Lots of things can go wrong with a garage door, and most are easy to fix. But problems involving the garage door tension spring are more serious.
The garage door tension springs provide lifting force for the heavy door and are under tremendous tension—get careless, and they can hurt you
If you use the correct tools and follow our instructions, you can rebuild the entire torsion spring system in just a few hours, with no side trips to the YNS Garage Door.
We won’t cover how to replace garage door extension spring systems in this story. But we’ll show you garage door spring replacement on the more common torsion springs, the kind that mounts on a bar above the garage door.
Depending on where you live, doing this garage door spring replacement job yourself might save you $200 or more.
Then again, it might save you less than $50. So before you spend several hours fixing your garage door, it’s a good idea to gather a few professional estimates for garage door spring replacement.
Start your garage door spring replacement project by getting a rough measurement of your springs (length and diameter).
Then measure the width and height of your door. Make sure the quote includes the trip charge, parts and labor. Then ask for a price based on 7×19 lift cables and double-life springs.
Those items will give you more years of service and should only add $65 to the price.
Unwind the unbroken spring
Remove the two nuts and bolts that fasten the stationary spring cones to the center bracket. Then slide the springs toward the end brackets.
If a spring or cable breaks while your cars are parked inside, the garage door won’t open and you’ll be stranded. Getting emergency evening or weekend service from a garage door professional can easily cost $400. However, if you can get your vehicles out of the garage, you can postpone the repair to get normal weekday repair rates.
If you want to do the repair yourself, get several phone estimates first, because rates vary widely among service companies. Most garage doors are heavy (200 to 300 lbs.), so call in three strong friends to help you lift the door and hold it open while you lock it in the full raised position with a locking pliers. Then move your vehicles and have your friends help you lower the door.
Snap a locking pliers or a C-clamp onto the center bracket to hold the torsion tube in the bracket. Then loosen the setscrews on the left and right lift cable drums and disconnect the lift cables.
Starting on the left side of the door, slide the torsion tube to the right so you can remove the cable drum. Then slide the old spring off the tube.
Grab a tape measure and press the hook between two spring coils and note the length of 20 coils. Then measure 40 coils. Convert the measurements to a decimal (4-1/2 in. to 4.5 in., or 4-1/8 to 4.125, for example). Divide the two measurements by 20 and 40 to obtain the spring’s wire diameter. Here’s an example: 4.50 divided by 20 = .225-in. wire diameter; 9.0 divided by 40 = .225-in. wire diameter. If the two results match, you’ve measured correctly.
View the end of each spring to determine its wind direction, or “hand.” If the end of the spring is pointing up on the right, it’s a right-hand wind. If the end is pointing up on the left, it’s a left-hand wind. Doors with two springs will always have a left- and a right-hand spring.
Measure the inner diameter of the broken spring as shown. Loosen the setscrews on the broken spring and slide the broken portion over to meet the stationary section. Measure the overall length of the springs (not including the cones).
Most home centers don’t carry all the replacement parts you’ll need for garage door spring replacement, and most garage door service companies won’t sell you springs. So you may have to order the parts online and wait for the shipment to arrive. Garagedoorpartsusa.com and stardoorparts.com are two online sources . First, inspect the condition of your cables and brackets. If you see any frayed strands on the cables or rust on the bottom brackets, replace them now before they fail. Bottom brackets cost about $15 per set. Premium-quality cables (listed as “7×19”) last much longer than economy cables and cost only about $4 more. So it’s smart to buy the better cables for about $12 per set.
Standard torsion springs (about $40 each) have a service life of 7,000 to 10,000 open/close cycles. However, you can buy double-life (25,000 cycles) replacement springs for about $65 per spring. If you have a two-spring setup and one spring breaks, the second spring will break soon. So replace them both at the same time. To get the right springs for your door, you’ll have to provide the supplier some details. Here’s how:
Slide the new torsion spring replacement onto the torsion tube with the stationary cone facing the center bracket. Then reinstall the cable drum with the garage door wire. Reinsert the torsion bar into the left-side bearing bracket.
Shove the torsion bar to the left, then slide on the center bearing. Install the right spring and push the bearing into the stationary cone. Reinstall the drum as shown in Photo 7. Connect both stationary cones to the center bracket.
Snap the lift cable loop over the pin on the new bottom bracket. Insert the new roller. Then swap in the new bottom brackets and cables.
Run the lift cables, or garage door wire, straight up between the rollers and the doorjamb. Slide the lift cable stop through the slot on the drum.
Snap a locking pliers onto the torsion tube to lock it into place while you tighten the drums. Rotate the drum to wind the cable into the winding grooves. Pull the cable as tight as possible before tightening the setscrews. Leave the locking pliers in place and repeat the tightening procedure on the other side. You want equal tension on both sides. Otherwise, the door will open unevenly.
Slide a winding bar into the cone and wind toward the ceiling. Turn the spring a quarter turn at a time, leapfrogging the winding bars as you go. Follow the spring supplier’s recommendations for the total number of turns. If you didn’t get a recommendation, perform 30 quarter turns for a 7 door and 36 quarter turns for an 8 door.
With the spring fully wound, tap the winding bar to stretch the spring out from the center about 1/4 in. before tightening the setscrews. Rotate the setscrews until they contact the torsion tube. Then tighten the screws a one-half to three-quarters turn. Tightening the screws beyond that point can puncture or distort the torsion tube.
Slide a piece of cardboard or paper grocery bag between the spring and the wall. Then saturate the spring with garage door lube spray. Wipe off the excess.
Remove the clamps and pliers from the torsion tube and track, and lift the door about 3 ft. by hand. If the door springs are properly adjusted, the door should stay in place when you let go. If the door falls when you let go, add a quarter turn to each spring. Repeat if necessary. If the door continues to open on its own, release spring tension in quarter-turn increments until the door stays in place when you let go. Then reconnect the opener.