Garage Door Spring Troubleshooting, Maintenance and Replacement

Garage Door Spring Troubleshooting, Maintenance, and Replacement

The garage door spring is the mechanism that allows for easy opening and safe closing. The average doors weigh between 150 and 205 pounds. It would not be possible for the average homeowner to slide the sections up without the assistance of the spring-loaded mechanism.

The doors may have one or two springs. Some older models may still have the extension type of springs, but most manufacturers started using the torsion design years ago to enhance safety and the lifespan of the lifting mechanism.

Most torsion springs garage door lifting devices manufactured today have an average life expectancy of 7,000-10,000 cycles. That could equate to as long as seven years, depending on how well the mechanism maintained and how often the doors are opened and closed on a daily basis.

Below, you will find information about troubleshooting, maintenance, and replacement. First, you will see a brief description of the design and how it works. It will help you to understand the information in the other sections better.

Explanation of the Design

The designs vary somewhat from one manufacturer to another. For example, your model may have one or two springs.

If you have one of the older doors with the extension lifting mechanism, you should consider contacting a professional about replacing it with a newer model, especially if you are still using the original parts.

The extension design is a safety hazard. Becoming stretched over time, the spring(s) can break, and the doors can fall. Anyone inside could be injured, and anything in the path of the moving doors could be crushed if that happened. The torsion design uses a safer counterbalance system.

The coated steel wires are wound tightly on a tube-shaped shaft with a cable drum at each end. The entire apparatus mounts on the header wall above the opening. It supported by a center bearing plate and two end bearing plates.

It is not usually necessary to replace garage door spring apparatuses completely. In many cases, the bearing plates and the tube shaft can be reused. Only the part encasing the wire, the winding or tensioning cones and the anchor cones need to be replaced.


An unusual or loud noise, shaking and less than smooth movements are among the common complaints. Those things do not necessarily mean that it is time for a garage door spring replacement. It could be an issue with maintenance or balance.

The track can become loose over time. Likewise, the bearing plates can work loose. The fasteners holding the rails or brackets in place could have become stripped. Replacing any of those small items would be inexpensive.

If shaking is the problem, check all of the screws or bolts for tightness. As with any other fastener, you do not want to over-tighten them. If you suspect that one of the fasteners stripped, you should be able to replace it.

You would want to take the original bolt to a hardware or home improvement store. If you can’t find what you need, you can contact a professional company that deals specifically with the garage door spring and similar parts.

Shaking seen or unusual noises heard during the opening or closing process could be caused by debris in the track. If a smooth operation is a problem, improper balance is the likely cause. Balancing should be done by a professional, but the homeowner can check for balance as a part of regular maintenance.

Other issues, such as ice or debris in the track are maintenance issues, as well. In Toronto, ice buildup is a common problem. You should use caution when removing the ice, as it can damage the track. You’ll learn more about maintenance in the next section.

Failure to open is most often caused by a dysfunctional remote or a dysfunctional opener. Check the batteries in the remote and check the opener for a problem light, before doing anything else.

Maintenance Required for Torsion Springs Garage Door Raising Mechanisms

As mentioned above, balance is one of the issues that can cause complaints. You can check out how well the doors are adjusted only by watching them carefully during the opening and closing process.

The process should be smooth. No resistance should be seen as the rollers move along the track. You should take the time to watch the process on a monthly basis. That way, you will notice when something is unusual.

All of the moving parts (but not the track) should be lubricated on a monthly basis. Regular lubrication will reduce the need to replace garage door spring mechanisms. It could allow the parts to last for the maximum life expectancy of 7 years or even longer.

The track should not be lubricated because it will make the surface sticky, more likely to attract dirt and grime which will interfere with proper function. The bearings, hinges, torsion springs and rollers can be sprayed with a light coating of a silicone lubricant on a monthly basis.

Garage Door Spring Replacement

So far, you have learned about maintenance and troubleshooting. You know that shaking or noise could be caused by debris in the track or improper balance.

What tells you that it is time for the part that is the subject of this article to be replaced? In a word, the answer is the failure; the failure that is not related to the opener or the remote control. You might even be able to see that the part is broken. In some cases, a sudden break occurs, and there is a clean visible separation.

Torsion springs garage door mechanisms can be replaced when no other cause for the failure can be determined. The procedure can be dangerous if the homeowner is not familiar with it or does not have the necessary tools.

Professionals can be hired to do the work.  In the Greater Toronto Area, professional service is available through Phoenix Garage Doors Toronto. The easiest way to have the part or parts replaced is to hire a professional. It could save you money in the long run.

Even homeowners who decide to have a professional replace garage door spring loaded mechanisms benefit from understanding how the process works, but the exact process differs from one brand to the next. It becomes particularly complicated when you are dealing with a model that manufactured decades ago.

Assuming the model is not too old, the first thing to do is to determine the right size to order. You can do that without removing the broken spring from the tube. You will find a measurement guide on another page of this site.

One of the things that make garage door spring replacement difficult for the average homeowner is that a special tool is required. The necessary tools needed include a socket set, a box-end wrench, and an open-end wrench.

The special tool is called a winding device. It’s not that easy to find. Winding device is a pair of steel rods of different diameters. If you do a little internet surfing, you will see that some engineers have been able to make their own. If you have the talent, you might try it.

One of the most common accidents that occur during garage door spring replacement is falling off the ladder. If you do decide to do-it-yourself, consider using scaffolding or have someone hold the ladder for you. It could save your life.