Garage doors are the largest entry into your home, they are controlled by springs that can malfunction, break and be damaged. Keep reading to learn more about the signs that it’s time to repair or replace the springs and how to properly maintain them over the life of your garage door.
How to tell if there’s a problem with your garage door springs
You may first notice a broken spring when you try to lift the door and the opener is far noisier than usual. Heavier garage doors weigh hundreds of pounds. So, if one of the two springs breaks, you will probably not be able to lift it without help. It also won’t slide up or back very smoothly.
If you are unfortunate enough to be in the garage or in your home when a spring snaps under tension, it can sound like a small explosion or a gunshot. At least now you’ll know what it is if it ever happens. However, there are ways to prevent that from happening and possibly causing serious injury.
Here are other signs your springs need some TLC:
- Broken springs - If your springs are broken, they cannot be fixed and have to be replaced.
- Excessive noise - When your springs wear down, they start to squeak and whine. In this case, some lubrication is a great troubleshooting tool. If the springs still make a lot of noise after applying lubricant, it’s time to call your Above & Beyond Garage Door professionals to replace them.
- Hard to open - Tell your technician if you are having difficulty when opening the garage door. This often indicates that the springs are no longer calibrated and should be refitted.
- No safety cables - Whether you have torsion coil or extension springs, there is a safety cable to prevent injury. This is a safety measure. Install a cable immediately if it’s missing to prevent the garage door from falling on someone.
If you think the garage door spring is broken and have an automatic door opener, leave it connected. If you pull the emergency release while the door is open, there is nothing to hold the weight of the door, which can come crashing down on whoever or whatever is in its path.
In fact, to avoid this very real danger, it’s a good idea to avoid leaving the door open when a broken spring is detected. Someone could try to close it without knowing how heavy the door is and the damage it can do.
To keep the door open until you can finish repairs, block the track on both sides. Then, unplug the garage door opener. This puts a strain on the opener, so you might want to enlist some brawny friends to help you close the door manually. Consider the security risk of leaving the door propped open for an extended period, especially if there’s an entrance from the garage directly into your home.
Types of garage door springs
Your residential garage door most likely has one of two types of springs: torsion and extension.
Torsion coil springs use tension to help lift the door, which saves some energy and strain on the motor. Torsion springs are heavy, powerful springs that run parallel to the door and are directly above the opening. A twisting action places pressure on the springs during installation. This tension powers the spring when you open your garage door. When the door closes, the cable attached to the bottom of the door activates pulleys connected to a metal rod where the springs are installed. The pulleys then turn the rod to twist the springs. When you open the door, the untwisting of the springs creates the energy used to lift the door.
Extension springs counterbalance the weight of the door when it opens or closes. Extension springs are long and light-weight in comparison to torsion springs. They’re perpendicular to the garage door and above the horizontal part of the door tracks. Long cables and pulleys stretch them out to create and release tension. Extension springs are positioned between the bracket without a rod connecting them to the pulleys. This means a safety cable through each spring is required in case of an accident. If an extension spring breaks under tension, serious personal injury or property damage can occur.
If you have an older garage door that uses extension springs but doesn’t have a safety cable, install a safety cable and consider replacing the springs.
Garage door spring maintenance and repair
Inspections and adjustments
To keep your garage door springs functioning optimally, your Above & Beyond Garage Door experts include it in the annual inspection, which is the most important step you can take to keep your garage door functioning like new. If you feel that you missed something on your own inspection of all the components, call for a garage door expert to examine the springs, rods and pulleys that bear the brunt of the weight when your door opens.
Whoever conducts the inspection needs to disconnect power to the garage door opener and detach it. For torsion spring systems, use a ladder to access the torsion shaft, or long bar, that holds the spring. End brackets at either end of the shaft allow you to move the rod. Lift the garage door about a foot to make sure the shaft rotates easily. If the shaft binds up, the springs have to be removed in order to lubricate the shaft. Removing the spring is extremely dangerous and should be done by your experienced Above & Garage Door technician.
Another part of the inspection and adjustment process involves the center mounting bracket. The center bracket holds the brackets that bolt the springs together. Make sure the center bracket mounting is not loose so that the shaft can rotate smoothly. Remove any accumulated oil and debris and file the shaft if it’s rubbing along the track.
Finally, the springs have to maintain a stationary position along the center mounting bracket while the door is opened in order to function properly. If the springs shift at all, they need to be loosened and reseated, to make sure all connections are tight.
This maintenance, best performed by a professional, prolongs the life of the spring and your entire garage door system.
Lubricant is one of the main components of garage door maintenance. It’s applied to the tracks, bearings, shaft and rollers as well as to the springs in order for the garage doors to open smoothly and safely. When lubricating the springs, lubricant is placed along the entire length. Leave about an inch free of lubricant just before the winding bracket so the spring won’t unwind unintentionally.
Lubricate the bushings inside the center bracket for the springs using graphite or deep penetrating oil.
After your Above & Beyond technician finishes the inspection and adjustments, the door is opened and closed several times to distribute the lubricant. If all other maintenance steps have concluded, the opener is attached and plugged in.
Garage door replacement and installation
Consider contracting with Above & Beyond Garage Doors to let a knowledgeable professional do the job right the first time. When your garage door springs need to be replaced or installed on Long Island, it’s important to have the experience and tools needed to complete the job.
Here’s the basic process for installing garage door springs:
- Turn off power to the garage door to prevent the door from going up or down. This way the installers hands and fingers can’t get caught in the springs.
- Measure the old springs to ensure the replacement springs are the correct size.
- For extension springs, unwind the existing springs. This requires lowering the garage door. So, keep hands, tools and anything else away from the spring assembly and door opening.
- Next, new torsion or extension springs are installed and tightened with bolts or screws. The springs should be perfectly aligned and balanced, with only the necessary slack.
- Lubricate the springs.
- One of the most dangerous parts is winding up the garage door springs to prepare for testing the garage doors.
- Lubricate the garage door so it moves smoothly along the track with the help of the new springs.
- Turn on power to the garage and reattached the garage door opener, if you have one.
Should you do it yourself?
Typically, garage door spring repair and installation in Long Island is better left to your Above & Beyond Garage Door experts. There are certainly plenty of online videos and how-to articles available for intrepid homeowners. If you think you have the skill and knowledge to do the job, just put your own safety first. Remember, Above & Beyond is here for free troubleshooting advice if you get stuck or are not sure if you should proceed.
To safely take off a torsion spring, you are going to need specialized equipment. To contain the tension safely, hold the spring in place with a winding bar. Then, you can loosen it from the pulley or rod and unwind it between winding rods. Always keep in mind that the spring holds a lot of energy and that it’s dangerous until completely unwound. On the other hand, extension springs show no tension when the door is open.
It’s your decision whether you feel comfortable enough to complete the repairs yourself. Take precautions against the spring coming loose or breaking during the process. Keep in mind that your repairs will affect the cables, pulleys, cables and garage doors. Call Above & Beyond Garage Doors at today at 631-736-0369 with any questions or concerns on garage door springs maintenance, repair and installation.
Be aware at all times that removing or repairing garage springs can be really dangerous and isn’t advised for non-professionals. Hiring Above & Beyond Garage Doors to complete garage door spring installation, repair and replacement is the easy and safe option for Long Island homeowners.
Unless your springs just need a little oil and cleanup, call Above & Beyond Garage Doors at today at 631-736-0369 to set up an appointment. We’ll provide a free inspection of the garage door springs and your entire system, including your garage door opener. If you decide you would rather let us perform the needed maintenance, we’ll be happy to do so.