Garage Door Spring Replacement Guide

Garage Door Spring Replacement Guide

The garage door is the heaviest movable object of your home, weighing in the neighborhood of 400+ pounds. We put our trust in the rollers, tracks, and springs when the door cycles up and down, often with a car or a person underneath as it opens. The component that performs most of the work is a spring, and it does so under hundreds of pounds of torsion. Unfortunately these springs can often break, rendering the door immovable and trapping a car either inside or outside the garage.You should read this garage door spring replacement guide.

Most experts are adamant that garage door springs be replaced by an overhead door expert. When winding or unwinding the springs, they can snap without warning, which can result in serious injury.

When the screws of the springs are loosened, the person repairing the springs is in control of all the torsion — a process that can be intimidating to a novice DIY repairer.

The truth is, garage door springs can be repaired by a homeowner, provided all safety guidelines are followed and the proper steps are taken as required by the spring manufacturer. Getting comfortable with using a winding bar and handling the springs’ torsion is important as it will allow for balancing, adjusting, and repair as needed without the need to call a repair company and adjust to their schedule.

Make no mistake, changing the springs can be dangerous and an overhead door company should be called if the task is out of one’s comfort zone. Here are the basics of garage spring repair for those looking to tackle the task:

One Spring or Two 

The torsion spring sits above the garage on the interior, centered on an object called the torsion bar. Depending on the age of the garage door, the system can run on either a one- or two-spring system. The solo system features one long spring that controls both the left and right sides of the garage door, winding and unwinding to either open or close the door. There are some disadvantages to the solo spring system — primarily the threat of the garage door crashing down if the piece snaps. Or, the opener’s motor will begin working harder as the spring gets older.

A dual system is located on the same torsion bar but features a left and right spring that controls each side of the garage door. Visit our garage spring replacement guide to learn how to replace them. The benefit of a dual spring is that it each spring is under less stress and pressure from controlling only half the door, and if one breaks, the door won’t come crashing down.

It’s generally recommended that if a solo system spring breaks, it’s better to replace it with a dual spring system as no major modifications or changes to the setup are required.

What’s Needed?

The task of changing out the garage spring requires tools that are readily available. A 7/16” and 9/16” wrench are the only two sizes needed as well as a couple pairs of vice grips and a step ladder. Equipment that is mandatory though are winding bars, which help control the torsion as the spring is being installed and removed. Most quality spring suppliers will include the two torsion bars with purchase.

Choosing the Correct Replacement Spring 

When purchasing a new spring, measurements from the old spring must be taken to ensure the proper replacement is used. Buying any spring can result in a door flying open from too much torsion or crashing down from too little. The measurements that need to be taken include the inside diameter of the existing spring as well as the length and the wire size.

To calculate the wire size, measure 10 compressed coils and divide that length by 10. For instance 1-3/8” (1.375) would be a .1378 spring width or 2-1/2” would be a .250 spring. Having this information as well as the garage door height will help the supplier provide the correct spring system.

Prepping the Work Area

When changing springs, the garage door should be closed and the automatic opener in the ceiling unplugged to prevent accidental opening. A vice grip clamped on the door can prevent the springs from flinging the door upwards as it is being worked on.

Unwind Torsion From the Spring

If the spring has snapped, it will not need to be unwound. In a dual spring system with one spring broken, however, it is always recommended to remove and replace both units. The main part of unwinding the spring involves becoming comfortable with handling the torsion with the following steps:

  • Knowing the spring – Dual garage door springs have two sides – a stationary end located near the center and a winding end towards the outside. The winding end contains a winding cone with numerous slots where the winding bars will be placed to loosen or tighten the spring.
  • Setting the first winding bar – Make sure to wear safety glasses and work beside (not in front of) the spring for maximum safety. Set the first winding bar in the slot facing out until it clicks and move it up and down just a bit to get comfortable with the torsion. Hold the bar and loosen the 7/16” set screws so the spring can be loosened.
  • Unwind – Bring the first winding bar down and keep it held in place. Set the second winding bar in the next slot up then remove the first bar. Bring the second winding bar down to complete two quarter turns. Repeat this process 30 times until the spring is out of torsion.
  • Loosen Stationary Side – After removing the torsion from both sides of the spring, prepare them for removal by loosening the 9/16” bolts on the stationary sides of the springs.

Categories: Garage Door Repair

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