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Garage doors are opened many times a day usually. You maybe use it as the front entrance when you come and go. This constant use wears all the components little by little. If your garage door is heavy to lift manually, something is wrong.
Usually, garage door springs need to be adjusted or replaced. Garage door springs offset the weight of the door. A problem with the spring tension could cause the door to open or close unevenly, improperly, or at the wrong speed.
Garage doors are the heaviest moving object in your house and can weigh 80-400+ pounds.
Garage door openers can lift hundreds of pounds. But they are designed to only lift properly balanced and working doors.
Springs do most of the heavy lifting. This counterbalancing effect makes it possible for your automatic opener to lift the door over the long term without wearing out too soon. If your door is cumbersome to raise by hand or your opener seems to be struggling, there is a good chance one of your springs is broken or needs to be adjusted.
Let’s look at all the components that can make the garage door heavy or hard to open/close.
Garage Door Torsion Springs
Lighter and smaller doors may only have a single torsion spring. In comparison, larger and heavier doors may have two springs, with one located on either side of the central plate.
Torsion springs are mounted above the door and run along a metal shaft that’s parallel with the door’s top. Aluminum drums are placed on either end of the metal shaft, and the springs are wound to a specific torsion.
They can be standard, early-set, steel rolling-door, or torque-master springs. They are also oil-tempered, galvanized or powder coater variety.
- Standard is usually in residential garage doors.
- Early set torsion springs are mounted in the middle of the torsion shaft.
- Steel rolling-door springs are used in commercial and industrial buildings.
- Torque master springs are enclosed in a torsion shaft.
- Oil-Tempered – Long lifespan, low maintenance, most common, quiet, cheap. dark and oily look.
- Galvanized – zinc coating prevents metal form rusting. Good for very humid areas. Requires annual adjusting.
- Powder-coated – Coated with electrically bonded paint with many colors. Long lifespans and rust resistant. Non-oily.
Torsion spring replacement costs anywhere from $75 to $150 per spring, including materials and labor. The springs alone run $30 to $100 each. You’ll almost always have two springs per door, and you should replace both at the same time.
A properly balanced and adjusted torsion spring will counterbalance about 90% of the weight of your garage door. That means a typical double car garage door weighing 200 lbs will only require 20 lbs of force to move.
We also have detailed guide how you can change your garage door torsion springs. In case your garage door uses torsion springs, check out our guide here.
Garage Door Extension Springs
These are side Mounted and run above and parallel to the door tracks.
Extension springs store energy by extending or stretching when the door is moved. They also have pulleys and cables. The cable, which holds the spring, attaches to hooks in the track hanger assembly. There are two springs: one above each track on either side of the garage door.
They can be open-looped, double-looped, or clipped-end.
- Open looped is the weakest
- Double looped is stronger
- Clipped end extension springs are the most durable
Extension springs cost $50 to $100 per spring to replace, including both labor and materials. The springs alone run $15 to $45. They’re easier to install and cost a bit less than torsion types.
Extension springs need to be fitted with safety cables. If spring breaks, the safety cable will hold it in place, preventing them from causing damage.
We also have detailed guide how you can change your garage door extension springs. In case your garage door uses extension springs, check out our guide here.
Garage Door Tracks and Rollers
Signs of track issues are gaps between rollers and the rail, a rubbing or strange noise, or stiff or broken wheels. Rollers can fall out of tracks causing the door to grind. This is particularly true for the rollers on the bottom left and right sides of the door.
Rollers can fall out of the tracks from the internal bearings going bad due to old age. They can also fall out when one of your garage door hinges or brackets comes loose.
Check out common garage door problems here.
Symptoms of Worn Out Garage Door Springs
Garage Door Becomes Heavy
A properly balanced garage door should only weigh about 5-20 pounds and is easy to lift by hand. If you feel like you cannot lift your garage door, or it is heavier than usual, get the springs checked.
Garage Door Goes Down Quickly
Spring is beginning to fail.
Door Won’t Open All The Way
If your door is only opening a little bit. Springs need to be replaced.
Loose Door Cables
If the cables are loose or slack, there is usually an issue with springs.
Gap In Torsion Springs
The torsion system is made up of two tightly wound springs located right over your garage door. When these springs break, they unwind, leaving a noticeable gap.
Garage Door Makes Strange Sound When Opening or Closing
A balanced garage door should be relatively quiet when traveling up or down the door tracks. The added strain on the opener can cause an unbalanced door to be noisy as it travels on tracks.
The Door Looks Uneven While Opening or Closing
This is another tell-tale sign of spring wear. If your garage door is crooked in any way, your extension springs need to be checked. They are located on either side of the door, and each pulls the door independently.
If one of these springs is broken, that specific side of the door will not be adequately pulled, causing it to not close properly and look uneven. If this problem persists, the door may get stuck on its tracks.
Loud Noise From The Garage
The spring immediately unwinds after it breaks. The sound is loud and startling. Torsion springs almost always fail with the door closed.
Door Has Become Hard to Operate Over Time
Jerky motion is likely due to a broken spring on one side of the door. The remaining functioning spring must compensate for the lack of help.
Garage Door Weight
Your average garage door weighs around 80–300 pounds (a single door garage), depending on the material, thickness, etc. Ones on the heavier side can easily top at around 350 pounds, if not more. Most contemporary all-glass doors weigh an average of 400+ pounds. Insulation also adds some weight.
|25-gauge metal||75-90 lbs||8||7 to 8 feet|
|25-gauge metal||150-180 lbs||16||7 to 8 feet|
|Heavy Wood||130-300+ lbs||8||7 to 8 feet|
|double door with windows and an all-glass double door||over 400 lbs||16||7 to 8 feet|
Read all about garage doors here.
How Much Weight Can a Garage Door Opener Lift?
|Door||Door Weight||Recommended Lifting Force|
|Single Doors||Up to 150 lbs||1/4 HP or 1/3 HP|
|Single and Double||Up to 350 lbs||1/2 HP|
|Double||Up to 600 lbs||3/4 HP|
|Special||Up to 750 lbs||1 HP|
|Commercial||Over 750 lbs||1 1/4 HP|
1/2 horsepower garage door opener can lift approximately 350 pounds. A one-horsepower opener can easily lift approximately 750 pounds. But they are not designed to lift mass like those all the time. Hence the Spring balancing system.
Read all about garage door openers here.
How Heavy Should Garage Door Feel?
A properly balanced garage door should only weigh about 5-20 pounds and should be easy to lift by hand.
Check Your Garage Spring System Once or Twice a Year
You can perform a balance test yourself.
- Insert a piece of wood or similar under the door, so you can get space for your hands if the door doesn’t have handles for opening.
- Close the door
- Detach the door from the garage door opener if you have one.
- Pull the red emergency release cord on your door opener. This disengages the opener trolley.
- Gently lift your garage door. A properly balanced garage door weighs about 5 to 20 pounds.
- The door should move freely without sticking or being too heavy at any point.
- Lift the door to the halfway point and release it. The door should remain in place, supported by the springs. If it slams shut or open. The springs are out of balance.
Can You Replace Garage Door Springs Yourself?
Yes, extension springs are easier to replace, but torsion springs should be left to the experts.
How Do I Know the Garage Door Spring Is Broken?
Each type of garage door springs has a specific way to check if they are broken:
- Torsion springs will have a gap of a few inches in the coil or the body of the broken spring.
- Extension springs that are broken will have a missing hook on either of the sides of the springs where the coil broke off.
- Torquemaster systems typically won’t allow the door to come down again after the spring breaks. This safety lock activates when the spring breaks inside the tube that houses the spring
- (source homeguide.com)
Garage Door Spring Costs
|Replace Torsion Springs||$140 – $350|
|Replace Extension Springs||$120 – $200|
|Convert Extension to Torsion System||$200 – $500|
|Replace Springs and Cables||$200 – $500|
|Replace Cables Only||$80 – $185|
|Torsion Spring Parts||$30 – $100|
|Extension Spring Parts||$20 – $50|
|Spring Tune-Up (Winding, Balancing, Lubricating)||$40 – $80|
Garage Door Spring Prices
Safer to use
|Better for places with less headroom|
Dangerous when it breaks
|Price||$30 – $100||$20 – $50|
|Cycles||10,000 – 20,000||5,000 – 15,000|
|Lasts||7 – 14 Years||4 – 10 Years|
Garage Door Spring Replacement Cost
|Spring Type||Springs||Labor||Replacement Cost|
|Single Torsion||$30 – $70||$110 – $200||$140 – $270|
|Double Torsion||$50 – $100||$150 – $250||$200 – $350|
|Single Extension||$20 – $40||$100 – $120||$120 – $160|
|Double Extension||$30 – $50||$130 – $150||$160 – $200|
Broken Garage Door Spring Repair Cost
|Broken Spring||Door won’t open or struggles to move|
Springs shows a gap of a few inches
Door crashes down when operating
Door is heavy, hard to lift
Opening motor works, but the door doesn’t move
Loud bang or snapping sound when door moves
Loose, hanging cables
Door becomes crooked
Door opens and closes in a jerky way
|Imbalanced Springs||Difficult to operate||Spring Tune-up||$40 – $80|
|Stretched Springs||Door won’t stay fully open|
Moves slower up or down
|Broken Cables||Door becomes uneven|
One side becomes heavier
Door will fall down if both cables are broken
Door came off its track
|Cable Replacement||$85 – $185|
|Springs Require Maintenance||Garage door makes noise when operating||Spring Tune-up||$40 – $80|
|Wrong Size Spring Installed||Door moves too quickly or feels too light or heavy to open||Spring Replacement||$120-$350|
How Long Do Garage Door Springs Last?
|Daily Cycles||10,000 Cycles||20,000 Cycles||50,000 Cycles|
|2||14.0 Years||28.0 Years||68.5 Years|
|4||7.0 Years||14.0 Years||34.0 Years|
|6||4.5 Years||9.0 Years||23.0 Years|
|8||3.5 Years||7.0 Years||17.0 Years|
|10||3.0 Years||6.0 Years||14.0 Years|
How Much Does It Cost to Repair or Replace the Garage Door Springs?
If you want the job done by professionals or DIY, Here is up-to-date info at Homeadvisor.com and Homeguide.com
What Is the Average Life of Garage Door Spring?
Most garage door springs are rated at an industry-standard 10,000 cycles. Each cycle includes opening and closing. Most doors get used 3-4 times a day.
Assuming your springs were installed and calibrated correctly, you can reasonably expect them to last an average of 7-12 years. Garage door springs get stretched and re-stretched thousands of times during their life. They eventually lose the ability to hold a “charge” effectively.
Spending an extra $50 will buy you a spring rated for 20,000 cycles or more.
What Causes Garage Door Springs To Break?
Rust, lack of lubrication and maintenance, installing cheap springs, regular wear and tear, and extreme winter temperatures causes garage door springs to break. The following list are reasons why garage door springs break and ways to extend their life.
- Rust – Any moisture that contacts the springs makes the coils rust and weaken. Protect the springs from rust by spraying them annually with a silicone-based lubricant or White Lithium Grease(paid link). (avoid regular WD-40)
- Lack of Maintenance – Check the balance of the springs annually by opening the garage door halfway. If the door stays in the middle, the springs are in good condition. If the door keeps moving up or down, or if one side moves up at a different speed, the springs need maintenance.
- Cheap Springs – The cheapest springs use lower-quality metal coils that tend to break faster. Investing in higher-quality springs reduces repairs and saves money in the long run.
- Cold Climates – In extreme winter temperature, the metal springs contract and have a higher chance of breaking. Insulating the garage and keeping the door closed helps shield the springs from the cold.
- Wear & Tear – The more you open and close your garage door, the faster the springs wear down. Investing in high-cycle springs provide 50,000 cycles, while regular springs only provide 10,000 cycles.
- (source homeguide.com)
Should I Lubricate or Oil My Garage Door Springs?
You should lubricate all springs, hinges, bearings, and metal rollers twice a year with lithium or silicone-based spray (paid link) Avoid simple car oil (too messy) and don’t use regular WD-40. Lubrication also helps to reduce noise.
Is It Dangerous to Replace Garage Door Springs?
Adjusting or changing springs can be very dangerous because of the incredible tension they’re under and should be done by a professional.
Especially if you don’t have the proper tools, have no experience, or lack a mechanical background.