You know the feeling. You pull into the driveway, glad to be home and ready to relax. You hit the garage door opener button, and the door eases up and STOPS. There you are. Door half-open. You cannot get the garage door to go back down, and it won’t open completely. Now what? Odds are good that you need a garage door torsion spring replacement.
What is a Torsion Spring?
We have all seen torsion springs, whether we realize it or not. Think of the spring in a clothespin, on a clipboard, or on your garage door. A torsion spring is a spiral spring that exerts force or torque. The ends of the spring are attached to other components. In the case of your garage door, this large spring is attached to the top of the garage door. Your garage door may have as many as four torsion springs, depending on the door size. You will also need more torsion springs for additional garage doors.
How Does a Torsion Spring Work?
The torsion spring starts to unwind when your garage door lifts and opens. As the torque in the spring is released and the tension stored in the wound spring turns a shaft, which turns the cable drums, causing the cable to wind up around the drum. When the door is lowered, the cables unwind from the drum and are rewound to achieve full tension.
The torsion spring must be maintained properly to avoid damage to the garage door. When the spring is operating smoothly, everything works as it should. However, the springs should be inspected periodically to make sure they are working correctly. Ignoring the condition of the torsion spring can be dangerous. The spring can snap, releasing all the tension at once, and creating the danger of someone being hit by it. When this happens, do not try to move or repair anything. Call a garage door professional immediately.
How Do I Know If My Torsion Spring Needs to Be Replaced?
The day you attempt to open your garage door and it suddenly makes a terrible noise and stops halfway up is likely when you need a torsion spring replacement. Do not continue trying to open or close the garage door. It could be dangerous. Attempts to move the door can result in the door falling off, tears in a section of the garage door, or stripping the gears of the garage door opener.
If your garage door also starts opening crooked, the door shuts very fast or the torsion spring looks rusty, stretched out, or you see gaps, you need to call a garage door professional for a torsion spring replacement.
How Long Should a Garage Door Torsion Spring Last?
Torsion springs are made with a specific number of “springs” in them. They are called cycles. Opening and closing the door equals a cycle. Different springs have different cycles. Some can have as few as 7500 cycles; this gives the average homeowner 3-5 years of usage. Torsion springs can also be made with higher lifecycles. A garage door professional can help determine which spring is the best option for your garage door and usage. A high life-cycle torsion spring can last ten years if you have one driver in your home.