When the opener system on your commercial garage door breaks, you may be undecided as to whether to repair or replace it. What to do? Well, it depends.

Sometimes repairs are easily accomplished and are a matter of simply replacing a few parts and the system is as good as new. But when there’s a major system failure, you’re usually better off going for a new opener system. Also, depending on how old your system is, you may just be better off replacing everything at once while the garage door technician is present. The challenge comes in distinguishing a simple repair from a breakdown due to catastrophic equipment failure, or prolonged and excessive wear on the overall system.

Automated commercial garage door systems are designed for reliability, and generally last a long time. But everything has an expiration date, and these systems are no exception. When things go wrong, it can be from a variety of causes – wear and tear, power surge, physical damage, moisture, motor failure, blocked photocell safety device or damaged/defective reversing bottom edge. Sometimes, you can get away with adjustments to safety devices and travel limit and the system will be back up and running.

But replacing a motor on a system with lots of wear and tear may not be the best plan. The cost of the labor and the motor may be almost as much as a new unit. Plus, with a new unit, you will get a manufacturer warranty; with a replacement, only the affected part would have a warranty.

Another factor that might affect your decision is discovering it’s the garage door causing the problem, rather than the automation system. Maybe the door is worn and damaged; if it can be repaired, fine, but it might also need to be replaced. It might be that with a door replacement, the automation system works just fine.

If you have a malfunctioning automated door system, it’s recommended you secure the door and tag it out of service. Continuing to operate a malfunctioning door may damage it more and can be dangerous.

And one more thing to ponder: Whether your automated access system is old or new, it’s wise to have preventative maintenance inspections performed regularly on your rolling, sectional and high-speed doors. An inspection helps prevent down time as well as injuries and damages to property and equipment. Find minor malfunctions and worn parts before they turn into big breakdowns. Plan the maintenance according to the amount of usage your system receives.