how to repair garage door springs

How to Repair Garage Door Springs: A Step-by-Step Guide

Garage doors are one of the Swiss tools that guarantee the security of our homes and the ease of commuting between our houses and other places, but as much as we appreciate them, there are times of the year when their functionality annoys us. Perhaps one of the most observable problems that most homeowners might find frustrating is damaged or worn-out garage door springs. The primary example of these springs is a torsion spring that plays a crucial role in the motion of the garage door; the repair of these springs may appear complicated. In this guide, you will find all the necessary information on how to repair garage door springs and it will be explained in detail and with additional tips to make you confident in your actions and avoid injuries.

Understanding Garage Door Springs

Before diving into the repair process, it’s essential to understand the types of garage door springs and their functions. Garage doors commonly use two types of springs: extension springs and torsion springs.

Extension Springs

Extension springs are mounted on either side of the door, parallel to the tracks. They stretch and flex to balance the weight of the door. These springs are usually found in older garage door systems and are generally less expensive but also less durable than torsion springs.

Torsion Springs

Torsion springs are horizontally positioned above the garage door opening. They use torque to lift the door and are known for their durability and balance. When the door closes, the springs wind up, storing energy. When the door opens, the springs unwind, releasing the energy to lift the door.

Signs Your Garage Door Springs Need Repair

Recognizing the signs of worn or broken garage door springs can prevent further damage and ensure your safety. Here are some common indicators:

  • The door is heavy or hard to lift: If you find it difficult to manually lift your garage door, it may indicate a problem with the springs.
  • The door is uneven: A misaligned or uneven door often points to an issue with one of the springs.
  • Loud noises: If you hear loud bangs or unusual noises when operating the door, it could be a sign that a spring has broken.
  • The door doesn’t open fully: A malfunctioning spring may prevent the door from opening all the way.
  • Visible wear and tear: Inspect the springs for signs of wear, rust, or gaps. Any visible damage means it’s time for a replacement.

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Safety First: Precautions and Tools

Repairing garage door springs can be dangerous due to the high tension they are under. Taking proper safety precautions is crucial. Here’s what you need to know before starting the repair:

Safety Precautions

  • Disconnect the garage door opener: Unplugging the opener prevents accidental activation while you’re working on the door.
  • Use safety gear: Wear safety glasses and gloves to protect yourself from potential injuries.
  • Work with a partner: Having someone assist you can make the process safer and more manageable.
  • Follow instructions carefully: Adhering to the steps outlined in this guide will help ensure a safe and successful repair.

Tools and Materials Needed

To repair garage door springs, you will need the following tools and materials:

  • Replacement springs (make sure they match the specifications of your old springs)
  • Safety glasses and gloves
  • Ladder
  • Winding bars (for torsion springs)
  • C-clamps or locking pliers
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Socket set
  • Tape measure
  • Marker or chalk

Step-by-Step Guide to Repairing Garage Door Springs

Now that you’re equipped with the necessary knowledge and tools, let’s proceed with the step-by-step guide on how to repair garage door springs.

Step 1: Disconnect the Garage Door Opener

Start by unplugging the garage door opener to ensure the door cannot be accidentally activated. This is a crucial safety step to prevent injuries.

Step 2: Open the Garage Door Manually

Lift the garage door manually and secure it in place using C-clamps or locking pliers. This will keep the door from falling while you work on the springs.

Step 3: Identify and Mark the Springs

Examine the existing springs to determine if they are torsion or extension springs. Use a marker or chalk to mark the positions of the springs and their components, which will help you align the new springs correctly.

Step 4: Release the Tension from Torsion Springs

If you are dealing with torsion springs, you need to release the tension carefully. Insert a winding bar into one of the holes on the winding cone and slowly turn it to release the tension. Repeat this process with the second winding bar, alternating between the two bars until the tension is fully released. Make sure to follow this process slowly and carefully to avoid accidents.

Step 5: Remove the Old Springs

Once the tension is released, use an adjustable wrench to remove the bolts securing the springs to the center bracket. Carefully slide the old springs off the torsion bar and set them aside.

For extension springs, remove the safety cables and unhook the springs from the brackets and pulleys.

Step 6: Install the New Springs

Slide the new torsion springs onto the torsion bar and secure them with the bolts. Ensure they are positioned correctly based on the marks you made earlier. For extension springs, hook the new springs onto the brackets and pulleys, then reattach the safety cables.

Step 7: Wind the Torsion Springs

Using the winding bars, carefully wind the new torsion springs. The number of turns required will depend on the specifications of your springs and door. Generally, it’s about 30-36 quarter turns (or 7-9 full turns). Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific springs.

Step 8: Test the Door

Remove the C-clamps or locking pliers and test the garage door manually to ensure it opens and closes smoothly. Make any necessary adjustments to the springs to achieve balanced and smooth operation.

Step 9: Reconnect the Garage Door Opener

Once you’re satisfied with the manual operation, plug the garage door opener back in and test the automatic operation. Make sure the door opens and closes smoothly and that the opener’s safety features are functioning correctly.

Maintenance Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Garage Door Springs

While knowing how to fix garage door spring issues is crucial, maintaining your garage door springs can prolong their life and ensure smooth operation. Here are some maintenance tips:

Regular Inspections

Periodically inspect your garage door springs for signs of wear and tear. Look for rust, gaps in the coils, or any other signs of damage. Early discovery of flaws can prevent serious difficulties in the future.

Lubrication

Lubricate the springs and other moving parts of your garage door system regularly. Apply a silicone-based lubrication or garage door lubricant spray.
This reduces friction and prevents rust, thereby extending the life of your springs.

Balance the Door

Check the balance of your garage door periodically. Disconnect the opener and lift the door manually halfway. If it stays in place, it’s balanced. If it moves up or down, the springs may require modification. An unbalanced door puts extra strain on the springs and other components.

Tighten Hardware

Eventually, the hardware on your garage door may become loose. Regularly check and tighten bolts, nuts, and screws to ensure everything is secure. This helps maintain the structural integrity of your garage door system.

Clean the Tracks

Keep the tracks clean and free of debris. Dirt and debris can cause the door to malfunction and put extra strain on the springs. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the tracks regularly.

Avoid Excessive Use

While garage doors are built for frequent use, excessive opening and closing can wear out the springs faster. Try to minimize unnecessary use to extend the life of your springs.

When to Call a Garage Door Professional

While this guide provides a thorough overview of how to repair garage door springs, there are situations where calling a garage door professional is the best course of action. Here are some situations in which expert assistance is recommended:

Lack of Experience

If you are not comfortable or experienced with DIY repairs, it’s safer to hire a professional. Garage door springs are highly tensioned, and mishandling them can cause significant injury.

Complex Issues

If you encounter problems beyond just the springs, such as issues with the garage door opener or tracks, a professional can diagnose and fix these more effectively. They have the knowledge and resources to perform difficult repairs.

High-Tension Springs

Torsion springs, in particular, can be very dangerous to handle. If you’re unsure about the process, it’s best to leave it to a professional. They have the training and equipment to safely manage the high tension in these springs.

No Improvement

If the door still doesn’t function properly after replacing the springs, a professional can provide a more thorough inspection and repair. They can detect underlying problems that may not be readily obvious.

Emergency Situations

In case of emergencies, such as a door that won’t close or is stuck halfway, a professional can provide quick and efficient repairs. This ensures your home remains secure and accessible.

Choosing the Right Garage Door Professional

If you decide to hire a professional, it’s important to choose the right one. Here are some tips for selecting a reliable garage door professional:

Check Credentials

Ensure the professional is licensed and insured. This protects you in case of any accidents or damage during the repair process.

Read Reviews

Look for reviews and testimonials from previous customers. This demonstrates the quality of their work and client service.

Get Multiple Quotes

Get quotations from multiple professionals to compare pricing and services. This helps you get a fair deal and ensures you choose a professional within your budget.

Ask for References

Ask the professional for references from past clients. Speaking to previous customers can provide insight into their experience and satisfaction with the services provided.

Warranty and Guarantees

Check if the professional offers warranties or guarantees on their work. This provides peace of mind and ensures you receive quality service.

Conclusion

Repairing garage door springs can seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools, knowledge, and safety precautions, it is a manageable DIY project. This step-by-step guide on how to repair garage door springs aims to provide you with all the information you need to complete the job safely and effectively. Remember, if you ever feel unsure or unsafe, don’t hesitate to contact a garage door professional. Properly functioning garage door springs ensure the safety and convenience of your home, so it’s worth taking the time and effort to get the repair right.

FAQs

1. How long does a garage door spring normally last?

2. Can I replace only one garage door spring?

3. How do I know which type of spring my garage door uses?

4. Is it safe to repair garage door springs myself?

Repairing

5. What are the risks of not repairing broken garage door springs?

Ignoring broken garage door springs can lead to further damage to the garage door system, including the opener, tracks, and cables. It also poses a safety risk, as the door can become unbalanced and fall unexpectedly.

6. How much does it cost to repair garage door springs?

The cost to repair garage door springs varies depending on the type of springs and labor rates in your area. On average, professional spring replacement costs between $200 and $400. DIY replacement is cheaper, but ensure you have the correct springs and tools.

7. What should I do if my garage door won’t open?

If your garage door won’t open, check if the springs are broken. If they are, you’ll need to replace them. Also, check for other issues such as obstructions in the tracks, a malfunctioning opener, or disconnected cables. If you are unable to identify the problem, it is preferable to contact an expert.

8. Can I use any type of spring for my garage door?

No, you must use springs that match the specifications of your garage door. Using the wrong type of spring can lead to improper functioning and potential damage to the door system. Always refer to your garage door’s manual or consult a professional for the correct spring type.

9. How often should I perform maintenance on my garage door springs?

Regular maintenance is key to extending the life of your garage door springs. Perform a visual inspection every month and lubricate the springs every three to six months. Additionally, check the balance of your door and tighten any loose hardware at least once a year.

10. What are the common causes of garage door spring failure?

Common causes of garage door spring failure include wear and tear from regular use, lack of maintenance, rust, and extreme temperature changes. Ensuring regular maintenance and addressing issues promptly can help prevent premature failure.

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