Top Causes of Broken Garage Door Springs and Mistakes to Avoid

Garage Door Spring Repair

There are any number of reasons why homeowners call us for garage door repair in Loveland or Broomfield. Among the most common reasons is that something is wrong with the torsion or extension springs. Since it is the springs and not the “opener” that actually open the door any malfunction with the springs can leave you out in the cold. If the springs are malfunctioning you may not even be able to disengage the garage door opener and lift the door manually. That’s how important the springs are. In this article we’re going to take a close look at some of the reasons why the springs on your garage door may be malfunctioning - and a few common mistakes to avoid.

Five Common Reasons Garage Door Springs Malfunction

Your garage door is a tough customer. It will still operate even if the tracks are dirty, a roller or two is messed up and it’s missing panels. Heck, you can even open it if the “opener” fails by simply disengaging the motor and opening the door manually. If the springs go however, you’ve got real problems and will need the help of your local garage door repair company. But what are the reasons torsion and extension springs fail and require you to fix the garage door? That’s what we’re going to look at now.

Reason One: Rust

Rust is perhaps the number 1 reason garage door springs snap. Over time, if not regularly lubricated, the springs will accumulate rust. Rust is a sign that the integrity of the steel is breaking down. Once that integrity breaks down enough the stress brought upon the weakened spring by the constant coiling and uncoiling will cause the spring to snap. If you have an older door it may only have a single torsion spring. So when it snaps you’ll have no way to open the door.

Reason Two: Door Jams

From time to time dirt, grime and debris can accumulate within the track of the door. When this detritus reaches a critical level it can block the roller and cause the door to jam. When the door jams the spring is left in a state of limbo, unable to either release its energy or coil up and store more energy. This has an enervating effect on the springs, causing them to lose the ability to hold a “charge”. Next time you call on them to open the door they respectfully decline. Or they work sluggishly and don’t open the door completely. If your garage door isn’t responding with the same vim and vigor you probably don’t need garage door opener repair, you need to have a spring or springs replaced.

Reason Three: Inadequate Maintenance

Wrenches on wall above tools for garage door maintenance

We touched on the subject of maintenance just briefly above but need to expand on it a bit more. The importance of proper maintenance cannot be overstated. The garage door, while resilient, is still a precision device that, like a car, requires periodic maintenance. And, again like a car, one of the most important aspects of proper maintenance is lubrication. If you don’t change the oil in your car engine it will eventually seize up. If you don’t have the torsion or extension springs on your garage door lubricated they will rust up and eventually snap. The best idea is to have A Better Garage Door's experienced team perform periodic maintenance on your door. They’ll not only make sure the springs are properly lubricated, they’ll also ensure other things aren’t impeding the smooth operation of your door and putting undue stress on the springs.

Reason Four: General Wear and Tear

Everything from cars to refrigerators to computers to garage doors suffer from the ravages of time. Constant use puts a lot of stress and strain on the door as a whole and on the springs in particular. These objects are infused with massive amounts of energy when they’re made and they spend their entire useful life discharging and recharging by opening and closing. While you can postpone the day of reckoning with proper maintenance there is no way to completely avoid the eventual need to call for garage door repair in Boulder, CO and have the springs replaced. The point is that if the door is old enough, it won’t matter anymore how much you lubricate the springs. They’ll need to be replaced.

Broken Garage Door Spring

Reason Five: Low Quality Installation

It’s often tempting to pay someone from the neighborhood who seems like they know what they’re doing to install your new garage door. But this is a practice fraught with perils. First, because if you have a non-professional (that would include yourself as well) install your new garage door you will, in all likelihood, invalidate the warranty. But beyond that we get calls for Broomfield garage door repair all the time that turn out to be problems with the springs caused by a faulty installation. Sometime those problems can be resolved fairly easy. While other times the springs will need to be scrapped and new ones installed. Don’t take a chance. If you need someone to install a new garage door call the pros at A Better Garage Door and get the job done right.

It’s understandable that most folks think the garage door opener opens the garage door. After all, it’s called the “opener” for a reason, right? Well, yes and no. It’s actually called the opener because calling it the “garage door starter and motion regulator” just wasn’t going to work from a marketing perspective. But that’s actually what it does. It plays a role in opening the door but doesn’t actually do much of the heavy lifting. Instead, it sets the door in motion and then regulates that motion to ensure it’s nice and even all the way up and back down again. But if the opener isn’t actually opening the door then what is? The answer is; the springs.

Five of the Biggest Errors Homeowners Make with Garage Door Springs

Wrong Way Sign Warns Homeowners Against Garage Spring Mistakes

Because the proper role of garage door springs in Northglenn is so often either misunderstood or simply overlooked homeowners have a tendency to make a few common mistakes in dealing with them. Some of these errors are relatively harmless but some could have dire consequences. Here are 5 of the biggest:

  1. Not listening to what the springs are saying - If you listen closely your garage door springs may be trying to tell you something. If you hear a thumping sound emanating from the door right before it finishes closing it may indicate that the springs need to be adjusted. If you hear a squeaking sound coming from the springs it likely indicates they need to be lubricated. If you’re hearing screeching and scraping sounds coming from the track it may indicate that one of the springs is broken or simply worn out and the door is being pulled to one side as it rises and falls. Ignoring these sounds could lead to serious accidents and/or expensive repairs down the line.

  2. Not replacing broken springs right away - Sometimes after they become aware one of their garage door springs has broken homeowners will simply leave the problem to be dealt with at a later date. After all, the opener still works so why should they worry about the springs? This is a big mistake. A door that has to depend on one of two springs to open and close is ripe for failure. Everything from the opener to the tracks, rollers, cables and the remaining spring are going to be stressed to the max and failure is inevitable. Stave off potentially catastrophic accidents by replacing springs immediately.

  3. Replacing only one spring - Sometimes after several years a garage door spring will snap. In such a case homeowners often call for garage door service in Northglenn and ask the technician to replace the broken spring, and only the broken spring. This is a mistake. If the first spring broke because its time had come the other spring is not going to be far behind. It’s better in this case to simply replace them both and return the door to proper functioning for the next 10 years or so. Also, running a door with a new spring and an old spring can damage the rollers and tracks and put undue stress on the opener.

  4. Trying to fix worn out or broken springs themselves - Perhaps the biggest, most dangerous mistake homeowners make is trying to repair or replace damaged springs themselves. The springs in your garage door mechanism store enormous amounts of energy. They need to in order to lift a door that often weighs many hundreds of pounds. Working around the torsion or extension springs then should only be done by those with the training and technical knowhow to do so safely. People die every year working on garage door springs. Most of those fatalities are homeowners who decided to repair or replace garage door springs themselves in order to save a few bucks. It’s just not worth it. Call the pros.

  5. Not calling for professional garage door services - Having your garage door serviced on an annual basis is the best way to ensure the springs are in good shape and you get 20 or more years of faithful service from the door itself. On the other hand not maintaining the garage door properly will typically shorten its life by 25% or more and subject everyone in the home to unnecessary risks associated with old, potentially worn out springs. Folks often make the mistake of thinking their garage door is self-sustaining and maintenance free. This is not actually the case. They won’t need much TLC but they will need some.

Garage door springs are the beating heart of your garage door system. Despite their essential role, they're likely the least understood component of the entire door mechanism. Don’t let them fall victim to neglect, poor maintenance or problems stemming from other parts of the door system. Poorly maintained garage door springs could jeapordize the safety of your loved ones. Have your garage door springs instected annually by the pros at A Better Garage Door and sleep a little easier.

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