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.