Help! My garage door won’t open.

You may have heard a loud bang from your garage or simply go out to discover that the garage door won’t open more than a crack. Chances are you have a broken spring. Why did this happen? Did I do something that caused this? Is there something I could have done to prevent it? First, let’s look at how a torsion spring works. Just like any spring, torsion springs store a mechanical force of energy that tightens them. The energy is stored by rotating or twisting the spring. Torsion springs are mounted horizontally above the garage door and attached to cables. When the door is closed, the cables that are attached to the bottom corners forcibly result in the springs to wind and energize the system. This stored energy is transferred to the door when the springs unwind causing the door to lift up and open easily.

What causes a spring to break?

  1. Wear – A spring’s lifespan is determined by the number of times it cycles. A cycle is defined as one opening and closing of the door and most springs can be expected to provide 10,000 cycles.   If you are opening and closing your door an average of 4 times a day, the spring is cycling approximately 1500 time per year.


  1. Quality – A spring made from a lower quality galvanizing can result in rusting that could cause the spring to fail. Also, sometimes in an effort to save money, one longer spring is installed where there should be two.  In this case, the spring is doing double duty and will fail sooner.


  1. Maintenance—Garage doors and their lifting systems require maintenance similar. Regular lubrication of metal parts that come into contact with each other, or when temperatures dip below freezing will help lengthen spring life.


Assessing your springs.

If you suspect you have a broken spring, you can usually see a visible break in the coil.  If not, you can test if the spring is working by disconnecting your garage door opener and trying to open the door manually.  If your spring is broken, the door will feel heavy and be difficult to open.

If you determine your springs need changing, it is not recommended you do it yourself.  Springs are under extreme tension they are under and can be very dangerous to change and is best left to a professional.

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