According to Popular Mechanics, the average American opens their garage door 1,500 a year and interestingly it is during approximately its 13,476th operation that it is likely to break! And if like most people, you’ve more than likely paid little attention to your garage door springs, it could be the reason you’re experiencing problems with your garage door.
When your garage door breaks it can be extremely frustrating, as we’re all so busy, the last thing you need is not being able to access your car! It can also be extremely dangerous if your garage door springs break.
So let’s take a closer look at how to successfully and safely open your garage door if one or both of the springs have broken.
What is a Garage Door Spring? There are two types of garage door springs. Torsion springs are attached just above a closed garage door, whilst extension springs are located above the upper tracks on each side. A Torsion spring works by torsion or twisting and the extension springs counterbalances the weight of the garage doors to make opening and closing easier.
What Will Happen If My Springs Break on My Garage Door?
It’s 7am and you’re leaving for work. You open the garage door and hear a loud ‘BOOM’. Your garage door has most likely dropped back hard to the ground, possibly even lop-sided and you can’t open it, no matter how hard you try.
At this point it is easy to figure out that the garage door opener doesn’t do the actual legwork in opening your garage door, it’s your springs. This may happen if you only have one spring on your garage door. It’s usually possible to open your garage door if you have a garage door with two springs and only one of them has broken.
How Does a Garage Door Spring Work?
The purpose of springs on your garage door is to carry the weight of the door whilst it is being opened or closed. Garage doors can weigh up to several hundred pounds, depending on the size, style, and material of the door.
The door spring counterbalances the weight of the door to make it easier to open and close. There are two types of spring system most commonly used on your garage door, so read on further to find out which one your door uses.
What Type of Spring System Is There on My Garage Door?
The mechanics on your garage door dates back to the first automobiles and may seem simple, but do you know the types of spring system likely to be on your door?
Your garage door is operated by a counterbalance system, which uses force to offset the weight, which in this case, is your garage door. There are two types of system and both rely on your garage door springs to provide the force required to open your garage door successfully.
Extension Spring System
An extension spring system uses springs that are attached to cables, which in turn are attached to the bottom corners of the door. When the door is closed, the springs are stretched and when the door is opened, the energy that has been stored in the extended spring lifts the door. As your door travels up and down, over time the steel in the springs will weaken and eventually break.
It is important to check these type of springs to check there is a safety cable running through them as if and when these springs break, a huge amount of energy is released and can cause damage to your property or even injury.
Torsion Spring System
The most common type of garage door system is a Torsion Spring System. Torsion Springs are typically mounted horizontally above the garage door opening. As the door comes down, the cables that are attached to the bottom corners of the door, cause the springs to wind up. It is this winding motion which creates the stored energy which opens your garage door.
As the door is opened, the spring unwinds and the energy released assists to lift the garage door to the open position. As the door is lifted many times, up and down, the steel in the springs can weaken and may not be efficient enough to lift the door.
‘There are two types of system and both rely on your garage door springs
to provide the force required to open your garage door successfully’
Advantages of Two Torsion Springs
Having two Torsion springs installed on your garage is extremely useful as usually only one of them breaks and most garage doors will still open if only one of the two springs is missing. The mechanism which opens your garage door works twice as hard, but the garage door will normally open, possibly with a little bit of assistance.
Note: The second spring often breaks within a few days of the first one, mainly as it is now working two times as hard as when you had both springs working efficiently. “
Why Do Some Garage Doors Only Have 1 Torsion Spring?
The most efficient way of installing a garage door is to use two Torsion Springs. However, some home builders will pay less attention to visual areas of your home which ensures your home looks more appealing but results in neglecting to add two springs to the garage door. This is often one of the ways in which commercial home builders will cut corners. They’ll often only install one Torsion spring on a standard 16’ x 7’ garage door where there should really be two.
One spring will ensure the garage door will function, however without the 2nd spring, over time the single spring may break due to overuse, as one spring cannot function efficiently over long periods without causing unnecessary wear and unbalance to your garage door.
Why Do Garage Door Springs Break?
The springs on your garage door are not guaranteed to last forever, and exactly how long yours will last depends on several factors.
For example, if you’re a single body in your household and open your door twice a day, you may expect your springs to last up to 7 years or longer. However, depending on the quality of springs and quality of fitting some springs can break in as little as 1 year.
Heavy usage with a large active family may require new springs more frequently. To gauge what is right for you, get in touch with us and invest in some ‘extended life’ torsion springs.
Rust is one of the most common reasons for your garage door springs to fail. Taking simple steps can extend the life of your garage door springs. Spray your springs every three months or so with a can of WD-40, which will give your garages door’s life expectancy a huge boost. It stops rust from building up on the springs, which over time will cause corrosive damage and can ultimately end the life of your springs prematurely.
How to Test Your Garage Door Springs
Take these simple steps below to perform your own spring assessment:
- Pull the emergency release cord (it has a red handle)
- Lift the doors up and down a few times by hand and listen for squeaking, and add a lubricant to the hinges on the door.
- Let the door hit the floor, lift it approximately two feet above the ground and then release
How to Open a Garage Door with a Broken Spring
If your garage door will not open and the spring is broken, your garage door will be locked into place. Once the spring breaks on your garage door, it becomes incredibly difficult to raise without the counterbalance that was assisting the natural movement previously. Once your spring has broken, the entire force of the door now weighs down on the ground.
We can’t stress enough the dangers involved in attempting to open your garage door without a spring. Once the spring becomes unhooked the door could, spiral out of control damaging your garage and any belongings inside.
It is not recommended to try to open your garage door yourself and we strongly advise you get in touch with Garage Door Specialists, who will professionally take care of any spring replacements.
However, there will be times in cases of emergency where you may need to open your garage door. If this is the case the do consider the following the steps below.
- Ask a friend to assist as a garage door can weigh upwards of 350 pounds
- Get two crowbars and place them under the garage door to assist lifting if required
- Lift the door up staying clear of any sensors
- Ensure there is nothing underneath the footprint area of the door in case it falls down
Remember the doors are extremely heavy so extra assistance is vital. Without the springs there’s nothing to support the weight of the doors. Using the crowbars underneath the part of the door that is sealed, will ensure you get sufficient leverage.
Each of you shouzd insert these on opposite ends of the doors at the same time, prying it up high enough for both of you to grip the bottom edge of the garage with your hands. Great care should be taken and do make sure you wear some heavy duty gloves if possible and be ready to release the door should it become impossible to hold.
Lifting a door of this weight is extremely difficult and dangerous so do be very careful as a wrong move whilst moving the door could damage the garage, the contents of the garage and more importantly, you or your friends.
Both you and your assistant should push the door up at the same time very slowly and carefully, taking care not to overextend your back or stand underneath the door whilst the door isn’t secure as this can cause serious injury.
What to Do Next?
If you have attempted to open your garage door yourself, then do make sure you get in touch with us at Dynamic Garage Doors. We will be able to replace the spring and also give a thorough inspection of your garage door.
If you’ve decided the dangers of trying it yourself are too much to consider, then get in touch with us to offer our super-swift and professional garage door service for all major brands of residential and commercial garage doors.
We operate an urgent support service and have a 24/7 emergency workforce ready to assist you with any problems with your garage doors, day or night. Our customers are our first and foremost priority, and assure you will be delivered the best service possible to ensure you’ll be able to carry on with your day as soon as possible!