GARAGE DOOR SPRING REPAIR
Let's Talk Springs
So you've walked out to your garage and go to open the door like you have a thousand times prior, however, this time the door only goes up an inch or two before stopping cold in its tracks. You try again, the door goes back down, then up 2 inches and stops again. You're going to be late for work so you go ahead and pull the emergency release and attempt to open the door manually however you find it to be extremely heavy, and even if you do manage to get the door up, if you step away it will immediately come crashing back down to the ground. What is going on you might ask?
Odds are, you're experiencing one of the most common issues nearly any garage door owner will run into at least once; a broken spring.
The goal of this page is to better inform you of what happened, why your door is no longer working, and what options you have in terms of repair. First, lets go ahead and figure out what kind of springs are on your door so you can better identify repair options.
Torsion springs are typically found directly above your garage door and will have a long 1" diameter tube that runs through them that runs the entire width of your garage door and then some. Torsion springs are the ideal garage door lifting system for many reasons, and because of the numerous benefits they offer, they are typically the most common garage door springs found in residential homes. Some garages that deal with low headroom may have their torsion springs mounted to the rear instead of above the door.
Unlike torsion springs, which are usually found above your garage door, extension springs are found above your door's horizontal track on each side. When your garage door is shut, they are stretched out reaching from your doors rear hangs towards the garage door. Extension springs are often found on older homes, and typically are only installed on single car garage doors, but they can be found on double car garage doors as well.
Torque-Master lifting systems are sometimes difficult for people to identify, but they are extremely common in residential homes much like torsion springs. Torque-Master lifting systems are manufactured by a company called Wayne Dalton, who also manufactures garage doors. If your garage door is a Wayne Dalton door, there is a good chance it's being lifted via a Torque-Master. These systems are great from an installation simplicity standpoint, however also come with many drawbacks when repairs are needed.
How To Identify A Broken Garage Door Spring
One of the many great things about torsion spring lifting systems is how easy it is to confirm a spring is broken. Simply take a look above your garage door and see if your spring is still in one piece. If you have a double car garage door, there is a good chance you have 2 springs above your door that are mounted together in the middle via a center mounting plate. If you notice only one of your two springs is broken, don't think it's still okay to operate the door! Each spring plays a vital role in lifting your garage door and trying to operate a door with a broken spring can result in other parts failing or even severe injury. Should you find yourself with a broken torsion spring it is recommended you call a professional, as replacement requires specialty tools and proper identification of what size of spring to replace the broken one with.
Broken extension springs thankfully are also relatively easy to diagnose. Simply looking at the spring to verify it is still in one piece is a quick and easy way to see if yours is broken. If your extension springs were installed semi-recently, they will have a safety cable that is running through them. When your extension spring breaks this cables job is to ensure a piece of the spring doesn't go shooting off into your garage as it could lead to serious damage or injury. If your door has these safety cables, you'll typically find both pieces of the spring easily. If your door does not have safety cables, it is highly recommended and required by some, that they be installed when you replace the spring. Extension springs may also become warped as seen in the photo above, in which case replacement is also recommended ASAP.
It can be difficult to diagnose a broken spring on a Torque-Master, and can often times go unnoticed and cause many other issues with the door the longer the problem exists unknown. Since Torque-Masters have their springs inside of a metal tube they aren't visible unless you disassemble the entire system. The first thing you should do when diagnosing a broken Torque-Master spring is check the tension of the cables that run along the sides of the door. If the cables are taught, move on to the next step. If they are loose however, you likely have a broken spring or two. If your cables are taught however, the easiest way to tell if you have a broken spring is to, with the door down, disconnect it from your opener (if equipped) and try and lift the door manually. The door should go up with ease and stay in place when you let go of it. If it doesn't, then a broken spring is a likely culprit.
How To Repair Your Broken Spring
You've confirmed you have a broken spring, now what? (Hint: Call The Pro's)
We often take for granted the complicity of our garage doors and how much engineering has gone into being able open and close an entire wall of our home. Don't let the memory of how light your garage door was when you opened it manually once last summer lead you to believe that it is a simple and safe system that you can repair yourself. Are we saying it's impossible? No, it is possible for you to repair your garage door yourself, we've all become specially trained YouTube contractors at one point or another. What we are trying to make clear here, is that WE DON'T RECOMMEND YOU TRY THIS REPAIR YOURSELF. Garage doors weigh a lot, and have tons of potential energy stored in their lifting systems. Trying to repair one without the right tools and knowledge can easily end in disaster. What you read below is simply an outline of what to expect when you call Maynards out to repair your broken spring. We don't charge trip fee's for numerous reasons, one of which is we hope you will call us to at least provide you with a quote before deciding to tackle the repair yourself. You might be surprised at how affordable the repair is with us.
Replacing A Torsion Spring
Replacing a torsion spring involves first removing any remaining torsion from your garage door before disassembling the spring system and removing the old broken spring. Failure to remove any and all torsion from the garage door before beginning the work is likely to cause injury and/or more damage to your home. Torsion can still exist if there are multiple springs on your door and not all of them have broken, or if your spring broke while the door was not on the ground and caused the door to "crash" and become stuck. If your door does have multiple torsion springs, it is often recommended to replace them all at the same time. The reason being, springs are given a "cycle rating", which translates to, "approximately how many times can this spring open and close a garage door before breaking". And since the springs have all opened and closed the door the same number of times, it is not uncommon that the others break shortly after the first one.
After removing your old spring from the door, we will take multiple measurements that tell us how strong the old spring was and how much lifting power it provided. It is key to match the original manufacture recommended lifting strength to ensure the door and your opener operate properly. It is also vital to at this point inspect the other parts of your garage door to ensure everything else is in proper working order such as bearings, cables, drums, rollers etc. If our technicians find anything of concern during this inspection they will convey that news to you and offer a repair solution. Once we have figured out what springs are needed for the repair, we will begin to reassemble the torsion spring system. This involves mounting the new springs to the torsion tube before mounting them to the wall via a mounting bracket. It is then crucial to balance the door by creating even tension in your doors cables to ensure that when the door goes up, it goes straight up. After this is done it's time to wind the new springs. The number of winds to put into your spring will vary depending on the size of your garage door. Not enough winds, your door will be too heavy and the cables may come off completely when opened for the first time causing a very dangerous situation. To many winds and the door will be too light and can shoot up and knock the person who was just winding the springs off their ladder and/or cause damage to the opener when the door reaches the top.
Replacing An Extension Spring
Extension springs are arguably easier to swap out than torsion or Torque-Master springs. The repair typically runs cheaper and can be done quicker by someone who knows what they are doing. However, the simplicity ends at the spring. Extension spring doors use a system of pulleys and cables that transfer the lifting power of the extended extension springs to the bottom of the door. Ensuring these systems are put back together correctly is crucial to your door functioning as it should.
Unlike torsion and Torque-Master springs, which typically are repaired while the garage door is closed, the ideal door position when replacing extension springs is with the door open. This is because when your garage door is open, the springs are under the least amount of tension and are much easier and safer to remove. Just like with torsion springs, it is recommended that you replace both extension springs at the same time. Not only may the other spring break soon, but with extension springs it is crucial that both springs provide the same amount of lifting power. Unlike torsion spring systems where the lifting power of both springs is combined and then distributed to the door, each extension spring is it's own system and is not directly connected to the other side. So even though your other spring may still be in one piece, it likely has become weaker over the years of stretching and un-stretching. If your extension springs are not providing the same amount of lift, what will typically happen is your door will shake left to right as it sort of walks itself up the rails instead of going up smoothly.
Most extension springs will be painted a specific color on one of their ends. This color indicates the lifting force of the spring and helps ensure the replacement spring provides the same lifting force that the garage door manufacturer recommends. Sometimes this paint may have worn or faded over the years which means the spring will need to be manually measured in length, interior diameter, and wire gauge to calculate which spring should replace it. Changing an extension spring requires detaching the spring from both the doors rear hang and the traveling pulley. Once that has been done, putting the new spring on is simply the reverse. If the old springs did not have safety cables installed, this would be the point where feeding the new safety cables through the new springs would take place before tying their ends off.
Replacing A Torque-Master Spring
As mentioned earlier, Torque-Masters are a great system that was designed to help make the installation of garage doors go smoothly and quickly. However, unlike the simplicity of the first install, there is nothing simple about their repair. Unlike the two other lifting systems mentioned on this page, the springs on a Torque-Master are not visible. They instead are hidden inside of the metal tube that runs the width of your garage door. Removing the old broken spring essentially requires taking apart the entire thing before putting it all back together again and mounting it back atop your garage door.
Torque-Master springs are much smaller then torsion and extension springs. Instead they are wound extra times when they are installed and their drums are smaller so they can provide the same lifting force as a torsion or extension spring system. However because of the spring's small size, it is not uncommon that Torque-Master springs break more often than that of torsion and extension springs. Which brings us to our recommended procedure when it comes time to repair a Torque-Master:
Get rid of it.
The process involved in replacing the spring inside of a Torque-Master involves so much extra work and labor that it typically is more economical to just purchase an entirely new Torque-Master and have it installed instead. And at that point, it makes more sense to convert your Torque-Master system to a standard torsion spring system. Doing so not only will extend the amount of time between needed repairs, it also will significantly reduce the cost of repair in the future. And if you decide to call us to perform the conversion, we back all of the new parts with a lifetime warranty, meaning the next time a spring breaks, you won't be paying for it.