All About Springs

Why Garage Door Springs Break

Most garage door springs are rated for about 10,000 cycles (your garage door opening once and closing again is one cycle). And that’s when they’re installed properly. Here are some reasons garage door springs break.

Normal Torsion Spring Wear and Tear

If you were to average two cycles per day, that comes to 730 cycles in a year. Add to that two more cycles each day if another person in your home is coming and going as well. Now add even more if you and your family regularly use the garage door as the main entrance to your home. Those cycles can add up fast.

Rust Buildup

It’s easy for rust to accumulate on the springs of your garage door when there’s a leak. Some people may not think a leak in the garage is as problematic as one inside the home and it’s easy to see why someone may think that. You’re not in your garage nearly as much as your home. However, that leak can cause some pretty serious damage and rust can form quickly. There is also more moisture in your garage than in your home.  That moisture can condense on a cold metal spring and cause it to rust.  That rust creates friction in your garage door springs, creating the perfect condition for it to break.

Weather Changes

When temperatures start to drop (especially when it gets really cold really quickly), it can affect your garage door springs. The chilly air can make the springs more brittle. Especially when they’re already a bit worn, that can cause your springs to break.  On the flip side, a fast warming can also cause a break.

How to Know a Garage Door Spring is Broken

Unfortunately, when a garage door spring breaks, you’ll know in a couple clear ways.

Hard to Open the Garage

Whether your garage door spring is on the verge of breaking or has actually broken, you may notice that your garage has suddenly become difficult to open. It also may start to get shaky when opening and closing. If you press “open” and it only raises a few inches, it’s likely because the opener safety cutoff is preventing it from opening all the way.  While you may be annoyed at first, this is actually saving your garage door (and garage door opener) from getting damaged.

Door Seems to Fall When Closing

Your garage door may actually seem to be falling when you’re closing it if a spring is broken or about to break. If your door seems to be shaky and slow on the way up and look like it’s falling on the way down, that’s likely the culprit. This is due to the fact that the spring is struggling to lift it and the weight of the door is too great for the spring on the way down.

Loud Sound in the Garage

If you’re anywhere near your garage when your spring breaks, you’ll hear it. Torsion springs are tightly wound and when they break, they unwind in under a second. The sound is a loud BANG!  Not to worry, no one is trying to break in.  You might want to check the premises but you won’t find anything except one of your torsion springs with a split in it.  I have posted a pic of a broken spring and also what a normal spring is supposed to look like.

Garage Door Won’t Open

The biggest sign that you have a broken spring is that your garage door simply refuses to open. This is because the spring has lost the tension needed to pull the door up. This is usually the most obvious sign of a broken spring.

Preventing Broken Garage Door Springs?

Nope, it happens to everyone!  Even though the service life of a garage door spring is about 10,000 cycles, there are ways to help it make it to that number and even prolong its life.  It is also possible to order higher cycle springs to last longer without breaking.  Here we go:

Checking Door Balance

Making sure your garage door is balanced is key in keeping it in tip-top shape and protecting its springs. When a door is off-balance, the springs have to work overtime to lift and lower it. This creates undue strain for the springs and garage door opener. It’s fairly easy to test the balance of your garage door. Release the door from the opener and open it by hand.  It should stay approximately 2-3 feet from the floor without falling back down. If it doesn’t stay, time for a service call so we can adjust properly.

Keep Garage Door Springs Lubricated

Keep in mind that the garage door is the largest moving part in your home. Its tracks, rollers, springs, and hinges should be well-lubricated so they can function well into the future. Plus, when these parts are lubricated, they’re far less noisy – your garage door shouldn’t be shaking and making grinding sounds.

Call Us for Service and Disclaimer

NEVER attempt to repair a broken garage door spring on your own, no matter how easy a DIY blog or YouTube video made it seem. If you’re not a professionally trained garage door technician, you can seriously injure yourself and anyone around you. I have been called ‘after the fact’ more times than I can count – and it is NOT pretty.  If you believe a spring is broken and it isn’t, you could end up impaled by it. If you remove something incorrectly, the garage door could fall on you. While I have not heard of it personally, it is possible to be killed working on these. We have years of experience in inspecting, maintaining, and repairing garage doors safely, so give us a call to do the dirty work for you.  Michael – 814-602-4751