Ten Signs You Have A Broken Garage Door Spring

Your Cables Look Like They Are Broken

When a garage door repair company receives a phone call about a broken spring, one common thing the homeowner says is “my cables are broke”. This makes a lot of sense considering they will fly all over the place, get disconnected, and possibly get caught between the door and jamb. It’s not common for the cables to break when a garage door spring breaks. On garage doors with two springs, the second torsion spring will keep the drums and cables tight. You will have to inspect the springs to see if one is broken.

If you have a Wayne Dalton TorqueMaster garage door system, the springs are located inside a long cylinder. The only way to diagnose a broken spring is the manually lift the garage door. If the door feels heavy, the spring inside the tube is most likely broken. Another symptom of a broken garage door spring on these systems is if the garage door raises, and will not lower.

Your Garage Door Lifts 6” and Stops

Most people have no idea they have a broken garage door spring until they try to leave the house. You hit the opener, and the door will only go up 6”. The reasoning behind this is because the garage door opener senses the extra force needed, and stops. This is a safety feature that is included in many openers and is actually great to have because it prevents damage to the opener and the garage door.

Another situation is when the garage door raises slowly. Some DC current garage door openers have a slow start feature, and ramp up the speed later to reduce noise. If your spring is broken, the speed may remain slow due to the increased “weight” of the garage door. If this happens, close the door. Then pull the emergency release. The next step would be to lift the garage door. If it is very heavy, your garage door spring is probably broken.

A Loud Band Was Heard in the Garage

A very large amount of tension and energy is let go when a garage door spring breaks. In most cases, garage doors use torsion springs. These torsion springs are located above the opening of the overhead door and have a steel rod running though their core. When these springs break, they unwind in a fraction of a second, creating a loud banging noise as the coil spins on the shaft and releases its energy. Customers say it can be very startling.

Many people hear a loud noise from the garage, and think someone is trying the break in. They check out the house and notice nothing until they try to use the garage door again.

Extension springs are fairly obvious when they break, because after that they are usually on the floor or hanging down. These are dangerous springs because there is no safety cable in the middle of them. Like the shaft on a torsion spring. The spring is kept in place by the safety cable when it breaks.

There Is a Big Gap in Your Torsion Spring

Torsion springs, when wound, can grow up to 2 inches in length. After winding, the torsion spring winding cone is tightened on to the torsion shaft so that it can rotate the drums and wind up the cables when the door raises. Since the springs end is attached to the shaft in a fixed position, a 2” gap remains when the garage door springs breaks. If you see a gap in your spring, you most definitely have a broken one.

The Top Of Your Garage Door Is Bent

“My automatic opener tried to open the door and it bent the top of my door”

Electric openers may warp the top section of the overhead garage door when trying to open, depending on the configuration. This is common if the open force setting is set to high on the circuitry of the opener.

This is a safety feature that prevents situations like this. If your garage door only opens 6” and you have a broken garage door spring, remember, it could have been worse!

Your Garage Door Lowers Extremely Fast

If your door lowers a lot faster than it usually does, your garage door spring could be broken. Garage door openers are designed to operate with garage doors that are balanced using properly operating springs. When a spring breaks, the “assist” is gone, leaving the opener to carry the burden of the weight of the door. This causes the door the lower faster than usual.

Your Door Jerks Around When Lowering Or Raising

If you experience jerking motions when lowering or raising your garage door, you may have a broken spring. This applies to two spring systems. Some openers have enough power to lift up a garage door with one functioning spring. The jerking motion is very common on extension spring equipped garage door systems.

The solution could be a simple maintenance and lubrication of your hinges, pulleys, and rollers. If your gut tells you something isn’t right about your garage door, it’s always best to call a professional to service it.

Your Garage Door Goes Up and Down Crooked

Extension spring equipped garage doors are independent on each side, meaning each spring pulls independently. If the spring on one side breaks, that side will be left to gravity and won’t pull up. This will cause the garage door to be crooked or come off track.

Your Cables and or Pulleys Hang Down

On extension spring equipped garage doors, the pulley and cable could hang down when the spring(s) break. A 2 pulley system is used on each side to raise and lower the garage door. If a spring breaks, then the whole system falls out of balance. Cables can get twisted, off pulley, and even damaged when the spring(s) break.

How Do You Open a Garage Door With a Broken Spring?

Garage Doors That Have One Torsion Spring

If your door has one torsion spring, you will need to bear the full weight of the garage door. This can be anywhere from 150 to 300 pounds. For this reason, we recommend calling a professional garage door repair company. If you need to get the door open in an emergency, get some help, and lift the garage door. Use a C Clamp or a vise grips and clamp onto the track right below the bottom roller while the door is in the raised position.

Garage doors That Have Two Torsion Springs

On garage doors with 2 torsion springs, there is a good chance the remaining one will keep the cables in place after the other one fails. In this case the garage will be a lot easier to raise because the remaining spring will bear half of the garage door’s weight. A person could activate the opener and raise up on the sagging side of the door, to act in place of the broken spring. Always exercise caution while doing this so you don’t injure yourself, others, or your property.

All in all, garage doors and all their moving parts can be very dangerous. It’s always a safer choice to call a professional for help when dealing with broken garage door springs.

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