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Originally Posted On: https://slimjim.me/10-questions-to-ask-when-your-garage-door-spring-breaks/
Has your garage door broken?
Most of us never spare a thought for our garage doors. We use them every day, but don’t really know how they work. All it takes is a broken garage door spring to cause a garage door to break or become faulty. So when something goes wrong, we find ourselves at a bit of a loss.
We are here to help. Read on for 10 questions to ask when your garage door spring breaks.
1. WHAT EXACTLY IS A GARAGE DOOR SPRING?
Your garage door is a small but integral part of the opening mechanism for your door. It takes the weight of the torque, making the door easier to open up. Without it, you’d struggle to open the door or you might find it impossible.
While you might not think about it and count on it simply to work, it won’t last forever. Instead of waiting for it to break, be proactive and look for signs of wear and age. This was you can replace it before it breaks and leaves you breaking your back to open your garage door.
2. WHY DID MY GARAGE DOOR SPRINGS BREAK?
You need to work out why the spring has broken. This will help you prevent it from happening again once you replace it. Springs break because of a rare, random accident or they can have specific reasons. Here are a few:
Your garage door spring is metal, which means they can rust over time. If it does rust, this can shorten its lifespan by years.
Rust will weaken the metal and increases the surface friction. This will cause wear and tear to occur quicker. To prevent this, apply some WD-40 two or three times a year.
LACK OF MAINTENANCE
Your garage door springs don’t need a lot of maintenance but you’ll notice not doing the little they do need. As mentioned before, WD-40 a few times a year is a must. You should also check how your door is balancing at least yearly.
All you need to do is lift the garage door to the halfway point and let it go. If the springs are still in order, the door will remain in that position. If they are weakening, the door might fall or lower.
REGULAR WEAR AND TEAR
The strain your springs take every day opening and closing your door takes its toll. Even though they’re built to do it, it can be hard on your springs over time.
You should get a long lifespan out of your springs, but they aren’t infallible. This simple act of opening and closing will break them down and you’ll need to replace them. So look out for the signs. If you are concerned with your garage door becoming stuck open, you might want to consider installing CCTV to improve your home security.
3. IS MY DOOR SPRING ACTUALLY BROKEN?
But before you commit to a replacement, make sure that it is actually the cause of your issue. To identify the spring as your issue, look for these common signs that your garage door spring has broken. There may be a problem with your garage door lock, or another part of the door mechanism may be at fault.
One obvious sign of a broken spring is when you go to move the door, it’ll fly off in every direction. It means the cables are working fine, but the spring isn’t functioning properly. Or when your garage door opens a little way, but stops at a certain point and won’t go further. This is a safety feature to stop garage doors opening when the spring has broken.
YOUR TORSION SPRING HAS A GAP
The most definite way to check if your spring is broken is to look for a gap. It’ll present itself as a gap of an inch or two in the middle of the torsion spring.
THERE IS A BEND AT THE TOP OF THE GARAGE DOOR
If you try to open some garage doors when the spring breaks, they will get a bend at the top. Some types of garage doors will bend at the top if you try to open them with a broken spring. This is due to the immense weight the mechanism is now trying to lift without the aid of the spring.
THE DOOR FALLS WHEN YOU SHUT IT
Due to the sheer weight of the door, if the spring breaks you might notice your door falling shut quicker. The spring takes a lot of the load, allowing for the garage door to lower more gently. Without it, the door will shut heavier and more suddenly.
YOU CAN’T USE THE EMERGENCY ROPE TO LIFT THE DOOR
You might have noticed the red cord or rope hanging from your door opening mechanism. This is your emergency cord. If you pull on the rope and the door still won’t open, this is a sign the spring has broken.
4. WAS THE SPRING WORN OUT?
You should seek to replace your garage door springs as often as needed. Even if your door opens and shuts with a faulty or broken spring it’s best to replace it.
But the rate of which your springs need replacing differs from door to door. It will depend on, how well you’re maintaining them, how often you use your garage door, how long and cold your winters are, and more.
So it is best practice to keep an eye on them on a regular basis for the telltale signs of wear and tear. And then replace them when you see they’re getting strained and tired.
5. WAS THE SPRING TOO COLD?
It is most common for garage door springs to break in cold weather. This is due to the change in temperature. When it reaches a certain cold temperature, it will cause a contraction in the metal.
This means the spring can shrink a little bit. The change in size is hard on the metal and leaves them more open to breaking. Oiling the springs won’t prevent it from happening but it will help.
6. HOW DO I PICK A NEW SPRING?
There are two types of spring you can choose from which are torsion and extension. They are both reliable but they are for different sorts of garages. So you’ll need to figure out what sort of garage you have to find the best fit for your needs.
Extention springs attach to the side of the door and go horizontal across it. They are easy to install. Their best use is for a single car garage or a garage with an overhead door.
Torsion springs attach at the top of the door and are wound and coiled. These do not contract and expand when the door raises or lowers. And they can handle heavier weights. But they are not easy to install and better suited to multi-car garages.
7. HOW MUCH DOES A NEW SPRING COST?
This is likely the first question on all our minds when something breaks – how much will it cost me? And there is no easy answer as costs can vary. Extension and torsion springs cost different amounts, so it’ll depend on which you get.
Extension springs usually cost less. If your garage meets their requirements and you’re on a budget they’re a great option. You could be looking at anything from $20-$30.
Torsion springs are more expensive. This is due to the increased smoothness of their movement and superior strength. For a good torsion spring, you’re looking at anything from $65-$100.
8. HOW BEST CAN I LOOK AFTER MY NEW SPRING?
If your last spring broke due to a lack of maintenance, you might be especially concerned with how to prevent this again. We’ve touched on a few ways to extend your springs’ lifespan but here they are in one place for your ease of reference.
You should be cleaning your whole garage door at least bi-annually. You can clean them more often, but this is the bare minimum they should be cleaned.
It doesn’t have to be anything laborious either; just warm, soapy water for the door and dry off. Then lubricate the springs to help keep them in working order.
Rust is a huge problem as it can reduce any metal part’s lifespan by months or years. If your spring already has rusted over, it’s easy to shave off the rust. Or you can prevent it from forming with regular applications of WD-40 as discussed.
Balance checking is a vital way of checking the condition of your springs. Especially if the damage is not visible. A door that does not stay in place when you opening it halfway will hint at weakened springs. You should look to replace them. A door that has springs in working order will hold at the place where you have opened it to.
9. IS IT A DIY JOB?
The appeal of saving money by doing it yourself is an alluring one. But it also can feel satisfying when you fix something yourself.
But when it comes to replacing garage door springs, it is not recommended as a DIY job. You can’t grab your tool kit, read some instruction and get the job done in half an hour. It will take a trained professional for these reasons:
When your springs are working, you might not notice just how heavy your garage door is. For this alone there is a high level of risk when working with it. If it falls, it could injure you or worse. You could be crushed by the door, or you could get your fingers trapped in the tightly coiled spring.
As well as the risk, if you don’t know what you’re doing you might not install it right. This could mean, at worst, the mechanism will break and could injure yourself or a family member.
At best, you’ll need to call a professional anyway to fix it and you might have caused more expensive damage by then. It will save you time and money, and possibly heartache, to call in the professionals from the start.
10. HOW CAN I FIND A RESPECTABLE PROFESSIONAL?
Let’s face it, your garage door springs are unlikely to break at a convenient time. And when it goes, you’ll need someone out asap to get it fixed. The best option is to look for a service that offers 24/7 call outs and emergency services.
It’s recommended you do a Google search for garage door repair services near you and read the reviews. Other customers will let you know if they are respectable or not.
Give them a call, and when you speak to someone they should be knowledgable on what you’re calling for. If they ask questions and are engaging with the problem it is a good sign. If they are only focusing on the money and how much they charge, run for the hills and look for someone else.
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE IMPORTANCE OF YOUR GARAGE DOOR SPRING
So there you have it! If you ask yourself these 10 questions when your garage door spring breaks, you’ll be in the best position to deal with it.
As they say, prevention is often better than a cure so make sure you don’t underestimate the importance of your garage door spring. Proper maintenance, regular checks, and oiling will help prolong the life of your springs. They’ll prevent rust from forming, ease the everyday strain of wear and tear. And if there is a problem you’re more likely to spot it before it causes more damage or an injury.
If your spring does break, then it’s important to get a professional to come and sort it asap. Otherwise, you could see the issue cause more damage or it could put you and your family at risk. Find out why it broke in the first place so that you can try to prevent it in the future.
And while you’re replacing your garage door spring, it’s the perfect time to upgrade your garage door’s security. If you’re looking to upgrade your locks, contact us now. At Slim Jim, we’ve got experts to suit all your lock needs.