A snapped overhead spring on your residential or commercial garage door is one of the most common reasons for a broken garage door. This break can happen because of age, extensive use, or even dramatic weather changes. Breakage is a possibility for any kind of equipment under that kind of strain for a long period of time. This spring is responsible for the work of opening and closing your garage door every day: the coils loosen to close the door and tighten to open it. The life cycle of most residential garage door springs is about two or three years. How do you know the spring is what’s wrong with your garage door? You may have heard a loud crack from garage as the metal spring broke under the weight it’s supporting. Your garage door can weigh more than 300 pounds, and that weight is supported entirely by the spring. It will look like what it sounds like: the spring will be in two pieces instead of one and you may be able to see the place where the spring snapped. Even if your garage door is still opening and closing, but at a strange pace or angle, a worn spring could be your culprit. The good news is: it’s not the end of the world—garage door springs break all the time, especially in the winter, and we fix them all the time.
You should never try to open your garage door if your spring is damaged at all: this can be extremely dangerous. If the problem is your spring, you should wait until the door is completely fixed before you attempt to open it. If you must get your car out or there is some emergency, you can try to lift the garage door with the help of friends or neighbors. Again—the door is extremely heavy and many people have been injured this way. If you decide to try to open the door, pull the (probably red) emergency rope with a handle on the end that should be hanging from the ceiling. This will disengage the connection between the door and its attachments on the rail. It will also make the door as heavy as it really is (over three hundred pounds) without the system supporting it. At this point, you can manually lift the door up and free your car. Be extremely careful with the door and never try to catch the closing door with your foot. If it’s too heavy, call a professional.
To make sure the problem is isolated in the spring, check the metal tracks before proceeding. Check that there are no obviously broken pieces, no loose screws, and no built up gunk creating an obstacle for the rollers. Both tracks must be even with the door and each other. Clean the tracks and the rollers to get rid of any excess oil. If everything looks good with the tracks and the rollers after this process, direct your attention to the spring.
There are two main kinds of spring types that could be causing you trouble. Figuring out which one you need is the first step in getting your garage door working again. For your own interest, take a mental note of how the broken spring looks. Was it was damaged or stained in some unusual way, or did it break from everyday wear? This could be important it is being replaced. Replacing a spring is dangerous and difficult. If you don’t have the time to learn the process thoroughly, we highly recommend that you call a professional. We can help you replace the spring quickly and easily, get your car out of the garage, and replace your spring with a quality spring.
A typical torsion spring can only carry the weight of a garage door for an average of two or three years before it reaches the end of its life and snaps. A Torsion spring will sit horizontally above the garage door itself. These springs are a little shorter and a bit more likely to break under pressure. They are the cheaper building material and are common in many homes. It’s easy to tell a torsion spring from an extension spring because there will only be one spring in the case of a torsion.
Extension springs (two springs) will work perpendicular to the garage door, parallel to each other, usually on either side of the door. Builders usually use these for smaller garage doors. If one spring snaps, it is important to replace the other spring as well so they have the same cycle life. It’s also vital that they are calibrated together so the garage door opens evenly.
Replacing a torsion spring is much more difficult than replacing extension springs, but both take a lot of research and precision. Any slip up in the process could result in lost limbs or even death. Please do the proper research and keep yourself safe. Even seasoned DIYers often recommend that this job be left to professionals. The spring is supporting a lot of tension and is therefore extremely dangerous. If you do embark on this task, make sure you know the danger zone of the winding cone and keep any body parts, clothing, and equipment out of its path. In case the spring violently releases, it could severely hurt anyone in its path. Wear protective equipment and make sure no one is standing in the path of the spring or the open door while you work on it. If you don’t know what you’re doing and you don’t have time to learn, call a professional for a quick, easy replacement and an experienced opinion on your spring’s replacement. This is the only way to ensure you won’t have major regrets later. We’re available to help you at any hour of the day—24/7. This is the safest option.