You can run into any number of problems with garage doors. In this post, we’re talking about broken garage door springs. If the springs on your garage door have recently broken or they’ve broken a few times you may be asking yourself “why do garage door springs break?” We’ll answer that question so that you can make the best spring repair and replacement decisions for your door.
Broken Springs are a Big Deal
Broken garage door springs are a big deal because they do the actual lifting on motorized garage doors. Door opener systems are composed of several parts but the springs act as the counterweight that lifts and lowers the door. Broken or damaged springs make the door difficult to lift and can strain the motor. In some cases, problem springs can prevent you from opening the door manually.
Two Types of Garage Door Springs
Garage doors usually have one of two types of springs: torsion springs or extension springs.
- Torsion Springs: twist to hold and release the energy needed to lift or lower doors, they’re located over the top of the door opening
- Extension Springs: are attached to the garage door and to the bracket that holds the door track, the spring provides a counterweight and support to the moving door
Learn More: Torsion Springs vs Extension Springs
Doors are heavy. Even a single residential garage door can weigh about 100 pounds— that’s a lot of weight to move without balanced resistance. Springs act as counterweights to keep the doors from crashing down. But garage doors get lots of use and that means springs can get worn down, that’s just one reason why they break.
Why Do Garage Door Springs Break?
Some garage door units are incredibly durable and can withstand months and sometimes years without maintenance but not all doors are the same and we absolutely do not recommend avoiding servicing your garage door. Regular maintenance is the best way to get the most from your door and it’s the best way to keep people safe when walking or driving through the opening.
Garage door springs break for any number of reasons. If the springs on your garage door have broken, please do not attempt to repair the springs or door on your own. Damaged or broken springs can pose a serious danger because they hold tension. When springs release tension in an uncontrolled manner they can cause the door to fall or the springs can break and fly off causing serious damage to nearby people or objects. Contact an experienced repair team to evaluate the situation and schedule a repair.
If you’ve heard some squeaking when the door is in motion, you’ll also want to watch for the following issues on your door.
Six Reasons Why Garage Door Springs Break or Malfunction
- Frequent door jams
- Poor maintenance
- Wrong size
- Regular wear and tear
- Poor installation
Rust is one of the most common reasons why garage door springs snap. Steel springs can accumulate rust without proper lubrication. Rust buildup weakens and breaks down metals. Over time, the continued use of the door (the spring), will cause the spring to break.
Frequent door jams
Door jams are caused by the accumulation of dirt and debris in the door track. A dirty track is a problem for the door rollers and can cause jams. The jagged movement and stalling also pass through the springs, too much of this speed up the wear. You may run into additional problems caused by the jams before running into a broken spring. If you’ve left the track and jams unaddressed for an extended amount of time and the door stops operating one day that could mean the springs have met their end.
Homeowners don’t usually contact us unless something breaks but lots of our repair service calls can be prevented (or delayed) with proper maintenance. Like cars, garage doors need periodic maintenance. Regular maintenance for springs means making sure they are properly lubricated and tensioned. Keeping up with maintenance on the rest of the door unit will also keep everything running optimally, for more tips check out our post on “How Often Do Garage Doors Need Maintenance”.
Springs are rated for use with specific weights. That means the size and length of the spring need to be carefully selected for the weight of your door. Using the wrong size springs can overstretch the spring resulting in either a warped spring or a broken spring. Spring ratings are color-coded, you can usually choose a replacement by color but it’s best to verify that the one you’re replacing was actually the right size for your door.
Regular wear and tear
Door springs have what’s called a cycle life. Cycle life is an estimated prediction of how many times the spring can be used before it is worn out and in need of replacement. No one is keeping track of how many cycles their springs have gone through but the industry standard for springs is about 10,000 to 15,000 uses or about 5 years↗. Some springs last longer and some go sooner than 5 years. Another note on cycle life, if your door has more than one spring, it’s best to replace them all at once because once one goes, it’s likely that others will follow.
Poor installations are usually caused by careless technicians who are in a rush or technicians who don’t have a lot of experience. It’s best to work with professionals to avoid faulty installations, it’s also the best way to avoid invalidating any existing warranties.
5 Way to Avoid Broken Spring Problems
You know some of the common causes of broken springs but how do you prevent them?
- Listen to your springs – if they’re squeaking, they’re talking to you and asking you to have them checked out.
- If you replace one, replace them all – if one spring breaks down, it’s likely that the others are also at their breaking point.
- If a spring breaks, take action immediately – even if your door still happens to open and close. Avoid damaging other parts of your door and accidents by having a pro come out and replace the springs as soon as possible.
- Don’t try to repair a broken spring, it needs to be replaced – trying to extend the life of warped, overextended, rusty springs can create an extremely dangerous situation.
- Call a pro, when you suspect a problem – experienced professionals are the best situated to properly diagnose spring and door problems.
Call Heritage Garage Door for Spring Replacements
If your garage door springs have broken for any reason, contact the garage pros near you. Contacting a professional means you’ll get your door functioning again quickly. Companies like ours have a wide selection of parts in stock and the tools and skills needed to have your door running again quickly.
Heritage Garage Door operates in Southern California.