Garage Door Repair

Homeowner’s Guide to Garage Door Spring Repair

Garage Door Spring Repair tools

Looking for help with garage door spring repair?

Garage doors use a spring system to counterbalance each side of the door so that it lifts evenly.

If the spring breaks, your garage door won’t open or close as designed. This can become a major headache when you need to be somewhere and can’t get your car out of the garage.

This guide will provide an overview of the different types of garage door springs and what garage door spring repair requires.

Here we go!

What are the garage door springs?

Springs make it easier to open and close your garage door. Without them garage doors would be extremely difficult to use; for most people, it would be impossible because they are so large and heavy.

Residential garage doors are equipped with one of two types of springs: extension or torsion.

Torsion Springs

Torsion springs are located above the door. They’re mounted on a metal rod parallel to the door. Pulleys attached to the bottom of that metal rod connected to the bottom of the door via cables.

When the door closes the pulley turns the rod to create tension in the spring. Opening the door releases that tension by unwinding the spring.

Torsion springs are usually guaranteed for three to seven years, or 30,000 times of opening and closing.

Extension Springs

Extension springs are mounted above the door’s horizontal tracks and run perpendicular to the door. They’re not mounted to a rod, rather, they’re suspended between two brackets. The length of the springs depending on how tall the door is.

When the door opens, the springs contract and tension are released causing the door to lift.

These springs are typically a lighter-gauge metal than torsion springs.

Why Garage Door Springs Fail

General wear-and-tear is the biggest reason springs fail. Your garage door is one of the most frequently used doors of the home. Because of this, its components are put under a lot of stress; eventually, the springs lose their capacity to compress and expand.

Added weight reduces the lifespan of garage door springs by placing extra stress on them. Things like windows and even paint can add weight to the door. Look for things like uneven gaps between the rings of the spring, bends, or excessive looseness; these are all signs that your spring is faulty.

Well-maintained springs can last up to thirty years. But lack of maintenance will contribute to their early failure. They need to be regularly inspected for things like loose tracks, damaged hinges and bearings, cracked springs, and adequate lubrication. Proper lubrication prevents rust that weakens the springs causing them to break.

Maintenance to the safety cable in extension springs is especially important. The safety cable keeps the spring from exploding pieces of metal in all directions. The cable should be smooth and free of frays.

What Can Go Wrong With Springs?

There are a variety of reasons that may cause garage door springs to fall into disrepair. In our experience, the following are the most common reasons.

Springs can become out of balance

Normally, garage doors can be opened with one hand from the middle of the door. The door opens smoothly. If you notice the door pulling on one side or won’t stay open where you want it then the springs are probably imbalanced. These can typically be adjusted rather than having to be replaced.

They’re too tight

When the springs are too tight you may notice that the door flies open. If you’ve got a garage door opener you may not notice it immediately, but the damage is still occurring. The electric gears of the opener have to work harder when the springs are tight which causes more wear and tear on the machine.

Springs are squeaky

Noisy springs may be disconcerting, and annoying, but they aren’t necessarily a sign of trouble. Before worrying, try using a spray-on lubricant to see if that resolves the issue.

There’s a problem with the brackets

Sometimes the problem with the door isn’t the spring, but the brackets at the bottom of the door. These, like the springs, are under a lot of pressure and should be adjusted with great care. Most newer models are tamper-resistant and can’t be accessed without a specialized too.

A Few Words of Caution

These springs can be very dangerous because they’re held under tension that holds a great deal of energy. Energy is released when the spring suddenly unwinds after a break or if it’s been improperly handled. Physical harm results regardless of how the tension is released.

For extension springs, make sure you have a safety cable installed to prevent the spring from flying apart if it does break. A safety cable is comprised of metal cording anchored to the wall or ceiling that runs through the garage door spring.

Before working on either type of spring ensure that all tension is released. It’s dangerous to work on a spring that is under pressure because that energy can be released quite violently, causing significant bodily harm.

Do It Yourself or Call A Professional?

If you have some do-it-yourself home improvement experience, you may be able to perform the garage door spring repair needed to fix your garage.

With that said, it’s a pretty big project so you may want to call in a garage door repair professional for help.

A professional will know exactly what parts are needed to repair your garage door spring, so you can rest assured you won’t have to spend a lot of time researching the available parts. In addition, a professional will be able to check for other potential problems while performing the repair.


Springs are an integral part of the garage door; without them, the door wouldn’t open properly.

Like other heavily used components, the springs can fail, sometimes without warning. Before undertaking repairs it’s a good idea to understand how the springs work, what to look for when they malfunction and acknowledge and implement some safety tips.

Garage Door Repair

How to Replace Garage Door Torsion Springs

A broken torsion spring is one of the most common garage door problems.

The torsion spring is located horizontally above your garage door and provides the tension needed to lift your garage door. If the spring breaks, it won’t have the tension needed to open and close your garage door. In some cases, you may notice your garage door lifting partially.

Either way, it’s important you’re able to identify this problem so you can resolve it quickly.

This guide will help you understand how to replace garage door torsion springs so you can decide whether to fix the problem yourself or call in a professional garage door repair professional.

Let’s get started …

How to Replace Garage Door Torsion Springs

Replacing garage door torsion springs can be a complicated process, even for the most experienced do-it-yourself homeowner. If you’re not comfortable with the project, it may be in your best interest to contact a professional garage door repair provider in your area.

Garage door torsion springs are available online or occasionally at brick and mortar stores. This is a rather complicated project that can be done by an experienced do-it-yourself person if one follows the correct safety precautions. We’ll go over the steps to replacing a broken torsion spring, look at the hazards, and educate you on how to either go ahead with the project or decide if you’d rather leave this task to a professional.

Here’s how to replace garage door torsion springs.

1. Begin Removing the Old Springs by Securing the Door to the Track

If your door has two springs, which many do, it is wise to replace both of them at the same time.

Close the garage door and use C-clamps to hold the door closed. Do this by attaching the clamp to the garage door track just above the door roller at the very bottom, on each side of the door.

Now, unplug the garage door opener, if you have one, and disengage it by pulling the cord on the unit’s arm.

2. Check Your Safety Equipment and Procedures

You’ll want to have the following safety equipment and adhere to the following precautions: Wear eye protection and leather work gloves.

Use ONLY a set of professional quality winding bars to wind or unwind the spring. These are available online. Do NOT grab the spring or cones. NEVER position yourself in front of the spring cones while you are adjusting them – work to the side. And always use proper ladder safety procedures.

Broken garage door springs are a leading cause of injury in the U.S.

3. Ensure that Your Old Spring Matches the Replacement

You’ll want to make sure that the type and dimensions are the same.

Measure the old springs to determine the wire gauge, diameter, length, and wind. Now is the time to also mark the location of the drums and torsion shaft while they are in place.

This will help you balance them correctly. Again, do not touch the cable drums or grab the shaft.

4. Unwind the Old Springs

Use only winding bars for this step. Insert the winding bar in the bottom hole of the cone.

You must hold the bar in position and then loosen the two setscrews. Be prepared to hold on tightly, as the pressure will release in a powerful way. Do not remove the winding bar at any time during this step! Now, insert the second winding bar in the next hole. Remove the first bar and let the spring unwind one quarter turn each time.

You’ll need to ‘leapfrog” the bars as you move from one hole to the next.

Remove the center bracket holding the torsion rod by unscrewing the bolts, (put them in a safe place), and slide off the old springs. Use another C-clamp or locking pliers to secure the tube to the center bracket, so that it doesn’t fall off and cause an injury.

5. Install Your New Springs

For this example, we’ll start on the left. Install the first spring by sliding it onto the torsion rod, from the center.

Slide on the cable drum next. The cone on the end of the new spring should be pointing to the right and the center. After you’ve relocated the spring, and reattached the cable drum, replace the torsion rod into its bracket on the left.

6. Replace the Center Bearing

Push the rod to the left, to the outside of the garage door, and slide on the center bearing from the inside of the bar. Now, add the right spring by sliding it onto the bar from the center. Insert the center bearing into the right cone.

You’ll need to bolt the cones to the center bracket, using the same hardware. Remove the C-clamp or locking pliers.

7. Thread the Lift Cables

Pull the lift cables in a straight line between the door rollers and the garage door frame.

Reattach the cable stop at the end through the slot on the drum on the end of the torsion rod. Now, use your clamp or pliers on the rod to hold it stationary as you tighten the drums. Rotate the drum slowly to wind the cable tightly and correctly, and tighten the set screws. Repeat this on both sides of the door, making sure the torsion rod stays in place and cannot rotate.

The two sides of the door must have equal tension on the cables to work properly.

8. Rewind the New Springs

Using the two winding bars, you will now begin to tighten the spring with the winding cone, using the same process you did to loosen them.

Alternate the position of the two bars in the holes, and tighten one quarter turn each time. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how many turns to wind the spring – over-winding could be very dangerous.

Repeat the process for the other spring.

9. Stretch and Set

You’ll now need to stretch each of the new springs one-quarter inch.

Place your winding bar flat and straight over the floor and insert it into the closest winding cone slot. Give it a knock with a hammer in the direction away from the center to loosen the spring.

Do this again for the other spring. Adjust the set screws on the rod for tightness, but be careful to not over-tighten and pierce the torsion rod. This is a good time to lubricate the new springs and the whole door with the lubricant recommended by the supplier.

You may now remove any clamps, reattach the garage door opener, and turn the power back on to test the door.


Now that you know how to replace garage door torsion springs, it’s up to you to decide whether this project is for you or if it’s better to call in a professional.

The mechanisms involved are relatively simple, but the springs and cables are under a great deal of pressure and can cause severe injury. If you are confident about your safety procedures and equipment, it can be worth your time to source the necessary springs for your garage door. Or, if you’re just not sure, an excellent option is to allow a garage door repair company to take care of all the details for you quickly and efficiently.

As always, if you believe this project is a bit beyond your experience level, we will be happy to help.

We’ve been a trusted garage door service provider serving Ventura and Los Angeles Counties since 1998! Discover why our customers love us and give us a call.

Garage Door Repair

How to Open A Garage Door With A Broken Spring

If you recently discovered your garage door won’t open and you suspect the problem may be because of a broken spring, you need to know how to open a garage door with a broken spring safely.

Garage doors are heavy and involve heavy machinery that can cause personal injury if you’re not careful.

Attempting to open a garage door with a broken spring can be dangerous for even the most experienced DIY homeowner, so we always recommend contacting a garage door repair service near you before anything else.

If you must open your garage door, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article we’re taking a closer look and providing a step-by-step overview of how to open a garage door with a broken spring safely.

How to Open a Garage Door with a Broken Spring

Your garage door is a crucial element in the safety and protection of your home. It keeps the belongings in your garage safe, and serves as an additional shield from the outside world; it can also bring visually pleasing elements to the front of your home.

If you have a broken garage door spring, we recommend you contact a reputable garage door repair company in your area. There is perhaps nothing more frustrating or stressful than needing to get your car out of the garage to hurry to school or work, but not being able to because a broken spring has rendered the entire door system inert.

This is a very common problem, and the door can be opened if the homeowner follows a simple process with safety precautions foremost in their minds. Understanding what causes this problem can also help prevent it.

What is a garage door spring?

A garage door spring has the ever-important job of supporting the door’s weight so it can be moved either manually or by way of a remote-controlled operating system. When this is not working, the full weight of the door will be very difficult and even dangerous to try to move. There are two main types of springs, and these include torsion and extension springs. The main difference between these two is the location of the spring itself.

A torsion spring is located above the door (while it’s shut), or on the inside front wall of your garage. They open and close along with the door, helping to support its weight. Extension springs, however, are most often located along the tracks of the garage door on both sides. The role of the springs in both cases is the same; the weight is just dispersed differently between the two.

Why do garage door springs break?

Think of how often you open and close your garage door. You likely open and close it at least a few times throughout the day, and perhaps even more if there are numerous people in your homecoming and going at different times throughout the day. When you add that up over a significant period of time, it is not surprising that garage doors take quite a beating and eventually the springs simply become tired and worn out.

Another contributing factor can come from the elements or a lack of maintenance–rust. Since the springs are metal, they can easily rust if not lubricated often enough. Rust makes the metal brittle and stiff, which will make it easier for the spring to break or snap apart in places. Regular maintenance involves applying a substance like WD-40 to the springs and testing them to listen for any squeaks in the spring that would indicate that the spring needs to be lubricated.

Opening Garage Door with Broken Spring

If you realize that your garage door spring has broken–whether it’s a torsion or extension spring–you’ll probably need a quick and safe way to open it so you can go about your day until you’re able to call a technician to fix it completely. Doing so is possible provided you can take the time to open it safely, and if you can have a relatively strong adult, a neighbor perhaps, helps you get the door open. Consider the following steps the next time you find yourself in this predicament:

  • You’ll need to put two six-foot ladders on either side of the front of the garage. These will help keep the door open once you’ve propped the door open completely.
  • You’ll also need two pry bars–one for you and one for your neighbor/helper. Each of you should insert these on opposite ends of the door at the same time, prying it up enough to grab onto the bottom edge with your hands.
  • Push it up at the same time, and slowly, taking care to not overextend your back or stand underneath the door while it isn’t secured, as this could cause serious injury.
  • Use vice grips attached to the track just below the door once you have pushed the door to the fully open position.
  • Then you can move the ladders into position, using them to rest the door on (after removing the vice grips). You can certainly leave the vice grips in place as an extra precaution against the door slipping out of place.

Even though this is a quick and sure-fire temporary fix that will help you get out of your garage and hopefully to work on time, you will certainly want to call a technician to replace the spring and inspect your garage door thoroughly as soon as you can. A technician is trained in all aspects of garage door care and maintenance and will be able to not only install a new spring but also help you anticipate and prevent breakages and malfunctions in the future.


Now that you know how to open a garage door with a broken spring, you can proceed safely.

Garage doors are an important part of your home, and they also are required to work hard on a daily basis. Making sure all parts of the door, including the springs–whether they are extension or torsion springs–will ensure that you’re not caught outside your garage and unable to get in, or worse, stuck inside your garage needing to get out.

Should you find yourself needing to open a broken garage door, the process is quite simple and just requires a few tools like vice grips, ladders, and an assistant. Safety is very important to keep in mind when following these steps, as garage doors can be quite heavy and opening a broken one improperly could result in injury.

However, it is important to note that once you open a broken garage door, you should contact a professional offering garage door services in your area. An experienced professional will help show you how to perform a garage door inspection and let you know what type of garage door maintenance is needed in order to avoid problems in the future. Doing so will ensure that you have a safe and functioning garage door that won’t cause inconveniences in the long run.

If you need assistance, please consider making Your Garage Door Guys your source for dependable garage door repair.

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