A broken garage door spring means your door is completely incapable of operating. It can also be dangerous if anyone is nearby when it happens, since the springs are under a lot of tension and can cause injury when they snap. The following guide can help you catch problems early so you can arrange for a replacement.
The Types of Springs
Garage doors have one of two types of springs. It's important to know what type of springs your doors use, along with their locations, so that you can properly locate them for a visual inspection.
Torsion springs are long, heavy
springsthat stretch along the wall just above the garage door, connecting to the opener rail that runs along the ceiling. These are the least common spring type, since they are typically reserved for large or heavy doors.
Extension springs stretch perpendicular to the door, from the door to one of the rails that supports the door. A door may only have a spring on only one side of the door or on both sides, depending on the weight of the door. Extension springs, either single or double, are the most common type.
Signs of Impending Breakage
There are some signs that a spring is nearing the end of its life. The most obvious is a door that won't open or close. In the case of dual extension springs, one side may refuse to move. A single extension spring or a torsion spring door typically won't move at all or will have trouble moving. A visual inspection each time you use the door can be the most revealing. If the spring appears bent or warped, or is otherwise not coiled tightly and evenly, it is time for replacement.
Choosing New Springs
Garage door springs are sold with a life cycle rating, which will effectively tell you how long the springs should last. Since breakage can be dangerous, it is usually in your best interest to choose the springs with the longest life cycle. If your door is fitted with more than one spring, it is best to have them all replaced at the same time. Usually, if one is about to go the other isn't far behind, plus replacing both at once ensures the tension on the door remains correct. Once installed, maintain both extension and torsion springs yearly by lubricating them with a silicone lubricant – but apply it when the door is closed and the springs are under minimal tension.
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