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My Garage Door Spring Broke, What Should I Do?

A broken garage door spring can be frustrating and very inconvenient, but what should I do

now that its broken?

First do not try to lift the door by hand or using the opener as you can hurt yourself lifting a

heavy garage door by hand and burn out the opener using it to try to open a door with a broken

spring. Replacing garage door springs is not a do it yourself project, replacement requires

special tools and techniques to prevent injury. Utilizing the wrong size spring or springs can

cause serious damage to the garage door and its components including the electric garage door opener.

broken-garage-door-spring

There are several types of garage door spring systems including extension springs and torsion springs.

Extension springs utilize springs that are mounted on the sides of the garage door. These

springs attach to the track and through a series of pulleys and cables to the bottom bracket on

the garage door. Extension springs provide the power to open the garage door while the cable

and pulley system does the actual lifting. If any of the components is this system is not installed

or adjusted properly, the system will not function safely or properly.

extension-spring-garage-door

Torsion springs utilize a spring or springs mounted above the garage door opening. These

spring(s) are mounted on a spring bar/torsion tube above the garage door opening. The spring

bar/ torsion tube also has drums at each end. Cables attach to the bottom bracket of the

garage door and then wrap or wind around the drums as the garage door opens and closes.

torsion-spring-system-dallas-tx

There are also other manufacturers that use a modified torsion spring system, one is Wayne

Dalton. Wayne Dalton utilizes an internal spring system that mounts above the garage door. In

this system, the spring is inside the spring bar/torsion tube and the cables wind around plastic

drums at the ends of the spring bar/torsion tube.  We highly recommend changing out to a standard

torsion spring system, when replacement is required.

torquemaster-spring-system-dallas

It is my opinion and experience that the Wayne Dalton system is weaker and inferior to a

standard torsion spring system. This modification would cost about $280-$400 depending on

where you live. Another similar system is the EZ torque system. This system utilizes standard

torsion spring(s) but applying torsion to the springs and cables is a different procedure than a

standard torsion system.

ez-set-broken-spring-system

When determining how to proceed, there are choices the home owner has to make. If you have

an extension spring system you can have the spring(s) replaced with new extension spring(s) or

you can opt to upgrade to the safer torsion spring system. Extension spring(s) are more

dangerous as when they break the spring can fly loose causing serious damage, even death.

These springs have been known to fly loose and damage vehicles and other items in the garage

and in some cases pieces of the broken spring have gone through sheet rock walls causing

damage. These springs can become projectiles traveling at great speed when they break. Most

extension springs today utilize a safety cable that is threaded through the extension springs to

help reduce the risk of a broken spring becoming a dangerous projectile. A modification to a

torsion spring system should cost between $350-$400 depending on where you live, this cost

would include the new torsion springs and all the hardware for the modification.

extension-spring-system-garage-door

This modification is the best choice, but not the only choice as you can simply have the extension

spring(s) replaced. Either choice would still require a trained garage door technician to perform

If you have a torsion spring system, then you still have choices. Many builders utilize a single

torsion spring system. A single spring system will work on lighter weight doors, but typically a

two spring system is a better choice. Two spring systems provide for a more even distribution

of the lifting power, which in turn balances out the stress on the other components in your

two-spring-system-garage-door-dallas

garage door system. This system in my opinion will reduce the wear on the garage door parts

and even the garage door opener. Again this is just an option, and in my opinion a better

option, but on lighter weight doors a single torsion spring will work and balance the door. A two

spring system is also beneficial if one of the springs breaks, because you can still open the door

manually since the one unbroken spring will assist you in lifting the door open.

If you already have two or more torsion springs, you can opt to replace all the springs or only

the broken one. In my opinion it is always best to replace all of the springs at the same time,

but you can just replace the broken one. Remember, that since all of the springs were probably

installed at the same time, they will all likely fail at about the same time. Again these are

options available to you.

two-spring-system-broken-spring-dallas-tx

Many very heavy doors utilize multiple springs to provide the lifting force and balance the

garage door. This could be 2,3,4 or more springs depending on the weight of the garage door.

four-spring-system-garage-door-dallas-tx

Understanding springs is important as well. Springs are rated on the number of life cycles the

spring should last. One life cycle is one open and close of the garage door. Springs are usually

rated 10,000-20,000-30,000 life cycles. If you use your door 3 times a day on average then

that’s about 1,000 life cycles per year so a 10,000 life cycle spring should last 8-10 years. This

does not factor in pitting that can occur to the metal spring or rust in higher humidity climates.

Your spring could last longer or for a shorter period of time depending on climate and other

external factors.

torsion-spring-garage-door-life-cycles

The weight of the garage door determines what spring or springs should be used on your

garage door. The number of life cycles the spring is rated for is determined by the gauge of wire

used to make the spring and the diameter and length of the actual spring.

A garage door technician can weigh your garage door and provide you with spring replacement

options. Again this is not a do it yourself project as garage door springs are very dangerous and

require the proper tools and techniques to replace them. Spring replacement costs will vary

depending on the weight of your garage door and the life cycle rating for the spring itself.

Spring cost per spring should start around $89 per spring going up in price for larger springs and

labor should start around $150 to install the spring(s). These prices are general and could be

more or less depending on where you live.

torsion-spring-winding-bars-dallas-tx

Proper maintenance will improve the life of your spring and all of the other components of your

garage door system. It is recommended that you oil the garage door spring, rollers and hinges

at least twice per year using a good quality garage door lubrication. You can purchase garage

door lubricant at your local home improvement store like Home Depot or Lowes or from a

garage door service company. We do not recommend using a standard WD40 type of product,

but instead a product that is garage door specific.

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