors. If your door does not close with the remotes, or starts to go down, and reverses, it could be a simple fix. Check the garage door opener's sensors located at the bottom of the garage door, one on each side of the opening. One sensor has a sending eye, one has a receiving eye. Typically one or both have a LED light on the face of their casing. During normal operation, the LED lights should be burning steady and bright. If one is flashing, ensure that nothing is obstructing the sensor's eyes (e.g. trash can, broom handle, etc.) If so, remove the object. If not, adjust one or both of the sensors by loosening the wingnut and moving the sensor Up-Down-In-Out until both eyes are pointing directly towards each other. Now, the LED lights should burn steadily and bright.
Also, many units (such as Liftmaster and Linear) will click and the light on the opener will blink in succession when the problem is with the sensors. If you can hold the wall button down, and the door will close, this is almost certain that your sensors are out of alignment, or are disconnected
2. Force Adjustment If your door goes part way down, and reverses (and you have checked your sensors), or goes part way up and stops, it could be a simple turn of the force adjustment screw. First, if the door does not want to go down, you will want to refer to step one above. Second, if the door does not want to go UP, the take a look at your springs (above the door, attached to the header - see below). If there is ANY seperation in your spring, then you need to call me. If there is NO seperation in the spring, and you can disconnect the opener from the door (pull the red rope - see below) and open and close it by hand, then your problem could be the force adjustment.
If you go to the opener motor head, and generally where the wires attach, there are two adjustment screws. Usually, it will say "force adjustment" next to these screws. You DO NOT want to turn the "travel adjustment" screw, which is many times directly on the side of the opener. Since there are many brands, I cannot specifically indicate all of the different models. I have an example of the most common type below. Locate the force adjustment screws, and turn the appropriate screw clockwise, about one number. That should take care of the problem. if not, try it again. If this does not solve it, give me a call.
These two blue adjustments, directly under the wires,
are the force adjustments.
3. Opener release. A quick mention, and picture, of the release of the garage door from the opener. It can be necessary to release the door for different reasons, such as power outage, or to check the operation of the door. Below is an example of a Liftmaster carriage release. This is the type from about 1995 (or so) and newer. You can actually pull down and AWAY from the door to release it. The older models require you to pull down, and move the door while pulling the rope (we're all glad they changed that!). Note that different models have differant ways that the release works, but they all use the red rope that hangs down from the trolley.
Pull the red release rope down, and then pull
===> this direction to keep the door released.
To reconnect the door, pull back towards the door
<=== and then press the wall button. The door will
4. Broken Spring. If your door will not open, or opens a foot or so and stops, and you have released the door from the opener, and cannot lift it, it may have a broken spring (see below). In this case, you need to call the Garage Door Guy to come out and replace your springs. I recommend that you do not run your opener when your door has a broken spring. One tip: if you need to get out of your garage NOW, you can hit the button to run the opener, and as your door goes up, lift up on it to help it up. Most of the time you can get the door up so you can get your car out. Go ahead and hit the button again to close the door, and do not operate until the spring is replaced. (Note: if you only have one spring on your door, you will NOT be able to use this tip - so do not try to get the door up.)
5. Worn Or Broken Gear. If you can hear your motor running, but it is not pulling the chain (for chain drive openers), it could be that you have a broken or worn gear, or the bearing has worn. In this case, the gear can be replaced, or depending on the age of the opener (if it is 10-12 years old or older), you might consider replacing the entire unit. This is not absolutely necessary, but is based on the condition of the opener, and whether you want to spend new money on an old opener, that could cost you more, or replace it with one that will last longer this time around. I can honestly help you evaluate you options, and if it looks like you may have many good years left on you opener.
More tips will be added as time permits (and as images are available!).....