So your garage door is acting up, but you aren’t sure what the problem is. Maybe the door spring is one possible culprit, but you’re not sure if that’s actually the problem or if it’s something else. In this quick list, we’ll go through the most common broken garage door spring symptoms. If your garage door is exhibiting one or a few of these symptoms, there’s a good chance it’s broken and needs replacing.


Extension springs last 15,000 cycles. Every time the door goes up and down is one cycle. On average extension springs will last 7 to 12 years. For most people, you know you need to replace your extension springs because it snaps. Sometimes, however, when extension springs get older, they can lose their tension and the spring becomes elongated. This is rare but it does still happen. Basically, the coils are fatigued and when the door is up you can see gaps where the spring is not relaxing properly. When this happens, the spring is useless. It is best to replace the springs at this point rather than overworking the opener which will cause it to last a shorter life.
Overhead garage doors weigh hundreds of pounds, and doors that are not properly maintained or which are equipped with older automatic garage door openers can be safety time bombs. All too common are the tragic stories of garage doors injuring or even killing children or pets who found themselves underneath a closing door. Modern automatic door openers with auto-stop and auto-reverse mechanisms have greatly reduced such accidents, but mishaps can still occur if the door and door opener are not properly maintained. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtube.be&v=Z_eZc-kh40c
Installing an overhead garage door requires a few tools and a friend to help. First, the lower door panel needs to be set up in the center of the doorway. The remaining panels and tracks are held in place with hinges, brackets, and screws. Set up an easy-to-install torsion spring system to ensure that your door lifts properly for many years to come.

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Test the door balance. A garage door should require only a few pounds of pressure to move it up and down. If springs wear out and lose their resiliency, a power garage door opener may need to work extra hard to lift the door. This can quickly wear out the motor on the opener. Replacing worn-out springs is usually a job for a professional technician.

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If you use the correct tools and follow our instructions, you can rebuild the entire torsion spring system in just a few hours, without any side trips to the ER. We won't cover how to replace garage door extension spring systems in this story. But we'll show you garage door spring replacement on the more common torsion springs, the kind that mount on a bar above the garage door.
If your garage door is equipped with extension springs (usually seen on single car garages), the cable and pulley might be hanging down when the spring break's. Extension springs use a two pulley system on each side of the door to lift the garage door up and down. When the spring break's everything goes haywire, causing the cables to become twisted or even frayed when they catch on the metal edge of the track. There is a lot of force being released when a garage door spring breaks.
Opening the door yourself is recommended only during an emergency, as there is an increased risk of it getting stuck again-or worse yet, crashing down on top of you. Moving a wooden door could cause damage to the opener, or the top of a steel door might bend underneath the pressure. If you must open the door long enough to drive underneath it, you may want to prop up either side with some 2×4 pieces of lumber to provide added stability. You could also secure your door to its tracks using a pair of vise grips or a couple of c-clamps.
Another scenario is the garage door goes up very slowly when using the automatic opener. Some garage door openers have DC motors that start off slow when opening and then kick into a higher speed. If you have a broken spring, the opener might stay in the slower speed due to the heavy weight of the garage door. If this happens to you, close the garage door and pull the emergency release rope. Next, try to lift the door. If it is really heavy, then you most likely have a broken garage door spring.
9.8 Twist the garage door shaft to tighten the cable on the drum. While twisting, vise grip the shaft as shown to keep the cable tight on the drum. The top of the vise grip should be tight against the garage header. This will keep the cable snug on the first drum while you install the cable on the other drum and position it in place. It also keeps the shaft from turning and the cables peeling off when you wind the springs. That one grip can save many hours of walking back and forth and having to level and re-level the garage door after winding the torsion springs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtube_gdata&v=Z_eZc-kh40c
If you have a garage door opener and you suspect a spring has broken, do not disconnect the opener from the door (by pulling the red emergency release handle) while the door is open. If you do, the door can come crashing down under its nearly full weight, with nothing to stop it. This is an extremely dangerous situation. It is never safe to leave the door open when a spring has broken because someone might try to close the door without realizing how heavy it is. Or, they might pull the emergency release handle on the opener.

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From a big-box store, basic garage door cables can run between $8 and $20, depending on the product. Your pro may charge you a different cost if they provide the cables. Your cables may not need to be replaced if they have simply come off the track, but broken cables will need to be completely removed and replaced. In either instance, the pros will need to secure or take down the door; unwind the springs; reset or replace the rollers, cables, and drums; and then wind the springs once more. For example, a pro could reset cables that have come off the track for $129.99. The average national cost for a garage door repair specialist is $80 - $110 per hour and the typical cost to replace a broken garage door cable is anywhere from $130 to $200.

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When it comes to garage doors, functionality and safety are equally important in the eyes of Sears Garage Door technicians. Our associates know the importance of garage door safety and the hazards that a faulty garage door can pose for your family. To confirm that your garage door and opener operate safely, our technicians perform a 20-point safety check during maintenance calls and repair jobs. This safety check verifies that any repair work performed has been done correctly and that there are no lingering safety problems with your door and mechanisms. If our technician discovers any safety concerns, he’ll advise you on the best way to proceed with correcting the problem.
Mechanical garage door openers can pull or push a garage door with enough force to injure or kill people and pets if they become trapped. All modern openers are equipped with “force settings” that make the door reverse if it encounters too much resistance while closing or opening. Any garage door opener sold in the United States after 1992 requires safety eyes—sensors that prevent the door from closing if obstructed. Force settings should cause a door to stop or reverse on encountering more than approximately 20 lbs (9.07 kg) of resistance. Safety eyes should be installed a maximum of six inches above the ground. Many garage door injuries, and nearly all garage door related property damage, can be avoided by following these precautions. 

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If you have decided to replace your springs, if you are sure your door had the correct springs, and if you are ready to buy new ones, we recommend that you measure your spring or springs following the instructions in Step 4 below. Measuring springs can be difficult; most individuals, even garage door technicians, sometimes have difficulty measuring torsion springs. Ordering incorrect springs wastes time and money. http://youtube.com/v/Z_eZc-kh40c
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