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Your garage door is unlike other doors in your home. Most doors open and close on two or three simple hinges, but the weight of a garage door requires heavy-duty springs, rollers, tracks, and an electric motor to open and close the door.

Other doors in your home may need an occasional drop of oil on the hinges to work smoothly. Garage doors also need regular lubrication, but they also require more extensive maintenance to keep them working safely and efficiently.

Among the common problems with garage doors are the springs that provide tension to balance the door’s heavy weight as it moves up and down.

Here’s information on the different types of garage door springs, how they work, problems to watch out for, and what to do if these springs are not working correctly.

Types of Garage Door Springs

The springs in a garage door opening systems come in two types called extension springs and torsion springs.

The extension-type springs are an approximately two-foot-long coil of thick wire that looks like a giant version of a regular spring. One spring is located at each side of the door, and they stretch and retract as the door opens and closes, balancing the weight of the door as it moves.

Inside each extension spring is a wire cable attaching to the bottom of the garage door. This cable helps lift the door and also stops the spring from flying loose and doing damage or injuring someone if it breaks or detaches at either end.

If this cable is missing, damaged, or detached, it’s time to call for repairs because this component is vital for safety when operating the door.

Garage door extension springs can become rusty or worn over time, and they can also detach from the top or bottom of the door, creating a hazard and a garage door that does not open or close properly.

Torsion springs on garage doors are a single, large spring mounted above the door and enclosed behind a metal cover. Torsion springs also have a safety cable at each side of the door for lifting it.

Both torsion and extension springs in garage doors are under tremendous tension. It is essential they are in good working condition for safety and for opening and closing the garage door without problems.

Symptoms of worn extension or torsion springs include:

  • A garage door that shakes from side to side as it opens or closes,
  • Jamming of the door in the track if only one extension spring is damaged,
  • The door opens slowly or makes squeaking noises as it moves,
  • A garage door that won’t open or close at all.

Inspecting Garage Door Springs

To prevent problems from arising, it’s a good idea to have a close look at your garage door springs at least twice a year, or as soon as you notice anything amiss, such as:

  • Is the door noisier than usual when you open or close it?
  • Is it opening more slowly than it used to?
  • Does it appear to stick on either side as it moves?
  • Is the door uneven from side to side when closed?

You can perform a simple safety test on the springs by taking these steps:

  • Unplug the opener so you can operate the door manually.
  • Raise the door halfway and check that it remains in that position when you release it.
  • Check that the cables on each side of the door are securely attached at both the top and bottom.
  • Inspect the tracks and rollers, looking for loose bolts and screws.
  • Look for rollers that are worn or rusty.

The more you use a garage door, the faster the springs wear out or become damaged. If you notice anything amiss with the springs or cables on your garage door, call a garage door specialist as soon as possible to have the problem fixed.

Repairing and Replacing Garage Door Springs

Garage door springs and cables are under high tension, and they are potentially extremely hazardous if damaged. For this reason, fixing and replacing garage door springs is a job for experts with the experience and tools for this repair or replacement task.

Fortunately, for a garage door specialist like Commonwealth Garage Doors in Richmond, Virginia, repairing and replacing garage door springs is not difficult or time-consuming.

Hiring a garage door specialist for regular servicing of your garage door and its springs is the best way of keeping it in safe and reliable working order.