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Broken Garage Door Spring? Should You Replace On Your Own Or Not?

If two things in homeownership are 100% guaranteed, property taxes will go up, and something in your home will inevitably break. And in all likelihood, a broken garage door spring is one repair problem you’ll have to deal with eventually.

For convenient types, this may sound like a quick DIY project. But tackling broken garage door spring repair yourself is a hazardous mistake.

This guide takes you through why it’s so important to entrust this job to a garage door repair specialist instead.

Table of Contents

What Is a Garage Door Spring?

A garage door spring is a counterbalance system for your garage door.

Most garage doors are pretty heavy. Single-car doors start at about 130 pounds. Bulkier and broader doors can easily weigh as much as 350 pounds.

But if you’ve ever opened a garage door manually, it sure doesn’t feel that heavy. That’s because garage doors use springs to offset that enormous weight. These springs store an enormous amount of energy that’s used to make opening and closing those heavy doors much more accessible.

Without these counterbalance systems, your door would likely be too heavy for you or your garage door opener to open alone.

Since they’re so essential, it’s crucial that if one breaks, you repair the broken garage door spring as soon as possible.

Identifying Your Garage Door Spring Type

You see two main types of garage door springs being used today.

Extension springs typically run along the sides of the garage doors parallel to the horizontal rails overhead. These springs connect to a system of pulleys and cables that lift the garage door from the bottom up.

Extension springs may have weight ratings as high as 180 lbs in most cases. And with two springs per door, that’s a weight maximum of 360 lbs.

Torsion springs are more modern than extension springs. These springs are tightly wrapped around a housing bar parallel to the garage door and right above it. The image below is an example of a torsion spring system.

Torsion springs are typically used in pairs as well. Together, torsion springs can handle weights of nearly 500 lbs in most cases.

How Long Does a Garage Door Spring Last?Garage Door Spring Installed

In general, you can expect your garage door spring to last about 10,000 cycles, with a single cycle being the opening and closing of a garage door.

It sounds like a long time, right?

Well, let’s break those numbers down.

If the average person opens and closes their garage three times a day, that comes to a lifespan of around nine years. However, improper maintenance, environmental factors, moisture, and more all impact just how long spring will last. Moreover, an extension spring typically has a shorter lifespan than a torsion spring.

That said, you’ll likely have to deal with a broken garage door spring at one point or another. The question is, should you ever repair your broken spring yourself?

Should You Repair Your Broken Garage Door Spring Yourself?

The short answer is no; you should not repair your broken garage door spring yourself.

Garage door springs store a lot of potential energy. And even the most careful DIY repairman can seriously injure themselves with this job if they don’t know precisely what they’re doing.

It’s also worth noting that extension springs are often considered to be much more dangerous in general than torsion springs.

Torsion springs have a ton of potential energy. But they’re also coiled around a housing bar. So if they break, they unravel but stay on the bar. When an extension spring snaps, it can shoot chunks of the spring out at an extremely high (and extremely dangerous) velocity.

But when it comes to repairs for both types of springs, you have to worry about the following:

  • Doors falling due to improper support
  • Fingers getting caught in the railing
  • Springs backfiring due to stored potential energy
  • Tools and appendages being rapidly twisted
  • Faulty installation that could put you at risk later

Given the job’s complexity (and potential danger), it’s best to work with a trusted garage door repair specialist rather than tackle it yourself.

Garage Door Injury Statistics

It’s one thing to say you shouldn’t handle your garage door spring replacement yourself. But it’s another entirely to see the numbers behind why you should leave this to a professional.

As it turns out, garage door injuries are more common than most people think.

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors:

  • About 20,000 to 30,000 injuries related to garage doors occur each year, landing many victims in the emergency room.
  • More than 7,000 pinching injuries are reported, which may result in amputations or permanent disability.
  • Over 2,000 Americans are crushed by the substantial weight of a falling garage door.
  • About 800 lacerations come from improperly handling glass in garage doors.

It’s vital, then, that if you notice a problem with your garage door spring, you get it repaired by a professional as soon as possible.

A Quick Look at the Repair Process

Garage Door Repair Men


When you work with an expert on garage door springs in St. Louis, they can get the project done quicker, safer, and less hassle than if you go the DIY route.

Plus, the average garage door spring repair cost, according to HomeAdvisor is only around $250 (a bargain considering the time savings and safety considerations).

Below is a quick run-through of what that repair process will look like.

Extension Spring

In most cases, an extension spring (or set of extension springs) is the easier of the two types to replace.

All it takes is bringing the garage door up to relax the springs and working with it from this position. That way, you don’t have to worry about dangerous tension that might lead to injury or an accident.

Once the door is in the overhead position, remove the spring from the brackets, pulley, and cable. Then, replace it with a new spring.

That being said, the job can become much more complicated depending on the type of connector the extension spring uses. For instance, open-looped springs can be hooked and unhooked. But with other types (e.g., double-looped, clipped ends), disconnecting the spring from the other operation devices can take some serious work.

Additionally, incorrect or partial installation can lead to your door being unsafe or a higher likelihood of further problems down the line. That’s why it’s still important to work with a professional rather than tackle the job yourself.

Torsion Spring

Torsion springs are quite a bit harder to replace than extension springs. They’re also quite a bit more dangerous.

As torsion springs remain wound even when the door is closed, they hold on to a lot of potential energy. And if you aren’t careful as you replace the parts, you may unintentionally release that energy on yourself, resulting in serious injury.

This is especially important to remember since most garage doors have two torsion springs. That means even if one spring has snapped completely (releasing the potential energy), you still need to deal with the other spring before replacing the first.

For this job, you’ll need several winding bars, a ratchet, knowledge of proper safety precautions, and a fair amount of patience.

Once you unwind both the springs and disconnect them, you can remove the cable drums and replace the old spring with the new one.

Given how dangerous this job can be without proper safety protocol, however, we never recommend replacing your broken garage door spring alone. That goes double for replacing torsion springs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a few of the most frequently asked questions about whether you should replace your broken garage door spring.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace Spring On Garage Door?

Repairing a broken garage door spring is relatively cheap—on average, about $250, according to HomeAdvisor. However, prices tend to range anywhere from $150 to $350.

Factors that may influence your final costs include:

  • Whether you have a torsion or extension spring
  • If pulleys and cables are also damaged
  • How heavy and oversized your garage door is
  • If your opening system needs any maintenance

Can You Manually Open a Garage Door With a Broken Spring?

The short answer is yes, you can manually open your garage door with a broken spring.

That being said, you should never manually open your garage door with a broken spring.

A garage door spring is a counterbalance to your garage door’s incredible weight. Without it, your door will likely be hefty. Not only will that make it difficult to lift the garage door. But it will also make your door exceptionally dangerous if it falls on you or your family members.

As such, do not attempt to open a garage door with a broken spring manually. Instead, call a garage door repair specialist to fix the problem immediately.

How Do You Fix a Broken Spring on a Garage Door?

You should never fix a broken spring on a garage door yourself due to the high tension and enormous amount of stored energy in the springs.

A repair specialist will fix the spring by:

Extension Spring:

  1. Lifting the garage door open.
  2. Removing the extension spring one end at a time from the mounting pin and pulley system.
  3. Attaching the proper replacement spring to the mounting pin and the pulley system.
  4. Testing the door.

Torsion Spring:

  1. Keeping the door closed.
  2. Properly relieving tension from the torsion springs using the correct tools.
  3. Disconnecting the pulley from the housing bar.
  4. Removing and replacing the torsion springs.
  5. Reattaching the pulley system.
  6. Winding the torsion spring to build tension.
  7. Testing the door.

Gateway Door and Contracting—Your Trusted Broken Garage Door Spring Repair Company

The Gateway Door and Contracting PledgeFixing a broken garage door spring is no small task. Additionally, doing so without proper knowledge or safety precautions can be incredibly dangerous.

That’s why it’s so important to let a professional garage door repair company take care of the replacement for you. And that’s where Gateway Door and Contracting comes in.

At Gateway Door and Contracting, we offer superior service, upfront pricing, and skilled repair/replacement for any garage door repair job. Our dedication to a job done right has earned us 20+ years of exceptional customer reviews.

And if you’re dealing with a broken garage door spring, we’d love to help.

Just get in touch to schedule your free garage door repair today!

How Can We Help You?

Repair garage door or opener?

We offer 24 x 7 garage door repair.  You can count on us!

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