Garage Door Repair – Springs
Garage doors are substantially heavy and some kind springing systems must used at the top with cables attaching to the bottom section of the door to compensate the weight. When a garage door is opened, these springs benefit in lightening the weight of the door. When closing the door, the springs keep it from striking hard on the ground and damaging the door or causing injury.
To release the spring tension, open the door in the fully open and clamp the door into position using a pair of vice grips in the tracks to restrict the door from moving. Once the door is open, you can make spring adjustments to only the extension spring type systems.
Torsion spring systems adjustments are not recommended by the do it yourselfer.
Typically overhead garage door springs have a life expectation of 10,000 cycles, unless you special ordered your door with extended life cycle springs. One cycle is an operation of an up and down. The extension and torsion springs are tempered (hardened) steel that comes either in plain cold-rolled, painted, oil soaked, or galvanized. When the garage door is closed position these springs are under very extreme tension and can be dangerous causing injury.
Overtime, or during the later stages of the life cycles, springs will start to fatigue, and will eventually start stretching and or break, usually releasing its spring load with loud bang. Most homeowners, if you are at home, hear the spring break and usually unable to find where the noise came from until you try to operate your garage door the next time.
On the average I see a 10k life cycle spring last around 7 to 10 years depending on how often you use your door. Anything over 10 years is a bonus. For instance, if you average about two cycles per day, opening and closing the door a total of four times as you come and go, then the life expectancy becomes 2500 days, or approximately seven years. If you have children that drive or more adults with vehicles, then you tend to cycle the door even more frequently, which in turn needing a spring replacement even sooner.
Because standard lift torsion springs are winding “up” when the door is closing or going down, the fully closed position is the most stressful on the steel spring material and therefore the most likely the time of breakage. This can be an advantage; because failure near the top-of-travel means that you unexpectedly have a large heavy door coming down and crashing against the floor with the increased weight from the spring breakage. As a rule of thumb, and for safety reasons, you should never be standing or walking under the door when it is in operation, especially if you do so manually instead of with an electric opener. Also automatic door operators will provide additional safety if and when the spring breaks during the door movement.
When the springs are working perfectly, the door appears pretty near weightless, but this is an illusion that turns into a disaster when the springs suddenly fail.
Caution: If you need to make once a year adjustments to the springs or repair the door, we recommend using a trained garage door technician to do your annual tune-ups.