How Do You Know When a Garage Door Spring Is Broken?
Broken springs are one of the most common reasons why garage doors fail. If your garage door isn’t working properly, it could be that you have a broken spring.
But what are garage door springs, and how can you tell if you’re having an issue with them? Perhaps even more importantly, what can be done about them?
To answer these questions, consider the comprehensive guide below. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about broken garage door springs — what they are, how to tell if they’re broken, and the best way to fix them.
What is a Garage Door Spring?
The garage door spring proves to be an integral part to your garage door’s opening mechanism. Without a functioning spring, it’s likely that you wouldn’t be able to open your door at all.
This is because garage door springs help shoulder the torque required to open your garage door. It also helps it close smoothly without falling.
Because of this, a broken garage door spring can spell trouble. In fact, as you may be able to imagine, a broken spring can lead to more than just inconvenient situations. An uncontrollable garage door can cause serious injuries or accidents, so it’s important to address any issues that you may be having rather quickly.
With that in mind, do note that not all garage door springs are the same. Instead, there are two main types of springs. Let’s view each of them in turn.
Extension springs are notable in the fact that they require a safety cable in order to function well. These lightweight springs are likely unable to bear the tension of a heavy garage door on their own. Instead, a safety cable helps shoulder the weight, minimizing the risk that a garage door spring will break and cause the door to fall.
These springs are placed perpendicular to the garaged door and are not mounted to any sort of rod.
Torsion springs, however, do require mounting on a rod to work. This rod is placed above the door opening and runs parallel to the garage door.
In this case, torsion springs are attached to cables that wind and unwind the spring as the door opens and closes. When the door closes, the springs receive tension from a turning pulley that helps ease the door down. On the other hand, as the door is lifted, the coils begin to unwind, and the tension relaxes.
How Long Do Garage Door Springs Last?
The lifespan of garage door springs depends largely on how often they are used. For this reason, doors that are open and closed more frequently typically have a higher probability of suffering a broken spring.
Typically speaking, springs come in “10,000-use” and “20,000-use” varieties. These uses refer to the number of times one can reasonably expect to engage and disengage the spring before it gives out. Importantly, homeowners should be aware that these general guidelines may not always be followed exactly. For this reason, it’s important that homeowners know how to determine when a garage door spring is broken. By catching the signs of a broken door spring early, one may prevent serious accidents and a worsening situation in the future.
How Do You Know When a Garage Door Spring Is Broken?
If you’re here, you’re likely experiencing issues with your garage door. But are they related to your garage door spring?
There are several indicators that your spring may be the issue. One of the most common is that your door won’t lift but a few inches off the ground. Though frustrating, this actually helps to keep you and your loved ones safe. This built-in safety feature is almost a sure-fire giveaway that you’re having issues with your door spring. Be thankful for it, however, as it prevents any unfortunate accidents — such as your garage door falling on your car as you back out.
With that in mind, however, there are several other signs that your garage door spring may be broken. Take a look at five of the most common signs below.
- Your Garage Is Noisy
Is your door making strange noises? Does it sound broken? It’s likely because of your garage door spring.
Though springs aren’t the only things that can make your garage door sound funny, they are among the most common. For this reason, if you’ve noticed your door making strange sounds, it might be time to have the springs professionally inspected.
Additionally, if you’re around when your garage door breaks, you may hear a loud crashing noise. This sound comes as the springs give way and unwind inside the garage door. This can often be a loud and frightening sound — especially if you’re home alone. In this case, this noise is more particular to a broken garage door spring, so homeowners who hear this should have a general idea of what’s going on with their door.
- Your Garage Door Falls When Shutting
One of the more serious signs that your garage door spring may be broken is if your door no longer eases to a close.
If your spring is broken, it’s likely that you will notice that when shutting your door, it generally comes crashing down. This can be a potential safety hazard — and one of the main reasons that you should get your door spring replaced as soon as possible.
This results from your door spring no longer being able to carry the weight of your garage door. When this happens, the door’s mechanisms become unable to slowly and safely close the door.
If you’re experiencing these issues, it’s best not to take chances. There may come a time when the garage door springs are unable to bear any more of the weight, making it an extremely dangerous situation for those inside the garage or passing under the door.
For this reason, be sure to contact a professional as soon as possible if you notice this symptom in your door at home.
- Your Garage Door Is Bent
Another tell-tale sign that your garage door spring may be broken is if your door is bent at the top. This can be a more unreliable method to tell for some, as not all doors will bend. However, if they do, it’s generally a good sign that you’re having issues with your garage door springs.
This results from your door’s opening mechanism attempting to lift the door without the help of your springs. When this happens, the door is unable to bear the weight, causing many to bend at the top.
- The Spring Has a Gap
Those wishing to check and see definitively if their garage door springs are broken can check the spring itself. Torsion springs that are broken will have a gap in them, making it incredibly easy to identify them as a problem.
With this in mind, however, do note that checking your springs on your own can be extremely dangerous. Because these springs can be under a high amount of tension, it’s best not to touch them with your fingers or get any part of your body close to them. This can help prevent serious accidents.
- The Garage Door Doesn’t Move Smoothly
Finally, if your garage door spring is broken, you may notice that it’s not moving as smoothly as it once did.
As you may be able to tell by now, this results from the fact that your garage door’s mechanism is unable to smoothly operate without working springs. This can cause your door to move in a jerk-like motion that looks as dangerous as it is.
If you notice this going on with your door, make sure that you seek help immediately. It’s not a good idea to continue using your door in this state, as the bit of strength your springs have left may break at any time. When this happens, you could be placing you and your loved ones at risk if they are passing under the door.
Remember that the only way that you can ensure that your door will be shutting safely is by having usable garage door springs. Without them, there’s always a chance that your garage door will fall under its own weight. Because these garage doors may weigh 200 pounds or more, it’s best that you avoid any risky situations. Additionally, keep in mind that these springs typically tend to break when under high pressure. This means that it’s much more likely to break while open than it is while closed.
For this reason, it’s important that homeowners heed warning signs that indicate a garage door spring is about to go.
With this in mind, let’s consider why garage door springs may break in the first place and whether there are any steps you can take that can help you keep them healthier for longer.
What Causes Garage Door Springs to Break?
There are a few natural causes that may result in your garage door spring breaking. However, for the most part, these causes can be attributed to one overarching problem: a lack of proper maintenance.
Natural wear and tear plays an important role in the degradation of your garage door springs. Though this wearing down of your garage door springs is inevitable, there are some steps you can take to keep them healthier longer.
The good news is that maintaining your garage door springs isn’t very difficult, and it doesn’t require much of an investment from you. By performing this maintenance every few months, you can help extend the life-span of your springs. Remember, these springs typically come labeled with a number of uses that they’re good for. By keeping up with the proper maintenance techniques, you can help make the most of this lifespan as possible.
So what steps can you take to do this?
Consider the information below.
- Garage Door Lubricant
By far one of the most common means of keeping your garage door springs healthy is spraying them with Garage Door Lubricant. Remember, because your door springs are under high tension, it’s best that you don’t touch them with your body parts.
However, by keeping your springs oiled with garage door lubricant, you can minimize the wear and tear they receive with every use. This will help ensure that your door is operating smoothly.
- Maintain the Proper Garage Door Balance
It’s also important to remember that your garage door springs are part of a larger system. If there is a flaw in the system that causes your garage door to be off balance, this can negatively affect your springs. Over time, this will accumulate more stress on your springs, causing them to give out faster than you expect.
For this reason, make sure that you are testing your door’s balance every few months. This can easily be done by opening the door halfway. If you notice that it begins to close or sag — especially on one side — you may already have a problem with the springs or with the door. By identifying this early, you’ll be better able to maintain the functionality of your door.
- Take Extra Care in the Winter
Another precaution that can help save your springs is by making sure that you take extra care of them in the winter. When it gets cold out, your springs are especially vulnerable to breaking, as the cold will cause the springs’ metal to harden and contract.
When this happens, they’ll be placed under more pressure, making it more likely that they will break. Make sure that you don’t miss your cleaning and lubricating in the winter months, as this can help ensure that the springs are functioning to their highest level, despite the cold.
Again, however, despite all your best efforts, there will come a day when your springs give out. When this happens, you should determine a plan of action so that you can restore your door’s functionality as safely as possible.
Should You Try to Fix a Garage Door Spring by Yourself?
With this in mind, let’s consider one final question: should you try to fix your garage door spring by yourself?
You may hear conflicting information on this, but our recommendation is that unless you’re an expert, you leave it to the professionals. Trying to fix your garage door spring can be a dangerous process, as these springs can be under high amounts of pressure and tension.
Because of this, it’s important that only those who are trained to handle them safely work with them. Keep in mind that if you’re looking to fix your broken garage door springs, you’ll need to replace them in full. This is because springs cannot simply be repaired.
For this reason, many homeowners find the easiest option is to hire a professional garage door repair service to replace the springs for them.
At Garage Door Repair DFW, we have the highly-trained, expert staff that you can count on to get the job done. Our proven-effective garage door repair services have helped families across the Fort Worth, Dallas, Texas Areas.
Our timely and effective services can have your garage door up and working in as little as one day — saving you time and hassle.
If you suspect that your garage door springs may be broken, it’s time to call in the experts.