Manually opening and closing your garage door can be quite inconvenient. Luckily, you don’t have to do it yourself! With this simple guide, you can learn how to install a garage door opener. Then you’ll never have to fuss over opening or closing the garage ever again.


Preparation — Get the Garage Ready

In case your garage is relatively new, you shouldn’t have any problems. But it’s better to be safe than sorry, so make sure the mechanism of the door is well-oiled. The garage door opener doesn’t do any heavy lifting. If you have trouble opening the door, so will the door opener.


Also, make sure you have an electrical socket for the motor of the door opener. We’ll mount it onto the ceiling, so we’ll need an outlet there.


Note that if your garage door is old, you may have to replace it before you install a garage door opener. Most old single-piece doors are not compatible with garage door openers.


Choose a Garage Door Opener

When buying a garage door opener, we should always consider its durability, noise level, and maintenance. You can consult this article for in-depth reviews and product recommendations if you haven’t chosen a device yet.


Installing the Garage Door Opener

If you want to install a garage door opener, it’s best to come equipped with both tools and patience. The installation is not hard, but it will take a few hours. Let’s get started!


Take Out the Motor and Assemble the Rail

There are two main components to our new garage door opener. One is the device itself. Take it out of the box, and place it on the ground. It’s best to use a towel or a blanket underneath.


The other component is the rail. It usually comes divided into several segments that we have to put together.


The rail that has to go first has a dedicated window for the pulley, so it’s easy to recognize. Lay it down first and check that the tab is facing up. Then put the other parts of the rail together.


Now we should have one long rail. Place a small box under the front end of the track, and rest the other side on top of the garage door opener.


Slide the Trolley onto the Rail

The front part of the rail should have a small opening. Hang a screwdriver through it to use as a marker.


Next, we have to slide the trolley onto the rail. It will come to a halt where the screwdriver is.


Attach the U-Bracket at the Rear End

With the trolley on the rail, we can now add the U-bracket at the rear end. Make sure to put in the ¼ inch pin into the rail and use a nut to hold it in place. The bolt will secure the U-bracket to the rail.


Now, if you look at the garage door opener, you will see a nut and a bolt marking where the U-bracket should connect. Loosen them, place the bracket on top, and fasten the bracket onto the garage door opener. The nut and the bolt should go back in the same spots we took them from.


Add the Idler Pulley

Our next order of business is the idler pulley. It looks like a small wheel with a line of tape on top.


Remember that little window we mentioned earlier? Take the belt (or chain) and put it through that window. Pull about one foot of it to the other side of the rail.


If we remove the tape of the pulley, there should be a glob of grease in its center. If it’s empty, add some oil. Then slide the idler pulley through the small window in the rail, behind the belt, and use bolts to fasten it to the track.


Fix the Belt

Now we can go to that upward-facing tab on the front rail and bend it upwards using a screwdriver. Then, connect the belt to the trolley. The belt should have a small hook to grab onto the trolley. Notice how the tab we raised is preventing the carriage from sliding to the front.


We can now unfold the entire length of the belt. Place the belt along the rail. Then, run it through the pulley that is attached to the motor, and all the way back to the front.


Finally, pin the belt’s end to the rod provided in the box and attach this rod to the carriage. We can test the pressure with our hands. You should be able to put one finger between the belt and the rail, but not more than that. Lastly, put a cap over the rear pulley of the belt and tighten it to the motor.


Affix the Rail and the Motor to the Garage

At this point, we are ready to attach the mechanism to the garage. Follow the instructions your garage door opener came with to measure where to install the header bracket. Then, bolt the bracket according to the instructions.


Next, use a clevis pin with a ring fastener to attach the front of the rail to the bracket above the garage door.


Now we need to elevate the garage opener motor using a ladder or some boxes. You have to either install the brackets where you measure the opener would go or repurpose the brackets from your old device if you had one.


You have to put the supporting brackets into the actual wooden pillars of your garage ceiling. Otherwise, your entire construction will be unstable.


(Optional) Add an Emergency Release System

It is also good to install an emergency release to the garage door opener. We have to attach a small rope to the trolley, as well as two brackets.


With the garage door fully closed, measure the straight and curved brackets. You may need to cut the straight one if it’s too long. Then, fasten the straight bracket to the trolley and the curved one to the garage door. Secure the two arms together with bolts.


Connect the Wires to the Motor

The last step is to connect all the wires to the motor of the garage door opener, add a light bulb, and put a lid on it. And voilà! You just learned how to install a garage door opener!