Most people are under the impression that it’s the garage door motor that lifts their door. Actually the motor’s part in opening and closing the garage door is fairly minor, mostly reserved to getting things going and then controlling the rate of movement. But if it’s not the “opener” that opens the door, then what does? If you said the springs give yourself a big pat on the back. Garage door springs are the epitome of old technology and yet they’re essential to the operation of garage doors in every corner of the world today. If they go bad your garage door is in for a rough ride. Below we’ll go over some of the telltale signs that your garage door springs have had enough.

Rusted out spring

The Different Variations of Garage Door Springs and How They Work

There are two types of garage springs installed in overhead garage doors: extension springs and torsion springs.

  • Extension springs run perpendicular to the door itself usually above each of the tracks the door rides as it is opened and closed. Extension springs “charge” themselves when the door closes. They extend, absorbing energy in the process. They then release that energy during the opening of the door. In some cases a door will have a single extension spring that will be located between the tracks although this type of setup is not terribly common.

  • Torsion springs on the other hand are installed parallel to the door, just above the door on the inside wall of the garage. Torsion springs “charge” themselves by uncoiling as the door is closed and then release that stored energy during the lifting of the door. Torsion springs store massive amounts of energy. You should always leave their installation and repair to the experts.

Now that we know a little more about garage door springs and how they work let’s look at what signs, if any, indicate that there is trouble in paradise and garage door repair is in order.

Signs it’s Time to Replace the Garage Springs on Your Arvada or Boulder Home

Most garage door springs have a life expectancy of 7-9 years, though the actual lifespan will depend on how much the door is used and how well it is maintained. That said here are 4 ways to tell that your garage springs are in trouble:

  1. The springs are getting weak: Garage door springs get stretched and re-stretched thousands of times during their life. Like rubber bands they eventually lose the ability to hold a “charge” effectively. This sorry state of affairs is a prelude to spring failure but there is a way you can test your springs if you suspect they may be losing elasticity.
    1. Close the garage door and pull the emergency release. This will disconnect the opener from the door and allow you to open it manually.
    2. Lift the door manually to about waist height, bring it to a stop and let go of it. If it stays in place your spring or springs are fine. If it starts to drift downward as soon as you release it then your springs are no longer holding a charge and are heading for failure.
  2. Obvious rust and corrosion: As we stated earlier the lifespan of a garage door spring relies in part on how well it is maintained. If you signed up for regular maintenance for your garage door chances are rust and corrosion won’t have a chance to take hold. If on the other hand the door has been neglected rust and corrosion will set in and begin to undermine the spring’s integrity. If you take a few minutes to inspect your garage door springs and find corrosion or rust chances are good that spring failure is in your future.
  3. Popping, creaking, screeching and other nasty noises: When garage door springs begin moaning and complaining during the performance of their job it means a breakdown is on the horizon. You can lubricate the springs and this may put a temporary end to the spring symphony, but at this point the damage is already done and garage door repair will be necessary.
  4. Your door opens unevenly: If your door has two extension springs and one side is opening faster than the other it probably means one spring has already failed and the other is likely to follow suit in relatively short order. The moment you notice anything suspicious in the way your door is opening you need to call for assistance before someone gets hurt.

The safety of everyone in the home depends on the smooth operation of your garage springs. Don’t ignore the warning signs of trouble. Instead call the garage door experts at A Better Garage Door. We’ve helped scores of homeowners in Boulder, Arvada and the surrounding area keep their garage doors looking and running like new and we can do the same for you.