How to Replace a Garage Door Spring
Tips & Tricks

How to Replace a Garage Door Spring

Garage door springs may seem like a minor component in the grand scheme of things when it comes to garage doors, but they certainly matter. Without properly working springs, you will not be able to open your garage door with minimal effort, as they tend to hold most of the weight while the door is being opened.

Keep reading to learn all you need to know about replacing garage door springs.

When Should Garage Door Springs Be Replaced?

There are some obvious signs that your garage door is not working correctly. However, these signs could be a result of damage to other components of the garage door. Here are some sure signs that your garage door springs need replacing.  

What do you do if your garage door struggles to open? First, check the springs to see if one needs to be replaced. Here are more signs you may need garage door spring repair.

The Garage Door Doesn’t Open Smoothly

Ideally, a properly working garage door should be easy to open. This is because it is designed to work smoothly without requiring a lot of effort to open. In addition, it has springs above the door and on either side to ease the lifting and opening process.

The Garage Door Is Heavy

If the springs are not handling the garage door’s weight as it opens, you will have a harder time opening it than usual. This is partly because the door has a safety feature built into the garage door opener that prevents opening if all components are not working.

The sensitivity feature controls the strength of the opener to prevent any damage due to excessive weight. For example, the garage door may rise just a few inches and then go back down. The springs should bear all the weight of the door when they are functioning as they should.

The Door Produces a Loud Snapping or Breaking Sound

If you hear a loud snapping sound when opening your garage door or even when you are not near it, chances are the springs are breaking. This is because the tension in the springs may produce loud noise as it uncoils. This may end up making a loud sound as the unravelling is bound to happen violently.

There Is a Visible Spring Gap

Springs are tightly wound, and any gaps in the garage door springs will affect their performance. The standard torsion system is comprised of one or two tightly wound springs located over your garage door. When one of the spring breaks, it will leave a noticeable gap between the two springs. The gap should be noticeable, roughly one to two inches.

Here are other signs the garage door springs are broken;

  • The garage door makes strangling noises as you open it.
  • The garage door slams shut
  • The garage door cannot stay open halfway

How Often Should You Replace Torsion Springs?

Most torsion springs can last up to 10,000 cycles. This depends on how frequently the door is opened. If you open the door four times per day, the springs should last seven to nine years. However, the weight of the door also affects the springs and causes them to wear and tear. The heavier the door, the faster the springs will wear and tear.

Signs that It’s Time to Replace Garage Door Springs

You do not have to wait until you cannot open your garage door remotely to replace the springs. At this point, you may have to do thorough troubleshooting to figure out the root cause. It is best to replace the springs as soon as you see any of the signs mentioned above, especially if you have a heavy-duty garage door.

Here are some definite signs that your garage door spring should be replaced immediately;

The Garage Door Cables Are Loose

The cables are essential for your safety. If they are loose, it means the springs are broken and not functioning as they should. When the spring breaks, it unravels and causes the cables to slip out of their place.

The Garage Door Only Opens About Six Inches

 It is nearly impossible to open a door when the torsion springs are broken as they are responsible for lifting the garage door. The safety feature also prevents the door from opening when the springs are broken.

The Garage Door Is Crooked

If the torsion springs on the sides are broken, the garage door will be crooked. This is because they pull the door up. And if one is broken, that side of the door will not move, making it stay in a crooked position when it gets stuck in its tracks.

Can I Replace Garage Door Spring Myself?

Yes. Despite being very difficult, you can replace either type of garage door spring by yourself. But you would be better off hiring a professional to do the job.  You should not attempt to replace the springs unless you are a very experienced DIYer.

Is it Dangerous to Replace Garage Door Spring?

Yes. The springs are responsible for hoisting a 500-pound door. Unfortunately, this means the garage door is not adequately supported when some of its springs are not working.   

Can I Open My Garage Door with a Broken Spring?

Yes. But depending on the spring that is broken, you will have to lift it manually. Additionally, the door may not be able to stay open on its own. If the springs are broken, replacing them is better than taking the risk and using the garage door.

Should you Replace Both Garage Door Springs at the Same Time?

It depends on the number of springs mounted. If your garage door uses two springs to pull it up, replacing both is a must, even if just one spring is broken. This way, both springs have an equal amount of wear and tear and can work in tandem.

Types of Garage Door Springs

Garage door springs are classified into extension springs or torsion springs. Torsion springs are typically installed horizontally at the top of the door opening. While extension springs are located at the top of the garage door. Here are the various types of garage door springs;

Extension springs

Extension springs are generally found in the upper, horizontal tracks on each side of the garage door.  The springs extend when opening the garage door and create a counterbalance that supports the garage door. They are usually paired with a safety cable to help handle the force in case the springs break.

Extension springs are classified based on the type of ends. They can be double looped, open looped, or clipped ends.

  • Open Looped

Open looped garage door extension springs are the easiest to replace. You do not need to disassemble the pulley or open the eye bolt. However, the entire spring must be replaced when it breaks.

  • Double Looped

Double-loop end garage door springs are stronger than open loops. They have two coils at the spring’s end connected to the pulley and the eyebolt. They are difficult to replace.

  • Clipped Ends

This is the most durable type of extension spring. It also has a longer lifespan since the clips place less stress on the spring. Clip ends are often used for garage doors weighing 200 pounds and more. Unfortunately, they are the most difficult to replace.

Torsion Springs

These are the most common garage door springs and are mainly used for residential garage doors. They are placed on the metal shaft directly above the garage door opening. Once installed, aluminum drums are positioned on either end of the shaft.

The force exerted by every torsion spring in the garage door is equally distributed across the shaft before it is transferred to both drums. Therefore, the number of torsion springs to be installed on your garage door depend on the garage door size, strength, and weight.

Here are the different types of torsion springs;

  • Standard torsion spring

These types of springs are commonly found on residential garage doors. They are usually mounted above the opening of the garage. Light garage doors use one torsion spring, while the heavier ones use two.

  • Early set torsion spring

These springs are similar to the standard torsion spring. This type of torsion spring is mounted in the middle of the torsion shaft.

  • Steel rolling door torsion spring

This type of torsion spring is commonly used in commercial buildings. The springs are installed within the torsion barrel, which supports the rolling door.

  • Torque master torsion spring

This is the sturdiest all garage torsion springs. They are enclosed inside the torsion shaft. They are also held in place by a winding cone at the end of each torsion rod. They are designed to be wound up using a power drill.

How to replace a garage door spring

If you are used to fixing your car, changing garage door springs is similar to changing car springs. As long as you have the right tools, you are good to go.

Tools needed;

  • Two winding bars.
  • Replacement springs
  • Vise grips.
  • Wrenches: 9/16, 1/2, and 7/16 inches, 3/8-inch square head, or eight-point socket.
  • Clamps
  • Cordless drill
  • Hammer
  • Leather gloves
  • Locking pliers
  • Rags
  • Safety glasses
  • Socket/ratchet set
  • winding bars
  • Wrench set
  • Materials Required
  • Bottom brackets
  • Lift cables

Below are some easy to follow steps for replacing extension and torsion springs;

How to Replace extension garage door springs

Replacing extension springs is relatively safe and straightforward because you do not have to worry about a spring tension.

  • Open the garage door to remove all spring tension and clamp it in place.
  • Then disconnect the garage door opener.
  • Use a piece of tape to mark the current placement of the pulley so that it can be reinstalled at the same place.
  • Disconnect the spring from the track bracket and the spring pulley.
  • A safety cable is threaded through the spring to hold it in place.
  • Disconnect the safety cable from the bracket and remove the old spring.
  • Identify the spring replacement that you will need and purchase a new spring that matches the old spring.
  • Thread the safety cable through the new spring and attach the spring to the track bracket.
  • Reattach the safety cable and the pulley. Ensure that the wire from the pulley is not crossed with the safety cable.
  • Use the piece of tape that you attached before removing the pulley to make sure that the pulley is installed in the correct location.
  • Remove the clamps and connect the garage door opener.
  • Test the garage door to be sure that the replacement worked. If the door doesn’t close all the way or closes too quickly, inspect the location of the pulley and the extension spring hardware, adjusting as necessary.

Note: Extension springs are color-coded with a repeating pattern that indicates the amount of weight they can lift;

  • Tan: 100 pounds
  • White: 110 pounds
  • Green: 120 pounds
  • Yellow: 130 pounds
  • Blue: 140 pounds
  • Red: 150 pounds
  • Brown: 160 pounds
  • Orange: 170 pounds
  • Gold: 180 pounds
  • Light Blue: 190 pounds

How to replace torsion garage door springs

It is harder to replace torsion springs as compared to extension springs. However, these steps should be easy to follow if you are an experienced DIYer. If in doubt, leave the job to a pro. Here are the steps to install a single torsion spring on a garage door;

  • Unplug the opener and clamp the garage door to the track so the door cannot open when the springs release tension.
  • Climb up on a sturdy ladder beside the winding cone at the end of the spring. Insert a winding bar into the winding cone to hold the spring in place.
  • Test the force you will be working with by pushing the winding bar up one-quarter turn and then bringing it back down.
  • Loosen the screw set if you are satisfied with the grip on the winding bar.
  • Keep one bar in the cone at all times to prevent it from rapidly unwinding and potentially injuring you.
  • Lower the winding bar to the top of the garage door, then insert a second winding bar.
  • Remove the first winding bar and lower the second bar to the top of the garage door.
  • Then insert the first winding bar into the next hole. Repeat the spiral step until the spring is completely unwound.
  • Loosen and remove the torsion hardware that secures the center stationary torsion cones to the spring bracket.
  • Remove the springs, cables, and cable drums.
  • For torsion springs, measure the wire size, inside diameter of the spring, spring length, and determine the winding orientation.
  • Purchase a new spring that matches the old spring in type, size, and orientation.
  • Slide the new left spring onto the torsion tube with the stationary cone facing the center bracket, then reinstall the cable drum.
  • Install the center bearing and the new right spring, and then secure the cones.
  • Thread the cables and tighten the drums. Make sure that the tension is equal on both sides to prevent the door from opening unevenly.
  • Using the winding bars, begin winding the spring in the opposite direction as it was unwound.
  • Ensure that at least one winding bar is in the winding cone at all times.
  • Wind the spring as many turns as is recommended by the supplier.
  • Using a hammer, tap the winding bar to stretch the spring out ¼-inch.
  • Tighten the set screws on the winding cone.
  • Lubricate the spring with garage door lubricant, then remove the clamp from the garage door.
  • Test the spring by lifting the door about 3 feet. If the door remains in place, the replacement was a success. If the door falls, you’ll need to tighten the spring by a quarter turn until it stays open on its own. If the door opens, you’ll need to loosen the spring by a quarter turn until it remains in place.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Garage Door Spring?

The average garage door spring replacement cost is between $200 and $300, depending on the service fees charged—the materials for spring replacement range from $40 to $100 for a torsion spring. And $5 to $30 for an extension spring.

Check this too: Marantec Garage Door Openers Troubleshooting & How-to Guide

Conclusion:

While replacing the springs may save you some bucks, you are better off hiring a professional if you are not sure you can get the job done. Additionally, the springs require proper winding to get the job done.

Not to mention the door’s weight and the many moving parts you have to focus on while replacing the springs. At the very least, please have someone help you to help you manage the garage door weight should anything go wrong during the installation.

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