My garage door opener stopped working. Do I need to have a whole new system installed?

Asked By: askrick on Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Print This Send This Add to My Showroom
Answer I have a Genie garage door opener that is about 12 years old. It is a screw type drive and it started to make a grinding type sound and now it stopped working. All I get when I turn it on is a humming sound. I called a garage door company and they want almost $400.00 to install a complete new system. With the economy as bad as it is, I don't have the money to pay them. Is there a less expensive way I can get this fixed? I am hoping that you can give me your free professional advice. Thank, Jack

Jack, thanks for writing and I hope I can give you the advice you need to help you with this problem. First of all I want to let you know that there a couple of things you can check first before you think about getting a new opener, however if you do need one, I will be able to give you the information you need to get one at a reasonable price.

One of the first things you want to do is see if you door will open with the direct wired button that is usually just outside or sometimes inside the door leading to the garage. Sometimes if you hold the button in, it may open or close the door a little or all the way, but this is not always the case. If you find that it works a little, and if you are getting a hum, that tells me that you are getting power to the head unit, but either not enough power or their could be something mechanically or electrically wrong.

The next thing you want to do, is unplug the head unit from the outlet and remove the screws that hold the light lens cover and the plastic cover from around the motor. Look at the back of the unit, and you will see a black cylinder shaped object with a screw adjusted clamp around it that holds it in place. You will also see for wires plugged into the end of it. This is called the capacitor. Capacitors hold an electrical charge so that is why you want to unplug the unit from the outlet.

genie opener capacitor

This would be the first thing to check because you are hearing a hum but the motor is not getting enough power to run your garage door. At least, this is our first assumption. Now, remove the capacitor by loosening the clamp and removing the wires. 

Now, you will want to locate one of these capacitors either at a local garage door parts supplier or online, and you should be able to find one for between $15.00 and $20.00. Make sure when you buy it, that they will let you take it back and give you a refund if you determine that it is not the capacitor.

The last opener I worked on had a very similar problem as what you are describing and when I called the supplier who had the part, they suggested that I bring the motor in, just in case it wasn't the capacitor, so that they could bench test it. Of course there was an $85.00 bench charge plus any parts if needed and labor to install the parts. So, I asked them what I would have to pay them if the motor was shot, and I was told still the $85.00. So, I went and bought the capacitor.

Once you reinstall the capacitor and hook the wires back up to it, plug the opener back in. If you push the garage door button and the door works again, then you are in good shape. But, if the garage door does not work and you still have the hum, then you have just ruled out the capacitor, and saved the $85.00 bench charge. 

Since you have a Genie opener, the next step would be to make a phone call their great and really helpful service department. Once you have them on the phone they will ask you to do a few things and they will want to listen to any hum or sound the opener or door makes as it tries to open. This is important because they can determine if you need a new head unit or not.

The phone number is: 1-800-849-3998 

You can also go their website by clicking on the following link: Genie

Once you have them on the phone you will get a kind and patient person, that you can understand, who will walk you through some steps to determine if you need a new head unit or if there is any other way to fix the opener. And, here is the good news if you need a new head unit. The lowest price I could get from a local dealer for a new Genie head unit, was $175.00 plus tax. Of course they preferred to come out and install the new unit with all new parts etc. for  $385.00.

Genie Opener head unit

Alright, I told you there was good news and there is. You can get a brand new head unit direct from Genie, shipped right to your door in a few days for about $85.00. Of course you will have to switch out the old unit with the new one, but it really is not that difficult to do. They will actually walk you through it over the phone after you get the new one.

Just think of all the money you can save. You don't have to pay the $85.00 bench charge, or the $175.00 to buy the new head unit, or the $385.00 to have a new system installed, and you get to take the capacitor back for a refund. You will just have to pay the $85.00 or so, depending on the model, and that even includes shipping.

I would highly recommend that you have a second person with you, someone who is handy would really help, when you make the call and swap out the units. Once you do this, your door should work better then new and your wallet will still have money left in it.

For additional help click on the following links: 

Garage Door Opener Videos

Garage Door Opener Articles

I hope this helps. Rick

Rick Maselli is Founder and Editor of and Ask Rick

User Comments

I have a genie garage door opener too, but my clicker is not a genie , it was working this way. Nomy clicker stopped working , I change the battery still not working. The main switch t open the garage works. what can I try or need to do? Pls help
Commented by jjmorrows - 4/29/2013
Sub Navigation
Level Advice
Latest Blog Topic:

Unable to open blog entry.System.Net.WebException: The remote name could not be resolved: '' at System.Net.WebClient.OpenRead(Uri address) at