January 29, 2015

Appliance repair DIY: what to know before you begin

By Sears PartsDirect staff
Appliance repair DIY: what to know before you begin.
Appliance repair DIY: what to know before you begin.

Repairing a broken appliance yourself can be an easy way to save some money, but if done incorrectly, mistakes could end up costing more than having a professional service technician repair it. Here are a few things to keep in mind before staring a DIY appliance repair project.

Understand how your appliance works

Knowing how your appliance works helps you determine the exact problem. The better you understand how your appliance works, the more confident you can be in solving the issue.

Do your research

Follow the troubleshooting tips in the owner’s manual and use a search engine to research the symptoms. Once you’ve made a diagnosis, learn as much as you can about how to do the repair by reading repair guides and watching DIY videos for your product. Don’t assume that you can figure it out as you go—what looks like a simple twist-off part might instead require specific steps in a specific order to remove it.

Make sure you’re up to the task

Some repairs require a lot of labor as well as a time commitment. Before you begin the repair, make sure you are physically able to do the repair and can set aside the amount of time needed to complete the job. You don't want to haul your clothes to a Laundromat for two weeks because your washer is in pieces on the basement floor. Also, make sure you have someone available to help if a helper is needed.

Use the proper equipment

Gather the tools you need for the repair before beginning; nothing can delay a repair like making several trips to the hardware store to get the right screwdriver or wrench. And make sure you’re using the correct replacement part; don't try to make a part work just because it looks similar and costs less. Order replacement parts based on the appliance’s exact model number.

Follow safety precautions

Don't ignore safety warnings and tips; they are there for a reason. Forgetting to wear safety glasses or work gloves could lead to painful injuries and costly medical expenses. And always remember to unplug your appliance before beginning any repair.

Know when to call in a pro

Sometimes you have no choice but to call in a professional. It's not a failure on your part. Some repairs require special tools, equipment and a licensed technician. A qualified technician should do repairs involving the sealed system in a refrigerator and on any high-voltage appliance such as a microwave.

Symptoms common to all garage door openers

Choose a symptom to see related garage door opener repairs.

Main causes: garage door locked, damaged garage door tracks, up-force setting needs adjustment, RPM sensor failure, bad drive motor
Things to do: check garage door travel, tighten brackets and fasteners, test safety sensors, check travel limits and force limits
Main causes: radio interference, weak remote batteries, sunlight interference with safety sensor beams, safety sensors need adjustment
Main causes: loose fasteners, broken brackets, need preventive maintenance, worn drive gears, loose or worn belt, loose chain
Main causes: neighbor's remote programmed at the same time as yours, faulty wall control wiring, bad wall control unit
Main causes: faulty logic control board, bad RPM sensor, broken gears in the drive system, bad drive motor
Main causes: garage door opener misaligned, travel limits need adjustment, bad travel limit switches, faulty logic control board
Main causes: safety sensor beams blocked, safety sensors not aligned, downforce setting needs adjustment, damaged garage door tracks

Repair guides common to all garage door openers

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your garage door opener.

How to replace a garage door opener safety sensor

If your remotes don’t work and the lights on the motor unit blink when you press a remote, the safety sensors may have failed. This guide will help you replace them.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
How to replace a chain-drive garage door opener gear and sprocket assembly

Learn how to replace the gear and sprocket assembly on your garage door opener if the drive motor runs but the door won't move.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 60 minutes or less
How to replace a chain-drive garage door opener drive and worm gears

If your garage door won’t move, the drive and worm gears could be broken. This guide will help you replace the gears.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 60 minutes or less

Articles and videos common to all garage door openers

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your garage door opener.

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