“Should I Replace Both Garage Door Springs?”
Yes. You may be tempted to save money on parts and labor by replacing just one spring, but you’ll likely need to replace both when one spring breaks.
Garage doors have two springs, one on either side of the door. The springs exert the force that makes the door light enough to be lifted. When one garage door spring breaks, many homeowners wonder if they need to replace both springs or if they can replace only the one that malfunctioned. Read below to learn why you should always replace both garage door springs when one breaks.
Why Is a Balanced Garage Door Important?
Springs keep your garage door balanced, ensuring that both sides of the door rise up and down at the same time. If one spring breaks, it throws off the function of the door. The two sides will rise and fall at different speeds.
You’ll hear more noise when you use the garage door, and the other spring will wear down faster with the higher workload, trying to balance out the issues on the other side of the door.
The average life expectancy of a garage door spring is about 10,000 open and close cycles. For most garages, that means about seven to nine years, but some springs break within four or five years with frequent use.
How can you tell if your garage door is unbalanced? In addition to hearing more noise, you can look for several telltale signs. A slanted or crooked door is a sign of imbalance, and so is a garage door that slams down when you close it instead of coming down slowly. If you notice increasing gaps between the coils in your springs, consider it an indication that the springs are failing and may need replacements.
What Is the Danger of an Unbalanced Garage Door?
If one spring breaks, there are several things that can occur:
- The door may close suddenly.
- Loose springs can crack or fall out of the brackets.
- The door may speed up or slow down, becoming unpredictable and putting you and your family in danger when you try to enter or exit the garage.
Having a malfunctioning spring can lead to warping on the tracks due to wear on the wheels. The motor can also experience greater demand for its power when the garage door is being pushed up, which means it will need to be replaced sooner.
An imbalanced garage door can also cause injury or damage to your property. If your garage door falls on your car, you may need to take it to the shop for repairs. It could fall on something sitting near your garage door entrance, too, such as a bike or scooter.
Should I Replace Both Garage Door Springs?
If you’re thinking of replacing one garage door spring, you’re probably better off replacing both. Your garage door will function better when you get two new springs to balance out the wear and tear, and you’ll gain peace of mind protecting your family from the consequences of a broken spring.
Can a Garage Door Operate With One Spring?
No. Both springs must work together to pull the garage door up and bring it down gently. When operation relies on one spring, in addition to presenting safety concerns, it can also lead to wear and tear on the door.
You shouldn’t try to balance a garage door yourself. While replacing both springs is critical for your door to function again, only a professional can provide the repairs you need. Garage door repair technicians understand how to perform tests on the door’s balance.
Garage doors are heavy, often weighing hundreds of pounds, and you don’t want to put yourself in harm’s way. The safest option is to get help with the replacement of both springs.
Why Do Garage Door Springs Break?
The most frequent reason a garage door spring breaks is wear and tear. Nothing lasts forever, and when your garage door goes up and down at least twice a day, that puts a lot of tension on the spring. You can buy extended life span torsion springs to get more use out of your garage springs, but you’ll still need to replace them at some point.
Another contributor to broken garage door springs is rust. It shortens the life span of a spring and leads to more friction when the coils move. You can apply a silicone-based lubricant to your springs every season to reduce rusting.
Poor maintenance may also cause springs to break. You should check the garage door balance every year so you can detect any potential issues early. Use the emergency release cord to put the door in manual mode, and then lift the door and let go. Well-maintained springs will keep the door in place.
What Type of Garage Spring Do I Need?
To replace the spring correctly, you’ll need to know what type you have. The two main types of springs are extension and torsion.
Torsion springs are the long, thin springs along the door’s horizontal track, which extend when you move the door. They include three types of springs:
- Open-looped extension springs
- Double-looped extension springs
- Clipped-end extension springs
Torsion springs sit on the metal shaft above the door opening. They get wound to a specific torsion that assists with the assembly. The four types are:
- Early-set torsion springs.
- Standard torsion springs.
- Torque-master torsion springs.
- Steel rolling door torsion springs.
Is It Dangerous to Replace a Garage Door Spring?
Yes, it can be dangerous for a homeowner to replace a broken garage door spring. Garage doors are heavy, and their components are under a lot of pressure. It’s best to leave the job to a professional. The dangers of attempting repairs or replacement on your own may include:
- Springs snapping back on you as you try to replace them: The tension in the springs can produce quite a sting or even cause serious injury.
- The door falling on you as you work: A broken spring can make a garage door close suddenly, injuring you or damaging any items in the door’s path.
- Estimating the wrong tension for the springs: If you guess wrong, then the garage door could fall when you’re using it later.
What Do I Need to Replace a Snapped Garage Door Spring?
To replace an extension spring, you will need the replacement part as well as C-clamps. Open the garage door, then secure it with the C-clamps. Take the spring off the track bracket and pulley, and remove one end of the safety cable. Put the new spring on along with the pulley and connect the safety cable again.
Torsion springs are more challenging to work with. Close the door and unwind both the springs. Take them off the central rod bracket and take the cables off the pulleys. Slide the loosened pulleys off the rod. Put on the new springs, then reinstall the pulleys and cables. Wind up both springs using a winding bar and test the door balance.
Contact Oregon City Garage Door for Spring Repairs and Replacements
Now you understand why a balanced garage door is essential. It protects you and your family. Performing repairs on your springs or replacing them yourself may cause safety issues, and the work can be challenging if you’re not familiar with all the moving parts. It’s best to leave repairs and replacements to the professionals, especially if you live in Tualatin, Wilsonville, Tigard, Portland, Happy Valley, Canby or any other areas in Portland for which we regularly provide expert garage door services.
If you need assistance replacing your garage door springs, give Oregon City Garage Door a call at 503-632-3070 or contact us online to schedule service. We can get the job done quickly and correctly the first time around.