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Broken Garage Door Spring - What To Do?

Updated on April 14, 2010

It's early in the morning and you're fast asleep. Suddenly, a loud noise wakes you. Climbing out of bed you search for the source, but finding nothing wrong you return to your warm bed. It isn't until later that morning when, entering your garage to leave the house, you see it. The broken spring on your garage door.

Broken Garage Door Spring? - You're Not Alone

So your garage door spring is broken and you need to get to get to work or get the kids to school. Of all the luck, you think, this had to happen to you today. You may feel like your the first person this has happened to, but garage door springs are one of the most called on repairs in the garage door industry.

Garage door springs support the entire weight of the garage door. The springs are wound or stretched under pressure, tightening and loosening as you close and open the garage door. It's the garage door springs, not the garage door opener, that supports and lifts the 300 plus pounds of weight of the garage door.

Like anything else under pressure, eventually your springs will break. Don't worry, you aren't the first person this has happened too. Garage door springs break all the time, and especially now that it's getting colder out

So what do you now? Read on!

Repairing Your Garage Door Springs - The 4 Step Processes

Step 1 - Get your car out of the garage

First, you probably need to get your car out of the garage. Pull the red emergency release cord located above the door to enable you to manually lift the door. Be careful, the garage door will be heavier since the spring is what renders the door weight neutral. If it's too difficult to open yourself have a neighbor or a family member help you. If you accidentally drop the door while lifting it DO NOT try to stop the door with your foot. A 300 pound wall dropping on your foot is going to ruin your day.

Step 2 - Identify Your Spring

Next identify which type of garage door spring you have: Extension or Torsion.

A torsion spring runs across a bar at the top of the inside of the garage door. The spring is wound and under immense tension. It's the tension of the torsion spring that lifts the weight of the garage door.

Extension springs are on either side of the door, perpendicular to it. These springs act like big, steel rubber bands, stretching as the garage door is lowered. The natural tendency of the stretched spring is to lift the door.

Torsion and extension springs exert a force equal to the weight of your garage door. This counter balances the 200 to 300 pound garage door rendering it weight neutral so it can be easily opened. If your garage door springs break you can still manually open the door, you just need to exert that much more force to open it.

Step 3 - Buy New Springs

Now that you know what type of spring you have, you need to purchase new ones.

You'll want to replace all of your garage door springs at the same time. Why? Typically garage door springs are installed at the same time. Having undergone similar aging and weathering, one broken garage door spring is a sign that the second one will soon break too. Of course you could wait until the other spring breaks but then you'll need to go through the hassle of repairing a broken spring again. Additionally, having a new and old spring on your garage door throws off the balance of the door. You'll quickly burn out the motor on your garage door opener and have more problems.

Where do you buy garage door springs? You can find them at your local hardware store such as Home Depot or Ace Hardware, or online. Prices will vary from a few dollars to over $150, depending on the type of spring, size, quality, coating, and cycles. The last three are important to consider as they will determine how soon your going to need to replace your springs again.

Step 4 - Installation

Installing your new garage door springs is not only a lengthy and complicated process, but potentially dangerous. Remember, garage door springs are wound and under tension. You need to make sure you have the right tools before you even begin the job. A few of them you'll need are:

  • two 10 inch vise grips
  • adjustable wrench
  • two 1/2" x 18" winding bars
  • ladder
  • rag
  • ruler
  • socket wrench and sockets
  • good lighting
  • safety glasses

Now the process of actually going about changing the springs is, as you'd imagine, very detailed. And as it's a serious job I don't want to summarize it here into bullet points. In a future post, I will go into explaining the actual steps, but for now a quick Google search will pull up some great step by step tutorials. Be warned, this job is very serious and requires a good deal of time and patience. These springs are wound under pressure, you don't want to rush through or do it haphazardly.

This is too complicated. I don't have time for this!

Most people don't have the time or inclination to replace their broken garage door spring themselves. I myself have way too much to do elsewhere in my house than fiddle with something that could potentially maim me. That's why I called a chicago garage door repair company to come handle the job.

If you do decide to tackle the job yourself, please be careful and do full research before starting. An extra hour of reading will more than make up for the frustration and pain if you make a mistake. Good luck!


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    • profile image

      Another123 

      21 months ago

      Assuming you can not lift the door even with help (door in manual mode with slide disengaged from track), and assuming you have access to the garage (I had to go in via a window!) and a car there, use car jack to jack up the door in steps. Jack goes onto inner door bracket, jack as far as possible. Add blocks to keep door up to that point. Jack again using blocks under jack to gain more height again. Keep doing. As door curls onto track, it will become easier to lift to full open. Or, leave it with a couple of feet open so service person can get in for repair. He/she will have to lower the door to expose the broken spring, via jacking door down or via block tackle system hooked to door track arm and solid beam or hard point in garage.

    • profile image

      Mark Hopson 

      23 months ago

      I commented on a post similar to this earlier today. Basically it's really important that you know what you're doing with the springs as they can "bounceback" on you. I've had it happen a few times. If you were looking to hire a pro like me, it would run about $125 so you can weigh it out if that's something you would want to pay for. I hope that helps! Mark from http://www.TheGarageRepairExperts.com

    • profile image

      Oren Linder 

      2 years ago

      Very effective and useful tips to fix the broken garage door spring. No doubt it’s complicated and sometime it can prove dangerous to fix without having right knowledge. One can fix it easily if got right tools otherwise I would like to prefer a garage door professional to get it done. I found this article also useful http://asapgaragedoorsrepair.com/garge-door-spring...

    • profile image

      Willium Brock 

      2 years ago

      I never thought it would be this much easier to replace my garage door springs myself , sure do require a bit of patience but a very handy guide to replace garage doors spring . Got my replacement from

      http://www.firstcoastgaragedoor.com/springs/

    • profile image

      Mike Lintro 

      3 years ago

      I didn't realize how much a difference garage door springs made until mine broke last month. I don't even know how it broke. I suspect it has something to do with my son hanging on it. Luckily it didn't happen while someone was underneath it, because it did come crashing down after going up about a foot. Until I get it fixed, I will probably just leave it closed. It is way to heavy to lift up on a daily basis. http://www.centralfloridagaragedoors.com/services....

    • profile image

      Johnk875 

      4 years ago

      Can you add a Blackberry template? This web page is tricky to read otherwise for those of us browsing with cell phones. Otherwise, in the event you can place a RSS link up, that would be good also. eadkbkgfecak

    • hcroyo profile image

      hcroyo 

      6 years ago

      thanks for this =)

    • profile image

      heidiho 

      6 years ago

      I could give a hoot about garage door springs. I'm here just to look at Frank Fausto.

    • FrankFausto profile image

      FrankFausto 

      7 years ago from Newark

      Useful. Thanks!

    • PaulaK profile image

      Paula Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Austin. Texas

      A useful hub! Thanks for the write!

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