Everything You Need To Know About Garage Door Springs!


Garage door springs are among the most important parts of the garage door system. We usually take them for granted until the day they break. Having your car stuck inside of your garage can be very frustrating. Getting to know how springs work will help you make the right choices when it comes to handling this rather inconvenient problem. Here you have the insights of what you need to know to understand better your garage door spring system.

"Garage door springs do most of the work of lifting your door regardless of the door being manually or automatically
operated. When properly adjusted you should be able to lift the door with one hand and minimum effort. "

What type of garage door springs do I have?

Spring and winding bars

Garage door springs come in two main types: Torsion and Extension. If your door has the springs running parallel to the horizontal tracks on the sides of the door then you have extension springs. If your springs are located directly above the door opening, those are torsion springs.

Both types springs are loaded under a lot of tension when the door is in the closed position, and they hold some tension when all the way up in the open position. This variable tension allows the door to be properly balanced in all opening and closing stages, allowing you or your garage door opener to open and close the door easily.

Torsion Springs

Depending on your door you may have one torsion spring on the center, or two right next to each other or on each side of the door. They are installed in the torsion shaft or torsion tube. This shaft is responsible for transmitting the springs lifting power to the door via the torsion cables. In other words, torsion springs are designed to help maintain the tension necessary to open and close the door effortlessly.

Torsion springs and bearing
Installed garage door springs

Most torsion springs have a standard rating of 10,000+ cycles. The door going up and down is considered one cycle. Consequently life expectancy of garage door springs that are installed in a door that opens and closes 3 times a day is around 10 years. If your garage door sees a lot of use and your springs are not lasting long enough, a good solution would be installing extended cycle springs. Lubricating the springs at least twice a year will also reduce the normal wear and tear and help extend the springs lifespan.

Extension Springs

Extension Spring

This type of springs relies on stretch tension to accommodate the door opening and closing. A common issue with extension springs system is your door going up and down on an angle or crooked, sometimes not even being able to complete each task and stopping half way. This happens when both springs are adjusted at a different tension, because of wrong handling or regular wear and tear. If the springs are in good shape, they can be re-adjusted properly to continue to work as normal. In case the springs are stretched (notice gaps in between threads when the spring is in resting position) or snapped (spring split in two parts) then they will need to be replaced.

Of all the parts in this system, one that should not go unseen are the extension springs safety cables. They run inside the extension springs and are attached on both ends to garage door brackets. Their main function is to protect the spring from bouncing dangerously all around your garage in case the garage door spring brakes, putting your family and possessions at risk. In case you don't have safety cables, or you are interested in checking the safety standards of your garage door, contact us for a garage door tune up!

Safety Cables

Wayne Dalton Torquemaster System

These springs are made specifically for safety purposes and are enclosed on the inside of the torsion shaft. This type of springs cycles rating it's a bit lower than conventional torsion springs. Therefore you should expect having to replace this type of spring more often than with conventional systems.

Wayne Dalton torquemaster sytem

"If you've ever been told that you have to replace your springs after a certain amount of time, even if they are not broken, ignore it." (Click to tweet)

Do I need to replace my springs after a certain amount of time?

Torsion Springs Replacement

If you've ever been told that you have to replace your springs after a certain amount of time, even if they are not broken, ignore it. There is no reliable rule to measure how long the spring will last or any recommended time of replacement. The lifespan of the springs are determined by the amount of times the door is opened and closed, and not by the time they've been installed. You should expect standard springs to last 10,000 plus cycles.

Are my garage door springs broken?

Arrow pointing garage door spring gap

A common indication that your springs are broken is that the door simply won't open or will close faster than usual. It will also be considerably heavier than normal. If you have a broken spring you will notice a 2 to 3 inches gap around the middle of it. If that's the case you need a spring replacement. 

Brand new garage door springs

If you have a dual torsion spring system, we always recommend replacing both springs at the same time. They are usually installed in pairs, and wear and tear works on both springs in a similar way. When the first spring brakes, we know for sure that the second one is no far from breaking as well.

I highly recommend to leave torsion springs replacement to an experienced professional. The spring system is under a considerable amount of tension and if you don't have the proper equipment and knowledge to perform the job safely, you are placing yourself at risk of serious injuries. Call us now for a free estimate!

Hardware and Maintenance

Torsion Springs Hardware

Garage door spring system hardware is as important as springs, therefore each one of the parts has to be properly calibrated to ensure maximum performance and hardware durability. That is to say proper maintenance is mandatory to guarantee hardware durability. One of the most common issues with torsion springs hardware is broken cables. It is very important to keep the cables lubricated to prevent rust form wearing out the cable threads. A broken cable can cause serious damage, in some cases pushing the door off track and bending panels.  If you are concerned about your garage door safety standards and want to have it checked, click HERE to book an appointment.

Torsion Cables

Broken Torsion Cables

In this image you can see the two main ways how torsion cables usually break. The cable in the left picture got stuck with the door panels due to a poorly calibrated door. The one on the left picture is missing part of the cable due to rust wear and tear.

Torsion Cables Calibration

Garage door drum and cable

To ensure the garage door moves up and down smoothly, the key secret is in the torsion cables adjustment. Both cables need to be calibrated with the exact same tension on each side of the door. Otherwise the door would start presenting calibration issues, for example: cables off drums, the door going up and down in an angle, stopping in random spots going up or down.

Garage door restow cable

Even if your garage door system is brand new, when your garage door is not properly balanced, things like this are likely occur. That's why is always advised to have a professional technician perform garage doors system calibrations at least twice a year. Preventive maintenance will save you a lot of headaches! (Click to Tweet)

Closing Statements

If you made it this far, you now have a better understanding of how garage door springs work. Most importantly you are ready to make better decisions when it comes to your garage door maintenance. If you have any questions or requests you can live them on the comment section. 

Hope you've enjoyed this guide, please like and share and let us know if you want us to add any content!

Marcos Infantino


Infantinos garage door service logo

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