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Steps to Take When Your Garage Door Springs Need to Be Replaced

Garage door spring snapped
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Garage Door Springs

When it comes to your home, the garage door is one of the hardest working components you likely have. Take a moment to consider just how often it needs to be lowered and raised. Many people use the garage door more than they ever touch the actual front door of their home. With all the work your garage door does, wear and tear is an inevitable part of life. The garage door has various small moving parts and after time, some of them are bound to break down. In many cases, the first to go are the garage door springs.

One of the first things to be aware of is that garage door springs can be very dangerous if and when they break down. Any time that the door is closed or opened, it stretches out or uncoils, which places a large amount of stress on the springs. If you have springs that are damaged or getting old, any little things can lead them to break. When they break, they can go flying out at a substantial force which could injure anyone nearby and damage property located nearby.

As you can probably guess, you want to avoid this at all costs. There is a single way to do that and it means understanding the signs that your springs are getting old and worn out. We’ll go over the signs that your garage door springs are going out, so you will know in advance that you may need spring repair. Speaking to a professional before the springs break so they can be repaired is far preferable to dealing with the emergency situation that may occur if they actually do break entirely.

The Basics of Garage Door Springs

What a garage door spring does is offset the weight of the door and allow it to be closed and opened easily, whether by hand or using an automatic garage door opener. The springs use high-tension steel which is durable but can only last so long due to continuous use. There are also different levels of quality when it comes to garage door springs. For instance, one spring might be described as “10,000-use” while another might be “20,000-use.” While these both sound like massive numbers, keep in mind that many people open or close the garage door upwards of four or five times a day every day. When this is put into perspective, you can see how limited the lifespan can be for these components.

Garage Door Spring Types

Before you can begin to watch for signs that your springs could be wearing out, it’s important to be aware of what type of springs the garage door uses. There are two major types and determining which is present on your garage door isn’t overly difficult. Each type works in a distinct way so knowing which you have and how they work will help you recognize when signs of wear and tear are shown.

Torsion Springs

If your garage door has torsion springs, you can typically find them mounted directly above the door. In some older homes with less space in the garage, they may also be mounted in the back of the garage. These are the most common types of springs and they used tightly wound coils of metal to produce a torque which is then used to lift the door when you require it to be opened. This means they are characterized by a turning motion that can be viewed when the door is going up or down.

Torsion springs can come in sets of one, two, three, or four. The size and weight of the door will determine the number of springs needed. Torsion springs have fewer parts and tend to be more durable. They also tend to be less dangerous upon breakage in comparison to extension springs.

There are a few different types of torsion springs for the garage door and they include:

  • Standard Torsion Springs – These springs are the most affordable and are often used on residential garage doors. You will find them mounted above the opening of the garage door and see a metal shaft running in the middle which supports the spring. A light door may have one spring, while a heavier one will likely have two.
  • Steel Torsion Springs – This rolling door spring is often used in commercial construction applications. There is a torsion barrel which supports a rolling door and inside of the torsion barrel are multiple springs to handle the weight.
  • Early Set Torsion Springs – This is another type of spring that is most often seen used for residential garage doors. With this spring, there is a torsion shaft which the spring is nested into the center of.
  • Torque Master Torsion Springs – This is a system that uses two springs and is considered the safest option. This is because the springs are located inside of the shaft instead of outside like a standard torsion spring.

Extension Springs

Extension springs are another type of spring common with residential garage doors. This sort of spring can be found mounted above the garage door track in most case. They are sometimes also found mounted vertically along the side of the garage door. The pulling force of the spring is used to pull the door upward against gravity. The springs contract and expand when the door is raised or lowered by hand or motor. In most cases, there are two of them.

These springs can be volatile if they reach the point of completely breaking. This is why safety cables are used with these springs. It’s also why it is especially important to know when an extension spring garage door is in need of repair. These springs are very common for residential use since they tend to be inexpensive. As with torsion springs, there are more than one type of extension spring on the market.

  • Clipped Ends Spring – This type of spring has clips on the end, which means there is a lesser amount of stress placed on the spring itself. This is the most durable option when it comes to an extension door spring.
  • Open Looped Spring – This spring has a loop of wire at the end to make changing them out simple. However, it does make them a bit more expensive to repair.
  • Double Looped Spring – This spring option is stronger than others because it has two coils. However, it is also a more difficult spring to replace if it requires replacement due to breakage.

Signs Torsion Springs are Going Out

The average torsion spring will offer anywhere from four to nine years of use, but the action lifespan will depend on how often you tend to be using your garage door. As far as determining whether your torsion springs may need repair, there are two options available. Each of them is fairly easy and can be done on your own without a lot of trouble.

The first option is to disengage your automatic garage door and then raise the door with your hands, manually. You should not need to exert a large amount of effort or make any large movements to do so. If it is hard to push up the door, it’s probably time to look for a garage door technician to do some repairs.

Another option is to place the door at about the mid-level position, not fully raised or fully lowered. If everything is working correctly, the door should stay in this position on its own. If it seems that the door is heavy, that may mean the springs are close to breaking. If it feels too light, this might mean the springs on your door are of the incorrect size.

Signs Extension Springs are Going Out

Many of the signs of failure with torsion springs are the same for extension springs. However, there are other signs that will indicate your springs may have already begun to fail.

The first thing you want to do is visually inspect the coils and look for any gaps. Gaps mean that the steel the springs are made from have given out, which means the springs won’t offer the tension required to move the door.

You should also look at both the left and right sides of the door to determine whether they are properly aligned. If this is the case, one of the springs may have given out. This means that side of the door is no longer able to close or be lifted. Do a check for wear and tear on the springs, too, especially at the loops and clips. If these parts break, the springs will not function correctly.

What to Do Next

You should never attempt to replace the springs on your garage door on your own. It is a dangerous task and one that should only be taken on by a professional. The springs are under a massive amount of tension and have the potential to cause property damage or bodily harm to someone who isn’t trained to replace them. This is why it is important to bring in a trusted garage door repair technician to take care of the problem on your behalf.


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