How to Fix a Garage Door Spring

Garage door springs are one of those everyday household items that we never give a second thought to; until they break. These springs can fail for a variety of reasons. If you live in an area with extreme weather conditions, such as frequent heat waves, blizzards, or high humidity, it can stress the springs to the point of snapping. Sometimes these pieces of equipment have just aged out their usefulness, or they were struck by an outside force.

Whatever the reason or situation, a broken spring can jam up your garage door and render it in inoperable. However, with the right tools and skill set, you can replace these broken springs and return your garage to its normal operation. Just consider the following guide on how to fix a garage door spring:

1. Getting started: Safety first!!! Before beginning, it’s integral to understand that this is a dangerous home repair that should not be attempted by those who are uncomfortable around tools are lack the appropriate tools altogether. Garage door springs are under high tension and replacing them can result in the injury and potential loss of your fingers, hands, other limbs, and even life. There’s also the risk of damaging property.

So before you begin, read the entirety of this guide. Be sure you have the right tools on hand and follow all safety precautions. If you have any doubts regarding your ability, call in a professional.

2. Measure out your old springs. Take a ruler and measure your old springs along the outside edge. Take care to not touch the winding cones while dong so. Measure out 20 coils to also determine the size of the wire.

3. Order what you need and verify for size. Your products will be quickly shipped to you so you can get down to repairing that broken garage door. Lay your new springs out and measure their lengths, interior diameters, and check wire sizing to be sure they match.

Next, stand them against the inside of your garage door and position them so that their top ends face you and point towards each other. While standing inside your garage and looking outwards, take the spring in your left and place it above the garage door’s left side at ten end of its spring anchor bracket.; The spring on your right should be placed at the door’s right end, above the right side of the spring anchor bracket.

4. Mark Torsion Shaft. Use a file or marking pen to mark the drums and each end of the the torsion shaft. These marks will assist in leveling the garage door after the new springs are installed. Avoid touching the cable drums and shaft as they are still under tension and unexpected spinning can cause injury.

5. Unwind Old Springs. Remember, safety first! Always use the appropriate tools; this means never using a box or socket wrench for the set screws, and never using a screwdriver to unwind the torsion springs.

Instead, go to any hardware store and request winding bars that are a minimum of 18″ long and a 1/2″ in diameter. Test for appropriate sizing by fitting one end of the bar into the holes of the winding cone and place a ruler’s edge between the bar and your garage door and see how much play you have when rocking the bar back and forth. If it’s anything over 2″ of play, then you’ll either need a professional to make the appropriate size bars for the cones or call in the garage repair experts.

If your bars are snug, then you’re ready to begin. Make sure the bar goes all the way to the back of the cone. Then, while firmly grasping the other end of the bar, loosen the cone’s set screws with either a smaller adjustable wrench or open-end wrench until the screws are loose enough to allow the cones to spin. Prepare yourself for the back stress from the transferred torque to the bar. Hold tightly and keep the bar secure in the cone at all times during this process.

Pull down on the bar in a clockwise fashion to help loosen the cone. You might need to use a hammer to help force the cone loose. Once it has finally come free, insert a second one in the hole above the first. and remove your first bar. You are going to continue pushing down on the bar until you’ll need to replace it again. Continue until your old garage spring is unwound.

6. Loosen Torsion Hardware. Check the sides of the garage mount, unscrew and remove those two bolts securing the center stationary torsion cones to the spring bracket. Once this is removed, you can carefully remove the torsion springs from the garage door’s top. They should be slid towards the cable drums. However, this can be physically the hardest part of the removal as the shaft may be swollen or otherwise distorted. File down where needed.

7. Replace Springs. Once your old garage springs are completely removed, you can finally begin on your new ones. Again, slide the drum away from the bearing plate and slide the shaft to the left. Check to be sure the other side of the shaft has likewise been removed from the headplate. Inspect the bearings and lube them as necessary for smooth installation. Slide your new spring on, making sure the cone with the bigger hole slides on first. It’s very important to ensure you have the correct wind on your new garage torsion spring. Check end of the spring wire on the left side at the winding cone; this should be pointed up and facing inwards, towards you. Next, slide the spring into the anchor bracket, reinstall the cable drum, and finally slide the shaft back into the bearing.

Follow these same steps on the other side of the shaft.

8. Reinstall Torsion Hardware. You’re almost done! Slide the shaft back into the bearing and line it up to those marks you made at the start of the uninstall. You should be able to finger tigthen your setscrews back to their initial identations and until you are not able to turn the drum on the shaft.

10. Wind New Springs. To wind the springs up, you’re going to use the same method you did as to unwind them. Use your bars and, instead of rotating down, you’re going to rotate up until the spring has been completely wound. Again, this part is the most dangerous part of the install, and we highly recommend contacting a professional team like Garage Door Medics if you feel at all uncertain about the process.

Garage Door Medics is a 24 hour garage door repair company. Whenever you need advice on how to fix a garage door spring, a second opinion, or same day repair, give us a call today.