The tricky parts of the job involve you carrying the tension of the spring. Replacing a spring requires that you first unwind the spring to relieve the tension, then wind it back up and secure it while it's under tension. Winding bars are used for all winding and unwinding actions—don't try to save a few bucks by substituting long screwdrivers or pieces of rebar for the real winding bars. Substitute tools are much more likely to slip, or they may bend or break under the load of the spring.
6.4 Test the fit of the bar in the cone before loosening a set screw. Insert one end of your winding bar into one of the holes of the winding cone. Pull down on the bar slightly to make sure the set screws are tight. Position your ruler between the bar and the garage door. Move the bottom of the bar from side to side and measure the play. It should be less than an inch and a half. If it is over 2" either get someone else to change your springs or have someone make some bars that will properly fit the cones.
Because garage doors are large, heavy, and mildly complicated, most people who buy them take advantage of these services. But, if you’re pretty adept at DIY tasks, you can save some money and enjoy the satisfaction of doing the job of installing a sectional garage door yourself. (Sectional garage doors travel up and down on rollers that ride along tracks at each side of the garage doorway.)
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.
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.
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Our garage door broke 3 days before Christmas, trapping my car inside. We contacted our home warranty, and within 24 hours, Sears called with an appointment time for the next day! I was so impressed! I thought, for sure, with the holidays, we would have to wait. When the technician showed up, he was so friendly. Unfortunately, the repair was not covered under our warranty, but he was able to help us get a good deal on a new spring and still make the repairs that day before he left. He also gave us great advice on how to keep the spring lubricated so it would not break again. I felt like he really went above and beyond to provide great service. Since moving into this new house in August, we have used Sears for several things now, and have been very pleased with the service. It's nice to see that in an age when so many companies just put customer service on the back burner in order to meet their bottom line, Sears still really cares and makes their customers feel important. Thanks for taking care of us this Christmas!
Torsion springs are located above the opening of your door with springs that slide onto a bar. Extension spring systems can be found alongside the opening of the door. It's important to know whether or not a garage door company provides service for your needs. Precision's professionally trained technicians are fully equipped to work on torsion and extension spring systems.
Lower the door and dismantle it by removing the hardware. Lower a double door by recruiting at least two helpers to help with the weight, and place a 2×4 block under the door to prevent smashing a foot or finger when it’s lowered. Remove the sections one at a time by disconnecting the rollers and brackets. If you have windows, tape them to help control flying shards if they break. Then remove the old roller tracks and remaining hardware.
Garage door springs come in two styles: torsion (see above), which mounts on the header above the door, and extension (Photo 1), which floats above the upper roller track. In the past, extension springs were safer to install but didn’t have containment cables running through the center of the spring. Without cable, these springs become dangerous, heavy whips when they break. They also tend to be noisier than torsion springs, and we recommend you use them only if you don’t have the 12 in. of headroom above the door that a torsion spring requires.
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To realign the track, first loosen the screws that hold the track to the frame. Then, gently tap the track with a rubber mallet to move it back into the proper position. Use a level to ensure it’s perfectly straight. Once you have the alignment correct, tighten the screws securely to ensure the track won’t move and cause more issues when opening your garage door. You’ll need to repeat this same process on the other tracks as well, as these may also be out of alignment.
Just like on a bike sprocket, your cables can sometimes become disengaged. Oftentimes, when a torsion spring breaks, the garage door cable will snap as a result. Sometimes, the cable will cause damage to a vehicle or wall, and if a person happens to be in the way of the cable it can cause serious harm. If you cables have snapped, you should call a professional to help you. See the video above.
Replacing torsion springs is done with the door closed. You start by carefully unloading all of the springs (most standard-size doors have two; any broken spring will already be unloaded), using the winding bars. Then, you unbolt the springs from the central rod bracket, disconnect the cables from the pulleys, and loosen the pulleys and slide them off of the rod. Next, you swap out the springs, reinstall the pulleys and cables, and secure the inside ends of the springs to the central bracket. Finally, you wind up both springs (securing them with two setscrew bolts on the winding cones) and test the door for proper spring tension. Often, springs need an extra quarter-turn or two to get the door balance just right.
If you have a steel door, but want the look of a wood one, it is not necessary to change your entire garage door. Often, it may be possible to mimic the look of wood with skillful painting. Your local home improvement store may be able to provide good advice about the type of paint and brushes needed to mimic the look of wood for your particular door material.
The Torquemaster system has a lock built into each side on a double car door that will activate when a spring breaks causing the door to lock in the up position. It is very simple to deactivate this lock and get your door closed. But, you can guarantee you have a broken spring inside the Torquemaster tube on the side where the lock activated. You will need the spring inside replaced or have it converted over to a standard torsion spring set up, which is what we recommend and a service we perform quite frequently. A standard torsion spring will last 3 times longer than the small spring inside the Torquemaster tube.
Garage door springs support most of the weight of the door when it's opening and closing. A broken spring typically will make the door very hard to lift, rather than causing the door to stick halfway. But some spring problems can contribute to a stuck door. The springs help turn metal wheels, called pulleys, that help lift the door via vertical cables at each side of the door. A pulley can become jammed by an obstruction or possibly a misaligned or hung-up cable. Any problems with springs or pulley should be examined by a garage door professional. Springs (and pulleys) are highly tensioned and can be very dangerous to work with.
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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6.7 It's now time to unwind the spring. Firmly position yourself on a steady ladder beside the garage door. Next, insert the bar into one of the holes of the winding cone. Make sure it goes all the way in. It should click when your bar hits the core. If you want to test the force you will be handling before loosening the set screws, push up on the bar one quarter turn and bring it back down. Next, while grasping the other end of the bar firmly, loosen the set screws with an open-end wrench or small adjustable wrench loose enough to come free should the cone spin. Be prepared for the torque to be transferred to the bar.
Garage door springs can —and will—break, and if you're anywhere near the garage when this happens, you'll know it. Nothing else sounds quite like a giant metal spring snapping under tension. Even if you don't hear it, you'll know the spring broke as soon as you (or your garage door opener) try to lift the door and finds that it now weighs twice as much. So faced with a broken garage door spring, the question is, can you fix it yourself?