Should I Repair or Replace a Garage Door Spring?

Lawrence Bonk
Written by Lawrence Bonk
Updated January 10, 2022
A home exterior on bright sunny day with green grass
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Highlights

  • Garage door springs fail over time, with most types lasting between 7 and 12 years. 

  • Garage door springs fall into two categories: torsion springs and extension springs.

  • In most cases, extension springs require replacement and not repair. 

  • You can repair some torsion springs by adding lubrication or giving it a simple tune-up or adjustment.

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A garage is the biggest storage closet in your house, a fantastic venue for practicing music, or a place to, you know, park your car. No matter how you use your garage, you need a functioning entrance door. Garage door motors break down over time, but the springs are a lesser-known culprit behind garage door malfunctions.

In some cases, your best bet is to hire a local garage door company to replace the springs and start over. However, sometimes you can conduct a simple repair, which is the most affordable and convenient option. Before calling in a professional, check out these six common problems that could be wreaking havoc on your garage door springs and whether repairing or replacing them is the best solution. 

1. Loud Noise When Opening or Closing the Door

Did you hear a loud, almost gunshot-like noise the last time you opened or closed the garage door? It was likely the torsion spring snapping. These springs hold a whole lot of tension, and when they go, they don’t go quietly. Torsion springs typically last around 5,000 to 20,000 cycles, meaning they’ll operate for about 7 to 12 years.

If the spring snapped apart, it’s time to replace it. Replacing a garage door spring costs between $150 to $300, with repairs often taking an hour of labor at around $75 per hour. Since springs typically come in pairs, professionals suggest replacing both springs whenever one breaks. 

2. Garage Door Struggling to Open or Close

Is your garage door having trouble opening or closing? Your first instinct may be to check the motor, but in many cases, malfunctioning or poorly wound springs are the culprits.

The garage door struggling to function may indicate a tension issue with the torsion springs, but don’t fret. A simple adjustment by a professional is the best medicine and it usually doesn’t require a replacement. 

3. Garage Door Looks Unbalanced 

If your system seems unbalanced, with one side of the garage door opening easier than the other, it indicates the failure of one spring. The solution? You guessed it: replacement. 

However, the extension springs likely caused this issue. Extension springs stretch as the garage door closes and loosen as the door opens, which operates in direct contrast to torsion springs. They run parallel to the garage door tracks on either side of the door. This type of spring’s life expectancy equates with torsion springs, at around 15,000 to 20,000 cycles or 7 to 12 years. Extension springs come with safety cables to prevent injury in the event of a sudden snap.

4. Visible Signs of Wear and Tear

Did you perform a spot check on your garage door springs and notice obvious wear and tear? 

If your torsion springs show physical signs of wear, such as being loose or sagging, but still operate normally, hire a garage door repair professional for a tune-up and inspection. They may recommend replacement, but the springs could also have a year or two left.

If you notice a gap between the spring coils during your inspection, prepare to replace them. This sign indicates spring failure, and most professionals will suggest replacement. Another option is to convert your extension spring system to a torsion spring system, which costs $400 to $800.

5. Squeaking Noises When Operating

If the torsion springs are making squeaking noises while the garage door is opening or closing, your best bet is to bring in a local home inspector for a garage door inspection. These squeaks could be a lubrication issue, but they could also indicate something more serious. Once the pro gives you the all-clear, invest in some garage door spring oil and apply it every six months.

6. Garage Door Opener Not Working

If you push your garage door opener and it only raises the door part of the way, or nothing happens at all, there could be any number of issues at hand, including broken springs, motor issues, and stripped gears. 

In any case, stop using the garage door opener until you contact a professional to diagnose the problem. Garage door openers are not made to repeatedly haul the full weight of the garage door, with a normally functioning opener relying on gravity and the push/pull of the springs. You’ll likely need something replaced, such as the springs or the gears, but a simple tune-up may get the job done. Rely on the expert opinion of the garage door repair person to find the root cause of the issue and determine the best course of action.

Dangers of Unchecked Garage Door Spring Damage

A wooden car garage
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Garage doors are complicated pieces of technology with plenty of moving parts. The springs are one of the most crucial garage door elements, as they control the door’s motion while it opens and closes. 

If you continue to use your garage door despite the springs showing signs of wear, it will put undue stress on the motor, leading to expensive repairs down the line. Additionally, there’s the danger of all springs snapping at once, which is a significant safety and injury risk.

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