A Broken Garage Door Spring Is a Professional Repair Job

Repairing a Broken Garage Door Spring

If you think you hear heard a clap of thunder or even a gunshot in the garage, it is likely that you arrived on the scene to discover a snapped spring on one part of the door. “I’ll be able to swap it out for a new one,” you think, but in this case you’d be wrong.

Why? To keep things as simple as possible, the entire weight of your garage door is placed on that spring and the system it powers. This can mean that the spring is responsible for anywhere between 125 to 300 pounds of lift (that translates to 57 to 136kg). There is also the weight of the glass and framing for any windows. This means it is not really any sort of DIY venture.

Understanding Garage Door Systems

It is useful to understand the kinds of garage door openers in order to recognize why such a repair is not for you to handle on your own. There are two basic systems:

TORSION – This is over the door and housed inside a tube-like structure. Should this break, it keeps the spring suspended in the tube. With the torsion system you have two springs, and it is rare for both to snap at once. But even a single spring is never a DIY project.

EXTENSION – This style has springs loaded over the horizontal tracks, and if a spring breaks there can often be a safety cable that keeps the spring in place, stopping it from falling down on the floor of the garage.

Of course, this doesn’t accurately explain what or how the springs function. What they do is work as a counterweight to the door, reducing it to as little as eight to 10 pounds (3.5 to 4.5 kg).

This allows a homeowner to easily lift the door manually without struggling to hoist the weight. If you have a garage door designed for a two‑car space, which can be around 16 feet wide (4.9m), it can weigh much more than that single door. The tension on the system always has to accommodate the weight.

The Lifespan of a Spring

Obviously, you need the springs and most have a 10,000 cycle design (a cycle is one opening and one closing). This means they should last from five to seven years without fail. There are also double life springs meant to do as described and offer 20,000 cycles before any issues should arise.

Are you doing the math in your head right now? If so, just consider that most homeowners use two to three cycles each day. On weekends, and if there are kids in the home, you may use many more than three per day. If you use five to six cycles per day, it brings you close to 10,000 in five years.

Back to the DIY Issue

So, if the springs last for five to seven years and are designed to counteract the weight of the door, why are they so dangerous to change on your own? Why are they not a DIY venture?

That requires us to explain how a garage door opener works with a little more detail.

Both work in a similar way. The torsion style openers have the spring attached to a tube. This tube connects to a drum which is in charge of winding cables that are fixed to brackets on the bottom edge of the door. When the door is closed, you can see that the cables are very taught. The extension systems are almost identical, with everything interconnected, but without the tube for the springs.

Engaging the system (using a garage door opener) allows the springs to offset the load and for the cables to work with the drum to safely lift the door.

Wait… Won’t My Opener Open It and Keep It Open

Kind of…the openers do lift around 250 pounds (110kg) or more. Some have enough strength (thanks to their (½ or ¾ HP) motors) for more, but they also push down with that same force as the doors are lowered. This can make a single broken spring a dangerous issue.

What to Do?

Step one is to close the door safely using the garage door opener, keeping your hands and feet far from it. Then unplug the unit and contact us immediately to head out to your home and make an emergency repair. If you absolutely have to get out through the garage door, use the opener, but keep everyone in the home far from it when the door is opening and closing.

Can This Issue Be Avoided?

Yes! You can do a bit of maintenance to help avoid such a big risk. Twice annually, visually inspect the door and perform a basic lubrication procedure. This requires that you just lubricate any metal parts that contact other metal parts. The basic list includes the springs, hinges and rollers. It is a good program to do this at the beginning of the spring season and just before winter begins.

Lubrication requires the use of oil for metal applied to the springs and other areas. Wipe away excess oil with a dry cloth to help cut down on rust and reduce the amount of noise the parts make when the door is open and closed. The use of lubrication may also help to extend the life of parts such as the springs.

Can I Hire You to Do This?

Absolutely! We happily perform a seasonal 28‑point check‑up on all kinds of garage doors. We inspect the doors for any issues, make necessary repairs and also do a full lubrication of the essential parts.

Should we discover that you need a part or spring replaced, we let you know what is needed and what it will cost, and only then do we do the work. We also let you know about the status of the doors and openers to ensure you are clear about any pending repairs or upgrades.

Whether you need an inspection or annual maintenance, schedule a service call online or contact us at 1-866-573-3667 to get a free quote. If you think it’s time to replace a door, use our fun Design Centre to kick off the planning process.

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