A garage door spring helps you open and close your garage door. It counterbalances gravity so that your garage door opens easily and smoothly.
Without your garage door spring, your motor will strain to lift the weight of the garage door and will burn out quickly. The spring is a necessary part of the system.
Your garage door springs need to be replaced when your garage door is not opening smoothly or it is too heavy. Other signs that they need replacement are gaps in your spring, loose cables, and your spring making a popping sound. Rust, cold temperatures, and lack of maintenance can cause you to need replacement even sooner.
Your garage door springs play a vital role in the smooth operation of your garage door. They are what keep a garage door balanced and make it easy for you to open it. This article will help you get to know the role of your garage door spring and how to care for it.
Below we will talk about the types of garage door springs and where they are located to help you identify what you need to get replaced if you garage door makes a popping sound or if you are struggling to open your garage door often.
The Types Of Garage Door Springs
There are two types of springs for your garage door springs: extension springs and torsion springs. Each one has its functions and they have different costs.
Torsion springs are the most common garage door opener. They operate using torque, twisting in the shaft to assist the opening of the garage door. Torsion springs generally last longer than extension springs due to their sturdiness.
Extension springs provide an extra, assisting force when lifting your garage door. When the door is closed, they are extended, and when the door opens they contract. Extension springs are usually used in places that make torsion springs impractical, such as when there is low headroom, or in new construction.
The amount of force on these springs means that there are usually additional safety measures added, such as pullies and cables. A safety cable is typically attached, which will prevent the spring from snapping free.
Tension springs are more expensive due to their sturdiness, but are generally a more quality option. Extension springs do not last as long, and thus are lower in cost. However, whether your garage door uses extension springs or torsion springs, both are using a great deal of force and need to be taken care of.
Where Are The Garage Door Springs Located?
Depending on the size and weight of your door, you may have one or more springs installed. Multiple springs add force to assist the motor in opening the garage door.
Torsion springs are located just above the garage door opening. They rest along a shaft with drums on either end.
You can find extension springs between the tracks of your garage door, suspended on your garage ceiling. You will likely find the spring attached to a pulley, with a cable running through it attaching to the door itself.
Both springs are typically exposed to view. To check them, make sure your garage door is closed so that you can have a full view of the spring assembly.
5 Signs That It’s Time To Replace Your Garage Door Spring
These springs are a vital part of the garage door opening system. Without the springs for your garage door, your garage door will have trouble opening, if it opens at all. These springs make the difference in whether you have access to your garage or not!
Garage door motors are low-powered and designed to work with the assistance of these springs. Even if the garage motor can lift the door by itself, the repeated strain on the motor will quickly burn it out. This means that you will have a much more costly repair than if you had replaced the springs in the first place.
Don’t get stuck with an expensive repair. Here are some important signs you need to replace your garage door springs.
Your Garage Door Doesn’t Open Smoothly
As the spring begins to wear down, you may notice that the rate at which your garage door opens starts slowly at first, then picks up pace towards the end. This uneven speed means that the spring is no longer providing the force needed to assist the garage door motor.
Your Garage Door Is Heavy
If you are manually opening the door, it should be easy to lift the door – the springs are there to help you after all! They are designed to carry the weight of the door, reducing the effort it takes to lift it. If you find yourself straining to open the door or if the door gets stuck, the springs likely need replacement.
Your Garage Door Spring Pops
Popping noises are a common sign that the torsion spring is locking up. This means that the coil is not turning as freely as it should. You may also hear other noises like squeaking when troubleshooting your garage door.
Problems like this may also result in difficulty closing your garage door, an issue that is caused by your spring locking up. Regular maintenance can help, but please consult a professional. The tension on these springs can make maintenance hazardous.
You Notice A Spring Gap
If you see a small gap in your spring, it means that the spring broke and has unwound. If you have multiple springs, the garage door may still function, but it is creating a greater strain on your other springs.
You Notice Loose Cables
If there is a loose cable with your extension spring system, this needs to be addressed quickly. Loose cables can break or disconnect from your door. The result is that your garage door will not open, as the extension spring is no longer providing an assisting force, or it will strain the remaining extension springs.
What Causes A Garage Door Spring To Break?
It is a fact of life that all things break. However, it is helpful to know the reasons why this is, so you can perform proper maintenance and spot the warning signs before there is an issue. Let’s explore some of the reasons why a garage spring door can break.
There are a couple of reasons why rust on your springs is bad. Firstly, rust weakens the spring, so that it no longer can generate the same force. In addition, it can increase the friction between the coils.
Rust makes your spring work harder while weakening it. Left untreated, it will cause your spring to break.
During cold weather, your springs are under increased pressure. Cold weather can make your garage door springs stiff and brittle, especially if they are not lubricated. As the springs work, they will wear more quickly, and can potentially snap.
Cold weather can affect every part of your garage door system, making it more difficult to open. If there is an issue with your springs, check the rest of your system as well.
Lack Of Maintenance
Your garage door system needs to be inspected routinely. Lack of maintenance means a failure to inspect your springs and catch small issues before they become a problem.
Maintenance includes not only identifying potential issues but also cleaning and lubricating your springs. This extends the life of your spring by combating rust and helping the spring stand up to cold weather.
Using springs that are too small makes the assistance force provided less effective. This means the door will be heavier and force your motor to work harder.
The smaller size places stress on your springs and can make them break more quickly. And if they do not break first, your motor might.
Normal Wear and Tear
On average, a spring can handle about 10,000 cycles of use – that is, the opening and closing of the garage door. This number can be higher, but the point is that the daily use of these springs will cause them to wear down over time, even with proper care and maintenance.
What To Do If Your Garage Door Spring Needs Replacing
When you need to replace your garage door spring, first identify the type of spring you have. While it is easy to replace an extension spring yourself, you should leave the replacement of a torsion spring to a professional.
When you replace an extension spring, open the garage door so that there is no tension and disconnect the opener. Remove the spring pulley and the safety cable. Notice where the pulley is – you’ll want to hook it so that it is back in the same place when you are done.
Make sure that you are replacing the extension spring with the right kind. They are color-coded for the amount of weight they can lift. Reattach the new one to the safety cable and the pulley.
How Often Should You Replace Your Garage Door Spring?
Even though an extension spring is of lower quality, it is still expected to last at least 10,000 cycles. This means that if you open and close your garage door once every day, it will last you almost fourteen years.
In reality, however, you will open and close the garage door multiple times a day. The expected life cycle of a spring is around three to five years.
This will also depend on how many cycles your garage door spring is rated for. Proper care and maintenance of your garage door spring will also help to extend its life.
How To Check Your Spring’s Elasticity?
Over time, the spring for your garage door will stretch or become loose. As it does so, the garage door motor must work harder to lift the door. If you want to check the elasticity of your spring, there is an easy way of doing so.
Make sure the garage door is closed and have the emergency release pulled for your garage door opener. Lift the garage door to waist level, then let it go.
If it is difficult to lift, or if the door starts to fall, your spring’s elasticity is probably low. You can safely check for spring elasticity this way with both an extension spring and a torsion spring.
Is It Safe To Change Your Own Garage Door Springs?
When it comes to changing your garage door spring, always hire a professional. Doing it yourself to save some money is tempting, but you are risking your own well-being.
Safety is important when changing your garage door springs. These springs are under high tension, and making a mistake can cause serious injury.
This is especially true of torsion springs. Torsion springs are wound up tightly, which generates the force needed to lift your garage door.
If they snap, all that tension is released in a fast motion. If you do not know what you are doing, you can accidentally cause an injury to yourself or others.
Even though working with an extension spring is technically safer than with a torsion spring, you should still consider hiring a professional to do the work. You can get your fingers crushed or pinched if something slips, and there is still the risk of something snapping under tension.
A professional comes with experience, and they are trained on how to safely change your garage door spring. If you do things yourself, even if you are successful in changing out the spring, you may overlook something that can cause injury or damage.
Your garage door springs are a small but essential part of your garage door opening system. If you are having problems opening the door or notice that it is not operating smoothly, check your springs. If you notice a gap or something is loose, call a professional and get it fixed.
Your springs will last you a long time, and you can help them last even longer. Make it a point to give your springs a visual check every few months, and keep them clean and lubricated. And when it comes time to replace your springs, always consider safety first and call a professional.
Ruben has a diverse background in the home services industry, with experience running a construction company, a kitchen and bath showroom, and a moving and relocation company. This breadth of experience has provided him with a wealth of knowledge and expertise in various areas of home improvement in general and specifically in the heating and plumbing niche.