How to Repair a Broken Garage Door Spring
Use the information below at your own risk. The site owner is not liable for any injuries. We recommend hiring an experienced professional to handle garage door repairs.
Are you dealing with a broken spring or loose coils on an extension or torsion spring? Unfortunately, broken springs and loose coils are some of the most common garage door repair issues.
However, the springs break for good reason. Typically, these springs last for years, managing the heavy weight of your door every time it opens and closes. The average garage door moves several times a day, so it’s no wonder the springs eventually break.
This tutorial explains how to spot garage door spring issues and manage repairs. The repair process is best done by professional garage door technicians because of safety issues. Small mistakes can cause property damage, injury, or worse, so it’s always advisable to speak with a local garage door company whenever you need a spring replacement.
That said, knowing what to look for and how to identify concerns with your torsion and extension springs can save you some heartache by getting repairs before they snap and render your garage door useless.
Here are some tips on how to repair a broken garage door spring.
Tips for Identifying Garage Door Spring Problems
The most obvious sign you need garage door spring replacement is that your garage door won’t budge.
Remember, these springs are strong industrial springs designed to hold the weight of your door as it opens and closes. If a spring breaks or loses all its tension, your door can stop moving completely.
However, if you’re lucky, you don’t need to wait for a total breakdown before fixing your springs. Here are some other signs you need replacement.
- Excess Rust – Rust is a significant issue with springs. Old springs with a lot of rust of them lose flexibility and strength. Climate and humidity affect how much rust develops on your springs. In addition, leaving your garage door open or failing to install a good weather strip at the bottom of the door can lead to rust growth.
- Loose Coils – Sometimes, torsion or extension springs snap abruptly. Usually, though, they give you plenty of warning if you know what to look for. We always tell people to inspect their springs about every six months to look for loose coils. If a spring isn’t tightly wound, it’s not as strong, and thereby it’s easier for them to break.
- Noisy Garage Doors – Does your garage door make a lot of noise when it moves? Does it open or close with halting, jerking motions? Both can be a sign of garage door spring problems. Stiff springs that are old or rusted won’t move as smoothly as new springs that are in good condition.
The Dangers of Broken Garage Door Springs
Every year, a good number of American homeowners are crushed under the weight of their garage doors. Any accident is tragic, and fatal ones are more so.
Garage door springs hold hundreds of pounds to make your garage door lighter. The spring and cable system is what makes it possible for you to manually lift and lower your door if you lose power or your opener stops working.
Without springs, however, all that assistance is gone. The dangers involved in fixing garage door springs are some of the main reasons why replacement and installation are best left to the professionals.
Torsion Springs Vs. Extension Springs
Typically, garage doors work with two types of springs:
- Torsion Springs
- Extension Springs
Torsion springs twist to hold the door’s weight, and extension springs compress and expand to make the door move smoothly up and down.
Usually, you’ll find the torsion springs around a bar on top of the door inside your garage. On the other hand, the extension springs are located on both sides of the tracks, where your rollers move up and down as the door opens.
Some older garage doors will have their extension cords around the door, but most modern garage door styles have them near the tracks on the sides.
Repair Vs. Replacement
In almost every instance, garage door companies will recommend spring replacement. The fact is garage door springs, like any other spring, are very hard to repair. In some rare instances, you can lubricate the springs or get rid of some rust to breathe new life into them. Basic maintenance may help eliminate annoying noises, etc.
However, there’s no going back when a large spring loses its coils. Loose coils make a spring lose all its strength, which puts too much strain on the rest of your garage door mechanics.
How Garage Door Companies Replace Springs
Whether you notice loose coils and want to get ahead of the replacement, or your door isn’t moving and need help fast, knowing some essential facts will help speed up the repair. Here are some basics of how an expert garage door technician handles spring replacement.
Knowing the Spring Type
Before the company even sends you to your house, they’ll likely ask you several questions about your garage. This will help them arrive with the parts they need to fix everything in one trip. The model of the garage door and the types of springs make all the difference. Here are some of the various garage door springs technicians repair:
- Open-looped Springs – These extension springs are easy to swap because they don’t require disassembling the pulley system. They depend on open wires at the end of the spring that attach to pulleys. Open-looped springs are typically weaker than other types of springs, so they generally break more often.
- Double-looped Springs – From the name, you can probably guess that double-looped springs are stronger than open-looped. At the end of the spring, two coils connect to the eyebolt and pulley. They’re easier to install, and you’ll find them on heavier residential garage doors.
- Early-set Torsion Springs – These are some of the most common torsion springs in homes. They’re found in the middle of the shaft to help lift wider doors and keep them balanced. Usually, repairing these springs requires a special drill that loosens the fittings before a new one can go in.
- Standard Torsion Springs – Standard garage doors use one or two standard torsion springs. Two is typically safer, so most companies will recommend two over one.
The weight load of the spring also matters a great deal. Manufacturers use a color-coded system to help technicians and homeowners understand the springs needed for a specific door. Even though two springs may look the same, they may not be capable of carrying the same load.
Typically, technicians follow the color codes as a guide for which springs should go in for replacement.
Tools Required for Garage Door Spring Repair
Not every spring replacement requires specialized tools. Heavy-duty springs occasionally have proprietary bolts or odd configurations that need unique equipment. However, here are the basic tools for any garage door spring repair.
- Set of socket wrenches
- Drill with Philips attachment
- Locking pliers
- The new spring
Steps for a Successful Repair
Step 1 – Removing the Old Spring
The first thing your technician will do is disconnect the old or broken spring. The garage door should be open to relieve any tension in the springs. Never attempt to disconnect a garage door spring when the door is down, or the spring is bearing any weight.
If necessary, the technician will place a support under the garage door as a safety measure or to keep the door up when removing the spring.
Step 2 – Take Off the Garage Door Opener
Disconnecting the garage door opener is a must. Skilled technicians usually use a piece of tape or some other type of market to note the exact position the opener was in when it was attached.
Step 3 – Disconnect the Spring
Unscrew or remove the spring from the bracket. There is also usually a cable threaded into the spring to keep it locked in place. That can be removed before putting in the new spring.
Step 4 – Install the New Spring
First, thread the safety string into the new spring and set it in place. Then, reattached it to the pulley to the track bracket and secure all attachments. Reconnect the opener before testing the new spring. The new springs should help the garage door move smoothly up and down the tracks.
Consider Replacing All Garage Door Springs
It’s unlikely that you or any other homeowner will simultaneously have more than one spring snap.
Changing garage door springs is like changing a car’s tires. While you can get away with changing at one time, you’re always going to worry about when the others will stop working or snap.
When you change them at once, you have a better idea about how long they’ll last for peace of mind.