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When to Spring into Action: How to Know It’s Time to Replace Your Garage Door Spring

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How many times do you think you open and close your garage door each year?

The correct answer is about 1500.

We don’t think much about our garage doors until they quietly (or loudly, if your door’s the dramatic type) go to the wayside. And don’t they just always love to stop a third of the way up when they die, like they’re giving you hope?

Before you break it even more out of frustration or assume you have the worst luck, consider its symptoms. Any rust? Screeching or bangs?

You could need a replacement of your garage door spring.

Read on to find out if this is your door’s illness or if it’s time to tear it down.

How They Work

Garage doors are relatively simple contraptions. A motor and battery provide enough juice for a chain to pull the door open and let it slowly close. The chain is kept in check by a track.

Contrary to popular belief, the torsion spring does all the heavy lifting, keeping the door from banging closed.

There are actually two kinds of springs: torsion and extension springs. Extension springs are the ones in the tracks on either side of the door. The torsion spring is the big one located above the closed door.

Danger, Will Robinson!

Never attempt to fix a broken torsion spring on your own. The force when a spring snaps can cause extreme damage to you or anything nearby. Many springs have metal brackets that hold them in place as safety precautions, but the power behind a broken one should not be reckoned with.

Likewise, the bottom brackets are under a similar amount of tension and can also fly loose if mishandled. If you ever need parts replaced, contact a professional.

It is recommended you change your springs every five or six years.

Signs It’s Time for a New Garage Door Spring

Luckily for homeowners, there are telltale signs that might warn you of your garage door’s impending doom.

Rust

Check the torsion and extension springs for excess rust. If you notice built up rust, it may mean the elasticity of the springs is giving out.

Over time, rust weakens the steel, causing the spring to eventually snap.

To avoid rusty springs, lubricate them several times a year using WD-40.

Noises

Has your garage door been screeching about being opened or closed? Or, at least, does it feel that way?

When springs are rusty or aged, it’s common for the door to start making strange noises. Visually inspect the springs to look for rust. Then, apply lubricant to the springs, chain (if applicable), hinges and track. If the scraping, banshee-like sounds continue, you may need new springs.

Harsh Closing

Does your door close with a bang reminiscent of an angry teenager going to his or her room? If so, the springs may be the culprit.

When the tension in the springs starts to wear, it’s harder for them to slowly lower the door. Remember: they’re the superheroes of garage door parts, the ones who keep the heavy door from falling onto your poor floor. When they’re not working properly, the door won’t close correctly.

Uneven Opening

If you suddenly find your door is gaping at you like an open, lopsided mouth, you can probably guess where we’ll tell you to look.

It’s another sign that the tension in the springs is loosening. In this case, one spring may be in worse shape than the other, causing the door to open lopsidedly.

Heavy When Manually Opening

If your garage door breaks, chances are you’re going to try to open it manually. Except . . . it seems that an elephant has found its way to the tip-top of your garage door, and the blasted thing is heavy.

In these instances, it may be an indication that the springs are no longer working. That means all the weight of the garage door is being pulled up by you. Instead of, you know, a motor and pulley.

You Hear a Bang

It’s not like a small bang. It’s a BANG.

It might sound like a gorilla just pounded on the outside wall. Or someone just hit the inside of the garage door with a sledgehammer.

Most likely, it’s your springs. As we mentioned, these springs come with a heavy punch. When one snaps, you’ll most likely hear it.

Especially if the door isn’t down when it happens.

It Won’t Open

It always seems to happen on the worst day it could and right before work.

If you can hear the motor go, but nothing’s happening, it might be the springs. If they can’t do their heavy lifting, that door isn’t going to move.

Sometimes, this issue can also involve other parts, such as wiring.

What to Do If Your Door Is Stuck

You’re probably extremely frustrated that your door is stuck, but the good news is that every automatic garage door has a bypass system. You can get in, but it might take a little bit of work.

If you are lucky enough to have a garage attached to your house, place a ladder beneath the central chain. You should see a red cord.

Use the helpful knob provided to jerk on the cord until the small lever it’s hooked to locks in the down position. Open the door and have someone else place something beneath it to keep it propped.

If you have a garage that’s separate from your house and you’re attempting to “break in” from the outside, you can use a thread and a coat hanger to open the emergency latch. It’s a bit trickier, but it can be done.

However, we recommend simply calling someone. It’s a whole lot easier.

Save Yourself a Migraine

Seriously. Save yourself from the headache and the possible damage that could ensue from mishandling a garage door spring. Our team is equipped to handle anything your garage door can throw at us, regardless of whether it spent its last moments quietly or went out with a screech.

Contact us today to get that garage door working properly. It’s time to spring into action.

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