If you have a spring-assisted garage door, one or more springs will eventually fail and require replacement. When this happens, a loud snapping noise may catch you off guard. Most of the time, however, homeowners will know once they open their garages. When springs give way, the door’s weight will feel noticeably different upon lifting. Similarly, you’ll hear a noise as the electric opener struggles to lift the door without spring assistance.
The following information covers the process of replacing and installing garage door springs. Before we begin, though, working with springs under tension is dangerous. Therefore, people without extensive DIY or similar professional skills should leave this task to a garage door repair expert.
Step One: Determine the Type of Springs Your Garage Uses
There are two main types of garage door springs – torsion and extension.
Extension springs are long and installed parallel to the horizontal door tracks.
Torsion springs are larger, coiled around a metal rod, and positioned above the door opening.
While both types of garage door springs are under tension, how they derive their energy is different. When the door is closed, extension springs are stretched out and loaded – ready to assist with lifting the door’s weight. Torsion springs become loaded by twisting or, in other words, torquing to create tension.
How to Replace an Extension Spring
Extension springs are the easier of the two garage door springs to install, as there is no initial tension to contend with during the process.
Firstly, you must relieve the spring’s tension by opening the door. For safety, we urge you to use C-clamps in the tracks to prevent the door from moving back down.
Next, locate where the spring and the track bracket meet, disconnect it, unhook the spring pulley, and separate the safety cable from the end.
Finally, install the new spring and reconnect the bracket, pulley, and safety cable.
Follow these steps carefully when installing garage door springs that rely on extension. Be aware that mishandling can lead to numerous risks of injury and damage.
How to Replace a Torsion Spring
Torsion springs are far more dangerous to handle than their extension spring counterparts. These types of springs are best left for professional garage door repairers. Nevertheless, with the right tools and attention to detail, some people attempt this repair independently.
The first process in replacing a torsion spring is to unwind it to relieve the tension. Then, wind it up again to put it back under tension, and secure the spring. While doing this, you’ll notice the winding bars. They are purpose-built for this activity and should always be used for safety.
To complete this step, you’ll first need to identify the winding cone. The goal is to insert a winding bar into one of the many winding holes, turn the bar, and then insert the other winding bar into the next hole. Turn the bar again, and repeat about 30 times until fully unloaded. Note that if your spring has broken, it will already be unloaded.
Next, with the door closed and the tension released from the springs you are replacing, you can unbolt them from the central rod bracket. To achieve this, remove the pulley cables to loosen them and allow the springs to slide off.
The final steps involve:
- Sliding on the new spring
- Reattaching the pulleys and cables
- Bolting the inside ends back to the rod bracket
Then, rewind the springs, load them with tension, and secure them with the winding cone setscrew bolts.
Suppose you are still wondering how to install garage door springs due to a lack of tools and equipment. In that case, it’s much easier to call a professional and schedule a free consultation.
Garage Door Spring FAQs
You can expect seven to 12 years of usage out of a garage door spring in any climate type. Adding spray lubricant twice a year can help keep springs operating longer.
Watch the following video to see the recommended annual garage door maintenance tasks.
If you are a seasoned DIYer with the right tools, you can most certainly replace garage door springs on your own. For most weekend warriors, though, garage door spring replacement is best left to professionals, as extension springs are dangerous to remove and install.
The typical price range for replacing both springs on a garage door is $150 to $350. The replacement includes $30 to $200 for a set of springs and $75 to $150 for labor. Models vary by size and other factors but keep this bracket in mind.
To replace both garage door springs, professional garage door technicians take approximately 30 minutes to an hour. However, suppose the electric opener has additional damage, the tracks are bent, or there are other malfunctions. In that case, the repair service may take longer.
Torsion springs provide a consistent, controlled motion to your garage door, whether opening or closing. Because of this stability, torsion springs help maintain your door’s balance. On the other hand, extension springs often cause an erratic movement that can easily throw your door off-kilter and need constant adjustment. Plus, when a door is out of alignment or requires too much adjusting, it causes unnecessary wear and tear – sometimes even damaging other parts of the garage door.
Torsion springs, for example, are easy to lubricate and maintain. Conversely, extension springs have more parts, meaning more things can go wrong. They use sheaves that require a longer cable, making the installation subject to continual wear and tear.
Considering the tension in this garage door spring opener, they may damage nearby objects once loose. There are many videos where loose extension springs cause damage to vehicles, windows, and on some rare occasions, people. The best way to prevent such accidents is to schedule regular maintenance or a yearly inspection by a professional technician.
The opposite is true for torsion springs – if they break, you’ll hear a loud noise, but the spring will stay in place on the shaft. Nevertheless, you may need further instructions on how to replace garage door springs or lack the tools and equipment. In that case, it’s best to call a professional. Be wary, as there is always the risk of injury.
When homeowners learn how to replace garage door springs and get the tools out, they often notice discrepancies in the model. While all extension springs are similar, they can be further classified by how they end, which often needs clarification. Therefore, note that your garage door installation may incorporate double-looped, open-looped, or clipped extension springs.
The most accessible type of extension spring to replace is the open-looped one. In such a case, you won’t need to disassemble the pulley or unscrew the eye bolt. The whole spring, however, needs replacement, even if only a portion of it is damaged, because an open wire at its end holds everything together.
Double-looped extension springs are more robust than open-looped ones and have two end coils connecting to the pulley and eyebolt. However, the disadvantage of this type is that replacement is more complicated.
Extension springs with clipped ends are the most durable because they undergo less stress. Consequently, their life expectancy is prolonged. Usually, clip-ended extension springs are the standard for garage doors weighing 200 pounds or more. Nevertheless, they can be difficult to replace.
Like extension springs, torsion counterparts have few subdivisions based on the model. The standard torsion spring is typical for residential garage doors and is mounted above the opening. Heavier garage doors use two torsion springs, where the metal shaft runs through the center to support the coil. On the other hand, lighter garage doors only require one spring.
In contrast, the early set torsion spring is mounted in the middle of the shaft. These models use a different type of hardware secured on each end of the torsion shaft and placed next to the cable drums.
Another model, called the steel rolling door torsion spring, is popular among businesses. This model has springs installed within the torsion barrel, which helps support the heavy door.
With so many types of garage door springs, maintenance and replacement can take time and effort. Therefore, it’s safest to rely on an expert repair technician to repair your garage door springs quickly and correctly.
GT Garage Door Repair is Phoenix’s choice for all garage-related issues in the East Valley. Contact our team today to discuss your garage door problem and receive a free repair estimate.