Extension spring systems should always be restrained by a safety cable that runs through the middle of the spring, tying off to a solid point at the rear and front of the horizontal door track. Extension springs represent a hazard to bystanders when a spring, pulley, or cable breaks under tension. Metal parts from extension spring systems can suddenly be launched.
The following procedures are based on my 30 years in the garage door industry. In spite of my high mechanical aptitude, even after 18 years in the trade I lost the end of my left index finger. A few years later I had five stitches in my right thumb, and a year later five stitches in my left thumb. In 2004 emergency room staffs dug steel out of my eye and sewed up my ring finger with eight stitches. The best I can do is help you minimize the risk of injury; that's all I can do for myself. I am not so naive as to think that I have made my last trip to the emergency room. Repairing garage doors, particularly replacing torsion springs, is dangerous work, whether you are a do-it-yourself homeowner or an experienced technician.
Noisy garage doors cause all kinds of problems, especially for anyone who has to sleep above or next to the garage. Fortunately, most noisy garage doors can be fixed with a combination of routine maintenance and the replacement of a few parts. If the basic maintenance tips described above don't quiet a noisy garage door, it's possible that the door's hinges need to be replaced.
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.

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Loosen the set screws while holding each spring with a winding bar. Position a sturdy ladder to the side of the springs, rather than working directly in front of them, for safety reasons. Put on eye protection and leather gloves. Push a winding bar into the bottom hole of the winding cone on the outside of 1 spring. Use a wrench to loosen the 2 set screws. Keep a firm grip on the bar as the the spring will expand powerfully as the screws are released. Repeat on the other side.[2]


Your door’s torsion spring is located approximately one foot from the top section of your door when it is closed. It consists of two large coil springs, and is approximately the length of your arm. Its purpose is to balance the weight of your door so that a door weighing between 160 and 185 pounds is practically weightless to lift. As such, it makes it possible for a garage door opener to raise the door using only ten pounds of pressure.
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.

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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A standard double garage door is 7 ft. high by 16 ft. wide. Standard single doors are 7 ft. high by 8 or 9 ft. wide. Because the doors are so large, few home centers and only some garage door stores keep many doors in stock, so expect to order one instead of buying it off the shelf. Garage doors are available in wood, fiberglass and steel. Steel doors, like ours, are light, maintenance-free, affordable, readily available, and have an insulating value as high as R-19.
Homeowners have long been warned that torsion springs are extremely dangerous to work with and that replacing them must be left to a professional. But these claims are somewhat exaggerated. If you understand how they work, and you pay attention to what you're doing, you can replace them safely and surprisingly easily. Granted, they're a little spooky to work with at first (partly due to their reputation), but this is a good thing—you really don't want to forget that they're under tension. Thinking about every step — before you take it — is the key to staying safe.
7.4 Check to make sure the torsion hardware is secure. If needed tighten the lag screws that attach the spring anchor bracket to the header. If loose, replace with longer or thicker lags. Brackets for doublewide wood doors should have two lags on the bottom, because when the springs are wound the spring torque pulls the bracket from the bottom. Never touch these when the springs are wound. One of my customers removed the screws when the springs were wound. He broke his arm in 14 places and almost died. He spent a month in the hospital.

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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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Z_eZc-kh40c
We couldn't have been happier with the technician. He was prompt, efficient, didn't complain about moving items to do the installation, cleaned up after himself, was polite and thorough. He seemed very sure of exactly what to do next. As a favor, he took a couple of minutes to remove a light globe to replace a bulb since he had the ladder in the garage because we can't get to it. We were very impressed with him. We would definitely request him again.
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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We couldn't have been happier with the technician. He was prompt, efficient, didn't complain about moving items to do the installation, cleaned up after himself, was polite and thorough. He seemed very sure of exactly what to do next. As a favor, he took a couple of minutes to remove a light globe to replace a bulb since he had the ladder in the garage because we can't get to it. We were very impressed with him. We would definitely request him again.
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.

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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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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.

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Install the vertical roller tracks first by wrapping the curved lip around the rollers. The top of these tracks should be approximately 8 in. below the top of the top section. Wait to install the upper tracks until this step is complete. Check the level of the top section to make sure the tops of the vertical roller tracks are level with each other. The bottom of the roller tracks should be at least 1/8 in. off the concrete floor. After leveling and mounting these tracks, install the upper roller (horizontal) tracks.

In addition to the bodily risk involved, it’s simply not an easy task. There’s the possibility that you will not install it correctly. At worst, this creates the risk that the mechanism will fail at the wrong time and injure you or someone in your family. At best, this means it will malfunction, and you’ll have to call professionals to fix it. It will save time, money and potential heartache to simply call a professional to install your new door springs correctly the first time.
Determine the inside diameter of the spring and the size of the coils. Run a tape measure across the opening at one end of the spring. Carefully measure the inside diameter of the spring so you can provide the supplier with this information. Then, use a tape measure to find the length of 10 coils on the spring. Divide the length by 10 to determine the measurement of a single coil.[7]
Gather the supplies and tools needed for changing the springs safely. In addition to the torsion springs you'll need a minimum of one or two 10" vise grips, an adjustable wrench, and two 1/2" X 18" winding bars. Most hardware stores sell 1/2" X 36" steel rods that can be cut in half. You'll also need a firm ladder and a rag for cleaning your hands. A ruler and a file may also be necessary; a socket wrench and sockets would shorten the time required. Finally, make sure your garage is lighted well.
"Our garage door wouldn’t shut on sunny days and the tech came out. He explained my options (swap the “seeing” sensor with the other, or replace them). He tried swapping and it was still an issue so he replaced them. In addition, he adjusted the spring because the company that installed it last year did not adjust it properly. He was here for about two hours and charged us for only the sensor replacement. Will definitely be using this company again! Highly recommend them. "

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Scott was exceptionally polite, professional and knowledgeable. He thoroughly checked my garage door opener, but also inspected the garage door itself and pointed out rust and deterioration that has occurred. Scott then gave me a quote on a new garage door, explaining the installation procedure and quality elements of the new door including the warranty. I was very pleased with the entire service appointment, and my husband and I are seriously considering the new garage door, but only if Scott is the installer! Thanks, Scott!
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.

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You may enter your information on this website, visit an in store associate or call our garage door repair team at the number at the top of this page. Within 24 hours you will receive a call from a local service provider to discuss your requested service. Afterwards, you will schedule a date and time for the service provider to come to your property.
Noisy garage doors cause all kinds of problems, especially for anyone who has to sleep above or next to the garage. Fortunately, most noisy garage doors can be fixed with a combination of routine maintenance and the replacement of a few parts. If the basic maintenance tips described above don't quiet a noisy garage door, it's possible that the door's hinges need to be replaced.
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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.
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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Loosen the set screws while holding each spring with a winding bar. Position a sturdy ladder to the side of the springs, rather than working directly in front of them, for safety reasons. Put on eye protection and leather gloves. Push a winding bar into the bottom hole of the winding cone on the outside of 1 spring. Use a wrench to loosen the 2 set screws. Keep a firm grip on the bar as the the spring will expand powerfully as the screws are released. Repeat on the other side.[2] https://www.youtube.com/v/Z_eZc-kh40c
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