Symptom: The Trolley Carriage Moves But the Door Doesn't Open
Fix: Replace the trolley carriage
If the trolley carriage moves but the door doesn't open, the culprit is probably a broken trolley carriage. Before you pull the old one off, clamp down the chain to the rail. This will help maintain the location of the chain on the sprocket and speed up reassembly.
Once the chain is secure, separate it from both sides of the trolley. Disconnect the rail from the header bracket and move the rail off to one side. Slide off the old trolley, and slide on the new one. Reattach the chain and adjust the chain tension. Replacing the trolley on a belt drive and replacing it on a screw drive are similar procedures. A new trolley will cost $25 to $40 depending on your model.
Symptom: The Opener Makes a Grinding Noise But the Door Doesn't Move
Fix: Replace the main gear drive
If the garage door opener makes a grinding noise but the door doesn't move, your main drive gear is probably toast. The main drive gear is the plastic gear that comes in direct contact with the worm drive gear on the motor. The main drive gear is the most common component to fail on most openers.
Replacing it is a bit more complicated than the other repairs in this article but still well within the wheelhouse of the average DIYer. There are several components that need to be removed before getting at the gear. Get a detailed description of how to rebuild a garage door opener.
Once you get the gear out, you can remove it from the shaft with a punch, or you can buy a kit that comes with a new shaft. Make sure you lube it all up when you're done. The gear alone should cost you less than $20. A complete kit that comes with the shaft will cost closer to $40.
Lube the Rail
No matter what type of garage door opener you have, you should always lube the rail where it comes in contact with the trolley carriage. Use a lubricant that doesn't attract dirt. Silicone spray is a good choice. If you have a screw-drive opener, you'll need to grease several spots along the rail gear at least once or twice a year. In colder climates, use lithium grease, which won't harden when the temperature drops. Many home centers sell specifically formulated products near the openers. And don't use too much or it could drip on your car.