repair don’t replace!


My garage door opener had given me plenty of warning that it was about to fail.  The chain would not remain tight and the door jerked and jostled when it opened and closed.  Alas, one day last week the trusty opener failed.  The Chamberlain/Sears unit was over 13 years old when it made its last lift.

I briefly looked at the opener and saw that a bearing had worn down over time and that caused the chain to become loose.  As the chain loosened and the drive bearing wore down on one side, it put undue pressure on the main drive gear causing it to fail.   I Googled a repair and priced a replacement piece, but for some bizarre reason I decided to call in a garage repair person.  I figured working with the chain would be difficult with one person and it was very greasy too.  

The repair company was very friendly over the phone.  They gave me an arrival window and told me that their van has all parts needed for repair of common openers.  As soon as I hung up the phone I had a pit in my stomach and was embarrassed that I did not try the repair myself first.

When the repairman arrived 30 minutes late I knew I was going to be in for a bad time.  He quickly looked at the unit and quoted me a price of $400 to replace it.  I told him that I called for a repair but he said they only repair new units and not old ones.  I was dumbfounded and politely told him I wasn’t going to replace the unit knowing that a simple repair was all that was needed.  He tried to charge me a $29 service fee for coming out to look which of course I didn’t pay.

As soon as he left I ordered the $20 repair kit from Amazon and patiently awaited the arrival.

I planned to do the repair on a rainy day when I would be stuck inside.

I unplugged the unit from power and opened the case.  The disassembly took about 10 minutes and reassembly took about an hour because I removed the chain completely to deal with a twist in it.  It would have been even faster if I knew what I was doing.  

Upon completion of the repair I needed to adjust the open and close limits which were clearly labeled on the side of the opener.  

I was very happy and proud to have made this repair on my own.  I learned about garage repair and saved about $400 along the way.

We live in a society that is too eager to replace than repair.  There is a growing movement that recognizes the waste in both money and resources in simply buying new every time something breaks.  Some items are flimsy and not easy to repair but we owe it to ourselves and our planet to reduce waste and keep the older machines going for as long as possible.  Just look what Sweden is doing to encourage repair over replacement.  It is great to see additional financial incentives over and above those created through repairs.

With educational videos on, websites such as, and parts availability on there is no reason not to try fixing things yourself!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s