Garage door springs are the unsung heroes of your automatic garage door opener. While they quietly go about their business, these springs play a crucial role in making your garage door effortlessly glide open and closed. Even if you rarely spare them a thought, they deserve some maintenance and attention. If you’re a homeowner with an automatic garage door opener, this article is your guide to spring maintenance.
What Do Garage Door Springs Do?
Your garage door springs are responsible for counterbalancing the weight of the garage door. When the door opens or closes, the springs store and release tension, making the operation smoother and more manageable.
Balancing the Weight: Garage doors can be surprisingly heavy, especially those made of solid materials like wood or metal. Without springs, opening or closing them manually would be a strenuous task. The genius of garage door springs lies in their ability to balance this weight effortlessly. When the door opens, the springs expand and store energy, and when it closes, they contract and release that energy. This ingenious mechanical process significantly reduces the amount of physical effort required to move the door, making it possible for even a single person to operate it with ease.
Enhanced Safety: Beyond the convenience they offer, garage door springs also enhance the safety of your garage door system. By counterbalancing the weight of the door, they prevent it from crashing down suddenly if the opener fails or if there’s a power outage. This safety feature not only protects your vehicle and belongings but also ensures that no one in your household is at risk of injury due to a falling garage door. It’s an often-underappreciated aspect of garage door springs that underscores their importance in maintaining the security of your home.
Types of Garage Door Springs
There are two primary types of garage door springs: torsion springs and extension springs. Torsion springs are located above the door, while extension springs are placed alongside the tracks.
Torsion Springs: Torsion springs are one of the most common types of garage door springs, known for their durability and efficiency. These springs are typically mounted horizontally above the garage door opening. They are wound tightly with a twisting motion and are anchored on one end while the other end is connected to a drum that helps in lifting and lowering the door.
Torsion springs are recognized for their ability to provide a balanced and controlled movement of the garage door. They offer precise control over the door’s position, making them ideal for heavy doors and those with unique designs.
Extension Springs: Extension springs are another common type of garage door springs and are usually installed on either side of the garage door, parallel to the tracks. Unlike torsion springs, extension springs operate by extending and contracting as the door moves. When the door opens, these springs stretch, and when it closes, they compress. Extension springs are distinguishable by their coiled design and the safety cables that run through them to prevent injury or damage in case of spring failure. These springs are suitable for lighter garage doors and are often more budget-friendly compared to torsion springs.
Signs of Worn-Out Springs
Recognizing the signs of worn-out garage door springs is crucial for the safety and functionality of your garage door system. Here are some telltale signs that your springs may be in need of attention:
- 1. Squeaking Noises: One of the most common early indicators of worn-out garage door springs is the presence of squeaking or creaking noises when the door is in motion. These sounds occur due to increased friction and strain on the springs as they try to support the weight of the door. If you notice these sounds, it’s a clear signal that your springs may be deteriorating.
- 2. Uneven Door Movement: When your garage door springs are in good condition, the door should move smoothly and evenly along its tracks. However, worn-out springs can cause the door to move unevenly or jerkily. You may notice one side of the door rising or closing faster than the other, which is a definite red flag that your springs require attention.
- 3. Visible Wear and Tear: A visual inspection can also reveal signs of wear and tear on your garage door springs. Examine the springs closely for any signs of rust, corrosion, or visible damage such as cracks or gaps. If you spot any of these issues, it’s an indication that the springs may be compromised.
- 4. Difficulty in Opening or Closing: As garage door springs lose their tension and strength over time, you may find it increasingly difficult to manually open or close the door. If you’re experiencing more resistance than usual when operating the door manually, it’s a clear indication that the springs are struggling to perform their role.
- 5. Slower Door Operation: Worn-out springs can also lead to slower door operation. If you notice that your garage door takes longer to open or close than it used to, it’s a sign that the springs are no longer providing the necessary support and counterbalance.
- 6. Garage Door Staying Open or Closed: In some cases, worn-out springs may fail to keep the garage door in the desired open or closed position. This can pose a security risk as the door may not stay in place, potentially causing accidents or allowing unauthorized access.
The Importance of Regular Maintenance
1. Annual Inspection
To ensure the longevity of your garage door springs, it’s wise to schedule an annual inspection with your trusted garage door contractor. They can spot issues before they become major problems.
Annual inspections hold several key benefits:
- 1. Early Issue Detection: Experienced garage door technicians are adept at identifying subtle signs of wear, corrosion, or tension loss in your springs that might go unnoticed by an untrained eye. Detecting these issues early can prevent costly repairs down the road.
- 2. Preventative Maintenance: Through regular inspections, your contractor can perform preventative maintenance tasks, such as lubricating the springs, tightening loose hardware, and checking the overall balance of the door. These actions help maintain the optimal functioning of your garage door.
- 3. Safety Assurance: Ensuring the safety of your garage door system is paramount. An annual inspection helps confirm that your springs are in good working condition, reducing the risk of accidents caused by spring failure.
- 4. Prolonged Lifespan: By addressing minor issues promptly and maintaining proper spring tension, you can significantly extend the lifespan of your garage door springs, saving you money in the long run.
- 5. Peace of Mind: Knowing that your garage door is regularly inspected and well-maintained provides peace of mind. You can trust that it will continue to operate smoothly and safely.
Proper lubrication of your garage door springs is a fundamental aspect of maintenance that should not be overlooked. It plays a pivotal role in preventing friction-related damage and ensuring the smooth operation of your garage door system. To accomplish this task effectively, it is essential to use a high-quality garage door lubricant.
- 1. Friction Mitigation: Garage door springs are under constant tension and are responsible for bearing the weight of the door. This tension can create friction as the springs expand and contract during door operation. Lubrication acts as a protective barrier, reducing the friction between the coils of the spring and the surrounding components.
- 2. Noise Reduction: Properly lubricated springs operate quietly, minimizing any squeaking or creaking sounds that may arise from metal-on-metal contact. This is especially important if your garage is located near living spaces, as noisy springs can be disruptive.
- 3. Extended Lifespan: Regular lubrication helps to extend the lifespan of your garage door springs by reducing wear and tear. A well-lubricated spring experiences less stress during operation, which can significantly increase its longevity.
3. Tighten Loose Hardware
As your garage door system operates day in and day out, it’s not uncommon for the hardware that secures your springs to gradually loosen. This natural wear and tear can compromise the stability of your springs and, by extension, the overall functionality of your garage door. To maintain the stability of your springs, it’s essential to periodically inspect and tighten any loose nuts and bolts.
- 1. Prevent Spring Misalignment: Loose hardware can lead to the misalignment of your garage door springs. When this occurs, the springs may not function optimally, causing uneven tension and an unbalanced door. Tightening the hardware ensures that the springs remain in their intended position.
- 2. Reduce Noise: Loose nuts and bolts can create unwanted noise during the operation of your garage door. These sounds can be both annoying and disruptive, especially if your garage is attached to your home. Tightening the hardware helps eliminate these noise disturbances.
- 3. Enhance Safety: Loose hardware can pose safety hazards, as it may increase the risk of sudden spring failure or other components coming loose. Ensuring that all hardware is securely fastened is vital for the safe operation of your garage door.
Here’s a straightforward process to tighten the hardware that holds your springs in place:
- Safety First: Before you begin, disconnect the power to your garage door opener to prevent any accidental activation.
- Visual Inspection: Examine the springs and surrounding hardware closely. Look for any nuts, bolts, or fasteners that appear loose, misaligned, or missing.
- Gather Tools: Ensure you have the appropriate tools for the job, typically a socket wrench or pliers.
- Tighten Gradually: Starting from the top and working your way down, use your chosen tool to gently tighten any loose hardware. Avoid overtightening, as this can cause damage. Simply snug up each fastener until it is secure.
- Check the Balance: After tightening the hardware, it’s a good practice to check the balance and operation of your garage door. It should move smoothly and evenly without any unusual noises.
- Regular Maintenance: To maintain spring stability and overall garage door health, consider including hardware checks and tightening as part of your regular maintenance routine. This can help catch issues before they escalate.
DIY Maintenance Tips
4. Safety First
Before you embark on any do-it-yourself (DIY) maintenance tasks related to your garage door springs or any other components of your garage door system, it’s imperative to prioritize safety. One of the most crucial safety measures you should always adhere to is disconnecting the power to your garage door opener. This precaution is vital for preventing accidents and ensuring your well-being during DIY maintenance.
Preventing Accidental Activation: Garage door openers are designed to respond to various signals, including remote controls, wall-mounted buttons, and keypad entries. Accidental activation of the garage door while you are working on it can result in serious injuries or damage to property. Disconnecting the power eliminates this risk.
Avoiding Electrical Hazards: Garage door openers are powered by electricity, and their components can carry electrical currents even when not in use. Disconnecting the power source ensures that you won’t come into contact with live electrical components, reducing the risk of electrical shocks.
5. Visual Inspection
A regular visual inspection of your garage door springs is a simple yet crucial aspect of spring maintenance. By routinely examining the springs for signs of rust, wear, or damage, you can proactively address any issues that may compromise their integrity. Here’s why visual inspections are vital and what steps to take if you notice any problems:
6. Lubricate the Springs
Apply a small amount of lubricant to the springs, ensuring even coverage. Be cautious not to over-lubricate, as excess lubrication can attract dirt and debris.
Early Problem Detection: Visual inspections allow you to catch potential issues with your garage door springs early. Identifying problems in their initial stages can prevent costly repairs and ensure the continued safe operation of your garage door.
Safety Assurance: Garage door springs are under significant tension, and damaged or weakened springs can be hazardous. Regular inspections help ensure that your springs are in good condition, reducing the risk of accidents caused by spring failure.
When to Call a Professional
While some garage door maintenance tasks can be safely tackled as DIY projects, certain critical aspects of garage door spring care require the expertise of a professional technician. Here are two specific situations when it’s essential to reach out to a garage door specialist:
1. Spring Replacement
If your garage door springs are severely damaged or worn out, it is strongly recommended to entrust the task of replacement to professionals. Attempting to replace garage door springs on your own can be exceptionally dangerous and is best avoided for several reasons:
- High Tension: Garage door springs are wound under immense tension to counterbalance the weight of the door. Releasing this tension improperly can result in serious injury or property damage.
- Specialized Tools: Replacing garage door springs requires specialized tools and equipment that professionals possess. These tools are designed to handle the high tension safely.
- Correct Spring Selection: Garage doors come in various sizes and weights, and selecting the right springs is critical for safe and efficient operation. A professional can identify the appropriate springs for your specific door.
- Safety Precautions: Garage door technicians are trained to follow strict safety protocols while replacing springs, minimizing the risks associated with this task.
2. Balancing the Springs
Properly balancing the garage door springs is essential for the smooth and safe operation of your garage door. Balancing involves adjusting the tension of the springs to ensure that the door opens and closes evenly and without any jerking or imbalances. This task requires specialized knowledge and equipment, making it a job best left to professionals for several reasons:
- Safety: Adjusting the tension of the springs involves manipulating them, which can be hazardous without the right training. A professional can make precise adjustments while minimizing risks.
- Optimal Operation: An improperly balanced garage door can experience issues such as uneven movement, excessive strain on the opener, and premature wear and tear. A professional can ensure that your springs are correctly balanced to prevent these problems.
- Longevity: Professional technicians understand how to calibrate the springs to prolong their lifespan. This not only saves you money on replacements but also enhances the overall reliability of your garage door system.
In both cases, relying on a professional garage door technician ensures that the work is performed safely, accurately, and efficiently. It not only protects your well-being but also helps maintain the integrity and longevity of your garage door system. When dealing with garage door springs, prioritizing safety and expertise is paramount.
Contact Your Garage Door Contractor Today
Keep in regular contact with your garage door contractor. Contacting your contractor once annually for a tune up will help ensure that your garage door is in good working condition. At Overhead Door of Oklahoma City, we perform garage door repairs and replacements. Call today to schedule an appointment.
Garage door springs counterbalance the weight of the garage door, making it easier to open and close.
There are two main types: torsion springs, located above the door, and extension springs, placed alongside the tracks.
Signs include squeaking noises, uneven door movement, visible wear, difficulty in operation, slower door movement, and the door not staying open or closed.
Regular maintenance extends spring lifespan, ensures safety, prevents costly repairs, and provides peace of mind.
Apply a small amount of high-quality garage door lubricant evenly to the springs, avoiding over-lubrication.
Call a professional for spring replacement and spring balancing to ensure safety and proper function.