Unlike torsion springs, replacing extension springs has long been given the "green light" for DIYers, primarily because you can complete the job without having to deal with spring tension. The general process is simple and safe: open the door to relieve the spring tension (and secure it open with C-clamps in the tracks); disconnect the spring from the track bracket and the spring pulley, and disconnect the safety cable from one end; install the new spring, reinstall the pulley, and reconnect the safety cable, and you're done.

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If the door only goes up six inches and stops, or moves very slowly when using your remote, you could have a broken spring as well. Some customers will notice that the top section of their door is bent or that the door falls very quickly when lowering. Your door may be “crooked” or jerky when going up and down, and both of these signs indicate your torsion spring is in poor condition and very likely to break in the near future. Any time you hear a loud “popping” noise while operating, you should inspect your torsion spring immediately for signs of damage.

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If you happen to be home when these break, you’ll hear a loud bang from inside your garage. This bang can be so loud that some people might think a firecracker went off inside their garage. That’s because garage doors can be very heavy and despite what most people think, it’s not the garage door opener that does the heavy lifting, but rather the heavy-duty springs of the door.
If you have two torsion springs on your garage door, the good spring will most likely keep the cables on the drums when the other spring breaks. This makes it much easier to lift because the good spring will be pulling half the weight of the garage door. You can also use the garage door opener to help assist while someone lifts the door and acts as the broken spring. Use extreme caution when doing this to prevent damage to your garage door or injury to a person.

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If your stuck garage door coincides with weather changes, you may need to adjust the pressure on the opener. Some openers have a force-adjustment mechanism that controls the force that's applied to operate the door. It's best to leave this adjustment to a garage door pro, as too much force may result in the door failing to stop when it should, posing a danger to people and objects in the door's path.
If you have two torsion springs on your garage door, the good spring will most likely keep the cables on the drums when the other spring breaks. This makes it much easier to lift because the good spring will be pulling half the weight of the garage door. You can also use the garage door opener to help assist while someone lifts the door and acts as the broken spring. Use extreme caution when doing this to prevent damage to your garage door or injury to a person.

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Guest 9232954 -- check out the other answers for this question, and the links below the answers for even more - seems from $125-400 range from different contributors (should be replaced in pairs for balanced lifting unless one spring is quite new), about $200-250 or 300 seems a common charge. The springs themselves generally run about $20-50 each depending on lead they have to carry.

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An extension spring counterbalance system consists of a pair of stretched springs running parallel to the horizontal tracks. The springs lift the door through a system of pulleys and counterbalance cables running from the bottom corner brackets through the pulleys. When the door is raised, the springs contract, thus lifting the door as the tension is released. Typically these springs are made of 11 gauge galvanized steel, and the lengths of these springs are based on the height of the garage door in question. Their lifting weight capacity can best be identified by the color that is painted on the ends of the springs.
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.
We arrived at a rental property and tried to open garage door to get our vehicle in so we could unload luggage, etc. Could not open from outside. Went into house and, from inside garage, tried automatic opener but this did not work. So in trying to open the door manually, I reached up and pulled on the red cord attached to a lever. What I could not see, and was not expecting, is that the rope was frayed through almost completely. The rope broke when I applied some weight to it, sending me backwards onto the floor of the garage.
The first thing to look for if your door is stuck is to check the sensors. Most automatic garage doors come with two sensors located on either side toward the bottom of the garage that will stop the door from closing in the event the event that a child or pet is in the way of the door. If your door gets stuck, the first thing to do is look at both sensors and make sure nothing is in the way.
2.3 Beware of older winding cones. These older Crawford and McKee torsion spring cones were made for 5/8" bars. Sometimes, however, the holes are too small for 5/8" bars. Whatever you do, don't use a 1/2" bar; instead, grind down a 5/8" bar to fit. I recently had a McKee spring let loose after winding because I used a 1/2" bar when my 5/8" bar wouldn't fit. Just before it let loose I was telling myself, "This is not safe." And it wasn't. The only safe way to replace these older springs is to make a winding bar for each hole of each cone.	

Locating a contractor - there are many professional overhead garage door companies. It is always advisable to contact at least three different agencies and request a bid or quote for the work. Be sure that each quote includes the costs for a few different types of doors, any installation fees, and the cost of wiring the electronic openers. Standard prices range from:
To evaluate whether the problem lies with the door or the automatic opener, make sure the door is in the fully closed position, then disengage the opener trolly from the door by pulling the emergency release cord. Try to lift the garage door by hand. If the door opens smoothly by hand, the problem is with the opener. If the garage door still only opens halfway, the problem is with the door.

Replacing a garage door panel can add significantly to the cost of a garage door repair. Panels run horizontally on sectional roll-up garage doors. They may be made of wood, vinyl, aluminum, fiberglass or steel. Garage door panels can become damaged from hail and other extreme weather, dents and dings, car accidents, and age. When deciding if you want to replace a garage door panel, it’s helpful to compare the potential repair cost to the cost of a new garage door. Panel replacement requires a pro with the proper tools as well as the new parts. With parts and labor you could be paying more than $500 for one new panel. In comparison, a new garage door may cost $800-$1,200 (on average) with installation. If there is a possibility your garage door was structurally compromised when the panel was damaged, have the pro assess whether it’s better to completely remove and replace the door, rails and framework to ensure your home’s safety. It may also be better to completely replace your door if it is severely rusted or dented; if the paint is peeling and fading; if the door model is outdated or you can’t find replacement panels; or if the panels or rails are structurally compromised.

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If a roll-up door, assuming you have not put in cabinets or anything that prohibits sliding the shaft sideways about 2-3 feet out of the spring to change it, then about $200-250 should do it for a 2-car garage door. If he has to disassemble the brackets to remove the springs because the shaft cannot slide sideways enough to get the springs on/off, then probably another $50-100.
As commercial and residential garage door service professionals, we’ve pretty much dealt with every issue you can think of when it comes to garage door repair. Even still, there are sometimes issues that continue to surprise us, like the tiny insect nest growing on the photo eye sensor or the tennis ball that somehow managed to knock the door entirely off its track. Even though these issues are uncommon, it’s nothing that garage door service professionals like us can’t handle!
The average cost is $190 for 2 springs in the Detroit area. This is for steel doors weighing under 140 lbs or known as a standard spring which fits 90% of all doors. The remaining 10% are wood doors or large heavy insulated doors. Expect to pay an additional $60 - $100 for a set of these. Garage Door Companies rarely carry these springs on their vehicles or stock them. Therefore, they either buy them locally at a premium or special order them. Regardless, its an additional trip that gets figured into the cost.
Garage door springs don’t require extensive care and maintenance. However, they also can’t be left entirely to their own devices. Spraying the springs with WD-40 is a good place to start. It’s also a good idea to check the balance of the garage door every year. To do this, simply lift the garage door up about halfway and let go. If the springs are in good working condition, the door should remain still. If the springs are beginning to weaken, the door might sag or fall. By taking these basic steps, you can preserve your door springs for longer.

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Containment cables. When old extension springs break, the springs and cables become heavy whips that damage cars and even injure people. To solve the whipping problem, manufacturers now offer containment cables that run through the center of side-mounted extension springs. If you have extension springs and don’t plan to replace your door, make sure the springs have these containment cables, or have a professional install them.
If you have two torsion springs on your garage door, the good spring will most likely keep the cables on the drums when the other spring breaks. This makes it much easier to lift because the good spring will be pulling half the weight of the garage door. You can also use the garage door opener to help assist while someone lifts the door and acts as the broken spring. Use extreme caution when doing this to prevent damage to your garage door or injury to a person.

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If you happen to be home when these break, you’ll hear a loud bang from inside your garage. This bang can be so loud that some people might think a firecracker went off inside their garage. That’s because garage doors can be very heavy and despite what most people think, it’s not the garage door opener that does the heavy lifting, but rather the heavy-duty springs of the door.

We arrived at a rental property and tried to open garage door to get our vehicle in so we could unload luggage, etc. Could not open from outside. Went into house and, from inside garage, tried automatic opener but this did not work. So in trying to open the door manually, I reached up and pulled on the red cord attached to a lever. What I could not see, and was not expecting, is that the rope was frayed through almost completely. The rope broke when I applied some weight to it, sending me backwards onto the floor of the garage.
Traditional One Panel: These doors consist of one large panel which tilts to open by employing a spring mechanism to swing upward. The wood version is popular in the South and Southeastern US, where a milder climate keeps the wood from rapidly deteriorating. Traditional garage door designs include Cape, Colonial, Ranch, Tudor and Craftsman. The disadvantage is these doors require a lot of clearance to operate correctly. Sometimes repairs can be difficult because of the heaviness of the door or its inaccessibility. Average cost to repair tilt-up doors is $172.

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Typically, it will cost less to install a steel garage door without an opener than to install a custom wood door with a garage door opener. Recent innovations have also yielded high-tech doors with thick insulation and energy-efficient glaze, as well as finished interior surfaces and other significant upgrades. These are more expensive doors, but they are also extremely durable.
The winding and unwinding is done at a metal fitting, called a winding cone, attached to the outside end of the spring. You stick a winding bar into one of the four holes in the cone and use the bar as a lever to turn the cone. Once you've completed a quarter turn, insert the other bar into a different hole in the cone and let the bar lever against the closed garage door to hold the spring tension. This allows you to move the original bar to repeat the process, alternating the bars with each quarter-turn. It takes about 30 quarter-turns to fully tension a standard torsion spring.
Replacing a garage door panel can add significantly to the cost of a garage door repair. Panels run horizontally on sectional roll-up garage doors. They may be made of wood, vinyl, aluminum, fiberglass or steel. Garage door panels can become damaged from hail and other extreme weather, dents and dings, car accidents, and age. When deciding if you want to replace a garage door panel, it’s helpful to compare the potential repair cost to the cost of a new garage door. Panel replacement requires a pro with the proper tools as well as the new parts. With parts and labor you could be paying more than $500 for one new panel. In comparison, a new garage door may cost $800-$1,200 (on average) with installation. If there is a possibility your garage door was structurally compromised when the panel was damaged, have the pro assess whether it’s better to completely remove and replace the door, rails and framework to ensure your home’s safety. It may also be better to completely replace your door if it is severely rusted or dented; if the paint is peeling and fading; if the door model is outdated or you can’t find replacement panels; or if the panels or rails are structurally compromised.
9.14 Slide the springs to the bracket. Double-check to make sure you have the right wound spring on the left side and the left wind spring on the right side. Turn the springs until the ends are facing you. The wire at the ends of both torsion springs here at the bracket should be pointing down. At the winding cones at the opposite ends, the spring wire points up. If not, reverse the springs. About once a month we get a phone call from a do-it-yourself customer who begins the conversation with, "I wound the garage door spring to about six turns and the spring came loose from the cone." We normally refer them back to this step and suggest they switch their springs.

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If you need to leave the door open until you can make repairs, block the door track on both sides so the door can't move, and unplug the garage door opener (if you have one). If you want to close the door, you can try closing it with the opener, making sure there's nothing in the door's path in case something goes wrong. However, this will put some strain on the opener. Alternatively, you can have a few strong helpers hold the door while you disconnect it from the opener and carefully close the door manually—again, it will be very heavy.

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These instructions were first posted in 2005, and they were updated in August of 2008. I have been frank about the hazards of garage door repairs and about my own accidents incurred while replacing torsion springs. For what it's worth, you might be surprised to know that I, too, have benefitted from producing these instructions. I have not had any garage door accidents since we first published these on the web in 2005. And, in as much as I have helped keep other DIY-ers out of the emergency room, I consider myself somewhat of a medical practitioner.

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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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