What You Need to Know About Your Garage Door’s Torsion Springs

July 20, 2021

The heavy-duty springs on either side of your garage door are called torsion springs. They do a lot of the heavy lifting—literally. Torsion springs can lift up to 800 pounds, making them a powerful workhorse. They’re also dangerous or even fatal when they break.

If you want to ensure your family’s safety around your garage door, you should understand what your garage door’s torsion springs do and how to monitor them for wear and tear. Here’s what you need to know.

What do torsion springs do?

Your torsion springs are either mounted above the garage door or on either side. The spring is mounted to a spring anchor bracket and an axle. When the door is closed, the spring is compacted into its “torqued up” position, and when it’s open, it’s in a natural state. The spring’s force is used to lift the door and operate the garage door light.

Torsion springs come in multiple sizes. It’s important that you get the right size for your garage door, or else the door will not open and balance properly. If you have too much torsion, your garage door may not close. If there’s too little, you won’t be able to open the door. While the motor helps raise and lower the door, the springs do most of the work.

Why do torsion springs break?

Every torsion spring has a finite lifespan. Most can raise and lower a garage door anywhere from 5,000 to 30,000 times—in other words, they’re good for anywhere from five to 40 years of daily use. The most common reason these springs break is from strain. Over time, as the spring is compacted and then returned to equilibrium, when the door is open, it puts stress on the spring. It then cracks under the strain.

Another way torsion springs can break is excessive friction. If the center and end bearings become stiff or stick over time, the friction on the springs will increase. This eventually leads them to crack under the strain. It can also throw the garage door off the tracks.

Misaligned doors, bent tracks and worn-out rollers all contribute to torsion spring friction and breakage. When the springs break, they release several hundred pounds of force. This can cause serious injury or even death, if you’re standing nearby.

What to watch for

Not sure if you’re having an issue with your torsion springs? Watch for these signs:

  • Loose or broken cables: Your garage door requires tension cables to help lift the door. If you see loose or broken cables, that may indicate the springs are broken.
  • Slow or stop-and-go door opening: You might notice that your garage door is opening very slowly, or it will raise a few inches, stop, then start again. This could mean the springs are faulty.
  • Loud bang from the garage: Finally, if you hear a loud bang from the garage, that may mean your springs just broke.

If you notice any of these signs with your garage door’s torsion springs, call a garage door professional service like Denton Overhead Garage Door right away. Do not attempt these repairs yourself!

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