A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Broken Garage Door Springs

Garage door springs are often overlooked until they become a visible or audible problem. However, proper maintenance and replacement are essential to their longevity. This guide provides information about preventative maintenance, repair, signs of wear and tear, typical life spans of door springs, and more.

Types of Garage Door Springs
Two types of garage door springs exist. Extension springs are commonly used in residential garages, while torsion springs are found in heavier-duty garage doors or commercial builds.

Extension Spring
Extension springs extend and stretch to provide the movement of the garage door. Generally, garage doors have two extension springs – one on each side of the gate parallel to the track. When the door is closed, they extend; when the door is open, they retract, utilizing pulleys and cables to create movement. Different cables within the extension spring style are available: double-looped and clipped ends. The double-looped extension spring is more robust but harder to replace, while the clipped-ends style excels in durability and is a smarter choice for heavier garage doors.

Torsion Spring
The size and weight of your garage door determine how many torsion springs are necessary to open and close the door. There are generally one or two for average garage doors, but there can be as many as four for heavier-duty ones. Torsion springs utilize torque to open and close the garage door by winding around the shaft as the door lifts and gains tension as it approaches. Steel rolling door options are found in commercial builds and used on rolling doors while having the springs encased in the torsion shaft makes the torque master the safest option for the torsion spring system.

How to Know If Your Garage Door Has a Broken Spring?
The garage door will start functioning strangely if it has a broken spring. It may have trouble opening and closing correctly, and you may see springs swaying if disconnected. Other signs include the garage door bending outward when you raise the door without functioning springs, the door closing faster than expected and not moving as smoothly, and nothing happening if you try to open the door with the emergency rope.

Why Do Garage Door Springs Break?
Garage door springs have an engineered set of cycles, and the main reason they break is due to wear and tear. The springs have a rating of about 10,000 cycles, which may seem like a lot, but it adds up quickly when considering how often you use the garage door each year. Rust and improper maintenance are other reasons for spring failure. Rust increases the friction the coils cause while expanding and retracting during cycles. At the same time, proper maintenance, including lubrication and seasonal balance checks, can help prolong the lifespan of the springs and give you insight into when they start failing.

Repairing Broken Garage Door Springs: Tips and Hazards
If your garage door springs need repair, it’s essential to take caution. Even though you can buy parts online or from hardware stores, fixing broken garage door springs can be dangerous. It’s best to seek professional help to replace them.

Extension Springs Replacement
You may have two types of springs in your garage door, each with different hazards when replacing them independently. Although extension springs may be easier to replace, there are still potential dangers. The garage door could fall on you or someone else, or you could cut yourself on the rusted metal of the springs.
Buying the right size according to your garage door’s weight is crucial when purchasing extension springs. If you use a spring bigger than you need, your garage door may fly up quickly when you open it, and closing can be challenging. This issue can cause additional damage to your springs, requiring further repairs. Buying extension springs through a certified garage dealer is recommended rather than making the purchase yourself. That way, you know you have the correct-sized spring adequately suited to the weight of your door.

Torsion Springs
The tension that comes with torsion springs also comes with many potential hazards when attempting to replace them alone. Because the metal has so much tension, it poses a severe risk of metal flying out from a part if something snaps or breaks during the repair. Along with potential flying metal, you can get cuts from rusted metal, or the garage door could fall on someone.

Professional Replacement Is the Best
To circumvent potential hazards to yourself or others, you need to get professionals to repair or replace your garage door springs. Attempting to do any repairs or replacements on your own poses a risk of serious injury.

Is It Safe To Open the Garage Door With a Broken Spring?
It’s unsafe to open the garage door, even with an opener, if you have a broken spring. The door panels could crumble, you could strip the gears in the opener attached to the garage, the opener’s motor could burn out, the rails may bend, and parts of the opener carriage could break off as the engine works harder to open the door. There have been instances of the opener ripping itself from the ceiling, causing even more damage and other potential hazards.
If a single spring is still functional, you can open your garage door, but it’s not recommended to do this frequently. The door will be challenging to open, and the risk of harm still exists. You can also use your garage opener to assist in opening the door safely if someone is trying to back their car out of the garage. Practice caution when opening your garage door to prevent damage or injury, even if one of your springs is still intact.

Contact a Professional
If you need to get into the garage with a broken spring, you can have someone help you lift the door; make sure you use proper precautions for your back and don’t let the door fall on your fingers or feet, and disengage the door by pulling the rope hanging from the J-arm until the mechanism comes free. Remember that before your springs broke, you had the help of both the opener motor and the springs to open the garage door, so be cautious when lifting the heavy door.
Contact Precision Overhead Garage Door Service for any garage door needs, including door openers, repairs, preventative maintenance, and more. They will help you with your garage door springs, whether you have a commercial garage door or a residential one needing springs replaced.