Garage door springs are the heart of a garage door system. They override the garage’s massive weight and create tension that facilitates the efficient operation of the garage door. However, like any other mechanical product, the garage door springs have a lifespan and are bound to break over time.
When the springs break, they make it hard to operate the garage door and might cause fatal injuries and damage to items in the garage. As such, you must inspect your garage door springs to determine when they are due for replacements or repairs to prevent unforeseen injuries.
In this post, you will learn all about garage door springs. This will include the following;
- How long do garage door springs last?
- How do I know if my garage door springs are bad?
- Why Garage Door Springs Break
- How can I make my garage door springs last longer?
- How long does it take to replace garage door springs?
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How Long do Garage Door Springs Last?
The life span of garage door springs is measured by how many cycles the spring will be used. Opening and closing the garage door one time is measured as one cycle. Most garage door springs are designed and manufactured to last 10000 cycles. Depending on how frequently you operate the garage door, this translates to about a 7-year lifespan for the average spring.
Factors that Influence the Lifespan of a Garage Door Spring
- Spring type
Different spring types have different lifespans. Oil-tempered springs last longer in less humid conditions and are stronger. On the other hand, Zink galvanized springs have a shorter lifespan and are weaker but are resistant to rust and corrosion.
- Overall usage
Each time you open and close the garage door, you reduce the lifespan of the springs. Using the garage door frequently reduces the lifespan of the springs. Also, heavy garage doors reduce the spring’s lifespan due to their force on the springs.
- Physical damage
Any damage to the garage door will affect how the springs work. Additionally, damage to the spring reduces its lifespan or destroys it completely. Also, damaged springs can snap at any time, which is dangerous and can cause severe injuries to people or damage to items in the garage.
Springs are made of metal. Extreme temperatures and humid conditions affect the strength of the springs through rust and corrosion. Rust increases friction while corrosion eats away the spring making it thin and weak. Such conditions drastically reduce the lifespan of a spring.
- Care and upkeep
Carrying out regular maintenance checks on your springs will increase their lifespan. Lubrication is a key maintenance practice that reduces friction when the spring is in operation. Additionally, spring lubrication provides an extra protective coat that prevents rust buildup on the coil.
How do I know if my garage door springs are bad?
Sometimes, your garage door springs are worn out or snap even before their lifespan is complete. You might also forget to track how long your garage door spring has been used. These instances can expose you and your visitors to the garage to the risks of injuries. As such, you would want to know what to look for in bad garage door springs or one due for replacement before it is late. Look into the following elements in your garage door spring to determine when it is due for service or replacement.
The door opens slower or faster than normal
Proper functioning garage door springs open and close garage doors at a constant speed. The abnormal or ununiform speed occurs when the door springs are worn out and cannot effectively counterbalance the door’s weight.
Door does not open manually
You can check the working condition of your garage door springs by trying to open the door manually. If you use an automatic opener system, close the door and disconnect the opener. Try opening the door manually. If it opens up with no resistance, it means the spring is in good working condition. Conversely, if your garage door won’t open or is difficult to lift, you need to examine your springs as an ingrained issue might influence its operation.
You hear a straining or squeaking sound when opening or closing the door.
When you notice the garage door making a strangled noise when it opens or closes, something may be wrong with the springs.
There is a loud popping sound when the door is closed
The loud popping sound is made when the springs are at maximum tension, and they snap. It is dangerous for the springs might fly and cause serious damage.
The door feels heavier
The door’s weight remains the same. When a garage door feels heavier, the springs are not working and need to be checked or replaced.
The garage door cannot rest in the mid-level position
You will notice this when the door opens a few inches and then shuts down unexpectedly. It happens when the door springs are worn out and need to be checked or replaced.
If the springs show signs of damage or wear
These are visible signs shown on various components of your garage door. Close the garage door and inspect the various components, such as pulleys, rollers, mounting hardware, and cables, for any damage or wear. You must know that even if your garage door spring is still in good shape, the damage on the other components, like the pulley system, will put more pressure on the rest of your garage door, and the springs will be the most impacted by the increased stress.
Inspect the condition of your spring by looking at the visibly worn-out parts or separation in the spring unit. Also, you can inspect if there is a loss in tension in the springs, paying attention to whether the springs have become elongated or stretched out.
Is it dangerous to replace garage door springs?
Yes. The starting weight of single garage doors is about 130 pounds, and larger or heavier ones can weigh over 350 pounds. All this weight is transferred to the garage door spring, exerting a great force on the spring. Replacing a garage door spring under such tension is dangerous and puts you at risk of fatal injuries.
On average, it is estimated that somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 people are injured in garage door accidents every year.
The different types of injuries you can incur from replacing your garage door springs are:
- Being hit by a falling garage door.
- Fingers pinched or caught up in the garage door.
- Being hit by a projectile snapped spring.
Why Garage Door Springs Break
Garage door springs are primary to lifting the garage door whether you are using an automatic or a manual system. The springs are of two types, the extension spring and the torsion type. The torsion springs are always located on the wall above the garage door; you will benefit from them if you have larger garage doors.
On the other hand, the extension springs are placed either on the sides of one-piece garage doors or, in some instances, you may have them above the horizontal tracks using a pulley system or a cable. Regardless of the spring type, the unit is imperative in lifting your garage door; over time, the springs are bound to break. You would be wondering what can spur such breakage.
Here are a few reasons why garage door springs break.
Wear and tear
Garage door springs are the backbone of the garage door system. They carry all the weight of the heavy garage doors each time they open and close. Bearing this door weight makes the spring weaker and weaker after each cycle, and after their limit is exceeded, the springs may eventually break.
Rust buildup on the spring
A spring’s lifecycle is shortened when a rust coat forms on the garage door spring. This is due to the increased friction brought by rust on the spring coil. In addition, rust can corrode the spring, making it thinner and ultimately weaker, leading to its breaking.
Using incorrect springs
Garage door weights vary depending on the type and size of the door. Heavy garage doors require longer spring lengths and larger spring sizes. Additionally, two springs are required on each side of the door to counterbalance the door’s weight effectively. Failure to use the correct springs and the wrong installation will cause them to break.
Wear and tear will eventually cause the garage door springs to break down. However, failure to perform proper maintenance checks and practices on the springs will shorten their lifespan. Failure to spray down the coil with lubricant at least three times every year will cause the garage door springs to break before the end of their lifespan.
How can I make my garage door springs last longer?
Your garage door springs will eventually reach their limit and go out of service. However, you can make your springs last longer and put them in service for a longer duration through certain practices. Try extending your spring’s life through the following;
Use the right springs for each garage door weight
Heavy garage doors demand strong springs of longer lengths and wider spring sizes compared to light garage doors. Using the right springs reduces the wear and tear incurred on each spring when opening and closing the door. This makes the spring last longer.
Proper configuration and set up of garage door springs
Setting up garage door springs properly, preferably one on each side of the door, exerts less tension on the springs. Additionally, placing the springs in a level and balanced position ensures each spring carries its recommended weight, thus making it last longer. Ensure professionals install your garage door system to ensure everything is installed properly and be quick to repair any damages on the garage door system.
Carrying out proper maintenance on the springs
Experts say most springs break during the winter when temperatures are low, and garage door springs are maintained less often. Spray down the spring coil with a silicon-based lubricant at least three times a year to avoid rust buildup. Also, check and inspect the springs regularly to identify problems, especially during winter.
Use the garage door less frequently
Each time you open and close the garage door, you reduce the lifespan of the springs. Therefore, reduce the number of times you use the garage door to increase the lifespan of your door springs. This involves parking your car in the driveway more frequently or changing your habits that involve opening and closing the garage door.
Keep road salt out of your garage
Road salt eats away metals, making them thin and weak. Garage door springs are metal, too and are corroded by road salt. They are made thin and weak, reducing their lifespan significantly. Keep your car parked outside if it is covered in road salt.
How long does it take to replace garage door springs?
When your springs break or are completely worn out, it is necessary to replace them. It is a task that happens only a few times, and many people push it to a later date when they have enough time to replace the garage door springs.
So, how much time is needed to replace the garage door springs?
You only need 30 minutes to 1 hour to replace garage door springs. 10 – 15 minutes are enough to tune up your garage door springs. However, old garage doors with many failing parts might require 2 hours to fix and replace the springs.
The below video provides steps to replacing garage door springs.
Frequently Asked Questions-FAQS
Q1. Can I replace the garage door spring myself?
Replacing garage door springs is a highly technical job. It is also a dangerous job where severe injuries might be incurred. It requires high levels of experience and expertise. Therefore, it is advisable to call an expert to replace your garage door springs. However, if you are an expert, you can replace yourself.
In addition to your safety, replacing your garage door springs requires an expert to determine the best spring. It is not always a good idea to replace a garage door spring with the same spring type used.
Q2. How often should you spray garage door springs?
Experts recommend that your spray your garage door springs three times a year. It is important to note, however, the more frequently you use your garage door, the more frequently you should spray the springs to keep them lubricated, especially during cold weather. A silicone-based lubricant spray has the best-desired results.
The tracks, springs, hinges, and rollers of your garage doors face significant stress and require frequent lubrication. While at it, keep note of all moving parts in the garage door system and lubricate those areas too.
Q3. How many turns on a 7ft garage door spring?
Determining the number of 14 turns of tension required in a garage door spring is important. The number of turns is determined by the height of the garage door and the circumference of cable drums, often 12 inches.
The formula used to calculate the number of turns needed in a garage door spring is:
Q = 4F + 1 or 2
Q is the number of turns, and F is the garage door length in feet.
Most garage doors are 7ft long. Therefore it will require 29-30 quarter turns in the spring. Consecutively, an 8ft long garage door with a standard 12-inch drum will require 33-34 quarter turns on the spring.
Q4. Can you put a heavier spring on a garage door?
Using the right garage door spring size enables the door to remain at the correct height when raised or lowered and to move safely during use. You should not put a heavier spring on your garage door.
If you put a heavier spring on a garage door, it will exert too much pull on the door and keep it higher than it should be. In addition to that, the spring will cause your door to open faster than it should. This is dangerous, and the door might knock off children or even adults that try to open the door.
Q5. How many lbs. should a garage door spring be?
A garage door spring counterbalances the weight of the garage door. Therefore, the choice of spring you will use will be determined by the garage door’s weight. There are different springs for every weight of a garage glass door.
The industrial standard garage door springs are colour-coded, with each colour code recommended for different garage door weights. A few of the codes are;
10lbs – WHITE, 20lbs-GREEN, 100lbs-TAN, 150lbs-RED, 260lbs-BROWN
Before installing a garage spring door, consult with a garage door expert. It will help you avoid causing damage to the door operator and potentially creating a dangerous situation where the door could fall.
Q6. Is it better to roll on or spray paint the garage door?
Modern garage doors have many angled panels that are difficult to paint using a roller. Using a sprayer is more efficient and easier than rolling or brushing. Additionally, spray painting is the best way to get a smooth, clean, and even finish.
Garage door springs are the most critical parts of a garage door system. The springs make it easy to open and close heavy garage doors by counterbalancing the door’s weight. Most garage door springs have a lifespan of 10000 cycles, which can be optimized by regular maintenance checks, spraying the coils, and using the right spring for the garage door weight. You have also learned how to identify broken garage door springs and what makes them break.