Most people think of "spring break” as a fun time. When it pertains to your garage door and it’s serious enough to sound like a gunshot, it might not make the “fun” list.
Once you have a minute to catch your breath and calm down, you start to wonder why this happened and what went wrong. You can’t see anything, but when you go to use the door, suddenly it’s not working properly and it’s making a variety of strange noises.
Upon looking up, you notice that the once intact lifting spring snapped right in two.
Did you miss something??!? How could this happen? Don’t worry, because we have everything that you need to know right here in this guide. Take a few minutes to read through the information below to learn all about why springs break and what you can do.
It’s all about the springs
Spring systems are the basis of any good garage door opener system, even if it’s just a manual door track and spring system. There are two types:
Typically, the torsion spring can be found in a steel tube, located above the door, which is attached to the wall by an anchor plate that’s designed to take the weight transfer when opening and closing the door.
If the headroom is insufficient, you may need to install this plate along the end of the horizontal track, which is known as a double-horizontal track system, sometimes also called a low-headroom installation.
Extension springs can be found on each side of the garage door, with the horizontal tracks running under them.
As the name advises, this type of spring system works by extending and coiling as the door opens and closes. These springs require the installation of proper safety cables.
The safety cable ensures that the spring that breaks does not become a dangerous projectile that causes damage to the garage, vehicles, or even injury to people.
This spring system is also a counterweight for the door’s deadweight.
In the case of a 9x7-ft. Garage door with windows, the deadweight is 135 pounds, on average.
Whether you open manually or use an electric garage door opener, you should only feel like you’re lifting 8-10 pounds.
The opener may be rated for excessive weight, but it’s only designed to replace the manual effort of opening and closing the door.
Finally, remember that if garage doors can lift this much, they can push that much, too. Keep yourself and your family members out of the path of the door that is descending.
Why do springs break?
Although many things can go wrong, the typical culprits include:
1. Regular wear
All garage door springs, including torsion and extension systems alike, are expected to last for just 5-7 years.
Fortunately, the most common manufacturers provide standard 10,000-cycle spring systems. One “cycle” is one full opening and closing of the door.
That means you'll use about 1,500 cycles each year if you use the door 2-4 times a day.
In the event the door is used more than 5 times a day, consider upgrading to a 20,000-25,000 cycle system.
2. Defect in manufacturing
Torsion springs are notorious for breakage due to rust as a result of low-quality galvanization. Usually, with extension springs, the damage comes in the ring located at the end of each spring. These mistakes and defects happen, albeit not often, but could be an issue.
3. Bad calibration of springs
Sometimes, the wrong spring system will be installed with the garage door. Unfortunately, the door will still work “properly”, so it may go unnoticed that you’re putting excess stress on the entire system. Springs need to be calibrated within 5% variation, so springs and the door they are meant to hold should match in weight.
4. Environmental issues
Even garages that have some insulation and/or heating will have issues with moisture and cold air. Plus, springs are usually located near walls anyway, which exposes them to more temperature extremes and moisture.
Even with the protection of galvanized materials, some springs can still become rusty and damaged. Extreme temperatures (below -130F (-25 0C)) can result in the wire drying out and breaking.
5. Lack of maintenance
All garage doors and springs require routine maintenance. For springs, it’s usually as simple as lubrication.
Proper lubrication of metal parts twice per year will do wonders. You should lubricate once in the fall or winter and once in the spring when temperatures first go below freezing and then again when they start to rise back above freezing at night.
Boost Your Spring System’s Lifespan Easily
Lubricate Once Each Year or when needed.
It’s easy, all you need to do is use a non-drip lithium base oil. Use a cloth or spray carefully and apply it completely around the coils.
Wipe off the excess and that’s all there is to it. Lubrication keeps the springs in better shape and can help to eliminate clinking noises in springs.
After few years the lubricant might pick up some dust, you can easily wipe it off and replace the lubricant.
Check with your garage door dealer to get the lubricants you’ll need.
Who can I hire to help?
“ Garage Door Tune-up ” programs are available from your local Garaga dealer. This preventive maintenance plan will keep your door in good condition and ensure the longest lifespan for your springs. Think of it as routine maintenance similar to what you do for your car.
The springs keep aging and you’ve decided to take action?
Contact us now at 1-800-696-1926.
Whether you just need to replace your springs or you’re considering new garage doors and garage door openers, we know better than the rest what you need and how we can help. For your convenience, we also offer a quotation by email.
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