Garage Door Springs

Posted 2/14/2013

Broken torsion springAny garage door needs some kind of counter balance system to operate smoothly and easy to open. In the early days they used counter weights on a rope pulley system, but heavy weight took up space and more dangerous moving mass.  Most counter balance system today is torsion springs up above the door on a spring bar with cable drums at the end with lift cables attach to the bottom roller bracket to help lift the door or extension springs most used on one-piece doors mounted on the side to the hardware.

Whatever type of counter balance system you have, all parts are under extreme tension and you should not attempt to do any adjustments, take anything apart or repairs. The springs will break with time, its metal fatigue when it breaks. Like any other piece of metal that gets bend back and forth over and over, very soon it will break. The torsion springs get twisted every time you open and close your door, the extension springs get pulled and in general last longer.

Spring safety is much higher today than +20 years ago. All extension springs are securely mounted at the bottom and top with a closed hook system and have to have a safety core inside the spring to keep the pieces together when breaking and the torsion spring is over the spring bar, so when it break it all stay up there. It’s a loud noise when torsion springs break, but nothing flying around the garage. I have had my tools in a spring that broke, besides the chock nothing happen.

This is the damage you can see if you keep trying open the door with a broken spring.When you have a broken spring call a garage door repair company, this is not a repair for the average do it yourself home owner. It’s not a joke when people talk about the widow makers referring to garage door springs. I meet so many handy home owner telling me that they will do any job around the house, but when it comes to the springs they call some that know what they are doing. I have seen my share of blood in garages not from me, but customer that thought that they were handy enough to replace the springs.

The only fix for a broken spring is replacement. I have seen people try zip ties, duct tape, steel wires and welding. Needless to say, none is a long term solution, replace the spring. If you have two or more springs on the door, replace them all, again back to the metal fatigue. All the springs have most likely been there the same amount of time and done the same amount of work(motion) so when one break the others will come very soon after, so with that in mind it makes no sense only replace the broken one.

How can I tell if I have a broken spring? The door will probably not open with the opener and be very heavy if you try to open the door by hand. Look at the springs, the torsion spring will have about 2 inch gap between the coils and the extension spring will look floppy. You have a problem that you need to have taken care of. Trying to open the door can be dangerous.