Replacing Your Garage Door Extension Springs
Problems opening garage doors are often due to worn or broken springs. There are two types of garage door springs. Most single car garage doors use extension springs while two car garage doors have torsion springs.
Extension springs are tightly wound metal springs that use tension to open and close your garage door. Here’s everything you need to know about extension springs, how they work, and what to do when they break.
How extension springs work
Extension springs are located above the track above your garage door when it’s closed, horizontal to the ground.
When the garage door closes, extension springs stretch out along the length of the tracks. When the door is opened, the springs wind tighter, which in turn winds the cables they are attached to around a spool.
In order to work, the springs remain under great tension. When they break, the mechanical energy stored in the springs can cause the springs to whip out, slamming the garage door to the ground and damaging anything in its path, including humans!
How long extension springs will last
Here’s the good news: the springs are made of dense metal and will work for many years. But twisting back and forth multiple times a day for years will eventually break the springs. Single garage doors weigh about 150 pounds, and most people raise and lower them at least twice a day.
Good quality garage door extension springs will last roughly 10,000 cycles, which is 7 to 14 years of normal use, which is opening and closing 2-4 times per day.
You should check your springs, cables, and assembly once in awhile for signs of wear, but don’t expect to see visual signs of springs ready to snap.
What to do when an extension spring breaks
If a spring breaks when the door is closed, it may be difficult or impossible to get your car out of the garage. If the door is open, the door may slam down or come down unevenly , damaging the door and the track.
Even if you are a great handyman, we strongly recommend you call an expert to replace broken extension springs unless you have experience with garage door repair. Removing the springs can be extremely dangerous without the skills and the proper tools. A lot of energy is stored in the coils, and many homeowners have been severely injured trying to fix their own.
It pays to be proactive, and have your extension springs replaced before they break and cause a far more expensive repair. Think about how often you typically open and close the garage door, and estimate the life of your coils. When it gets close to the limit, consider calling a repair service to replace the mechanical parts of your garage door system, even if your electric garage door is working.