Today we are going to go over why garage door springs break, what to do when they do break, and how you can prevent your springs from breaking. Take a look below:
Why springs break
Typically, garage door springs—whether they come with the door or are purchased as replacements—have an average lifecycle of 7 to 10 thousand uses. That may sound like a lot, but for some families, it isn’t.
Ultimately, how much you use your garage door will affect how long your spring or springs last. Some homeowners use the front or side doors to enter and exit their homes. Other families use the garage door as their main hub, opening and closing it multiple times per day rather than using a door. Families that use their garage door or doors in that way will find that their spring’s lifecycle is gone through much quicker than someone who uses doors.
More than age, rust, weather, or any of the other factors that impact the condition of your springs, how many cycles the spring goes through will determine its lifespan. Once you pass that normal lifespan in cycles, it’s a guessing game as to how much longer it will be before the spring breaks or needs to be replaced. Most people replace both springs at the same time because it’s impossible to know when the other spring will break. You save yourself aggravation, time, and money by replacing both springs at the same.
What to do when a spring breaks
Your spring has broken: now what?
If you have a torsion spring (the type that wind up on a shaft), there isn’t much you can do until you get the spring replaced. Though not always, torsion springs are typically used on heavier doors. With a broken torsion spring, it will be difficult to open your garage door—even with the help of a few people. Use extreme caution if you try to open the door, as you no longer have the support of a spring helping you.
Extension springs (the type that stretch and are on each side of the garage door) can be another story. When one extension spring breaks, you and a friend may be able to get the door open as you still have the support of another spring. Again, it’s best to exercise caution and not do this more than you have to. As a temporary measure to get your car out of the garage, however, opening the door is more of an option than it is with a broken torsion spring.
The best thing you can do is call a professional and be certain you don’t do anything unsafe in the interim. With torsion springs, it’s best to have a trained expert assess the situation and explain how to proceed.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to prevent springs from breaking other than use your door less. If using the door less is not an option, we suggest going to a higher cycle spring than was originally sent with the door. This will work only with torsion spring doors. Yes, they are a little more expensive, but you can jump to 30,000 cycles at a surprisingly minimal cost, and triple your spring life cycle.
Lightly oiling your torsion springs can help prevent rust and should make for a smoother running door. What’s more, oiling your rollers, tracks, and hinges can help ensure smooth operation and ensure nothing gets hung up. Finally, having your door properly balanced by a professional (who can also make sure you have the right spring for your application) can help as well.
Can you install a spring on your own?
This all depends on the door and your level of comfort. Smaller doors and/or single-car garages tend to be easier because they have extension springs. Adventurous DIYers may find that they can replace an extension spring with the help of a friend. Remember, though: you’re dealing with springs under great tension that can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Torsion springs are another story entirely. They require special tools, are under more tension, and are in general much more dangerous to install if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s always better to err on the side of caution. A professional installer from Omaha Door & Window can help ensure your door is working as it should.
Photo credit: Overhead Door Company of Southwest Georgia