Garage door springs, like anything else, eventually get worn out after a number of opening and closing cycles, and need to be replaced periodically.
If you see signs of wear – loose, sagging springs, gaps between coils, or even a complete break between sections of a spring – it’s time to swap them out for a new set.
Continuing to operate your garage door as usual if your springs are showing signs of wear, or if only one of them is broken, this puts a good amount of extra stress on your garage door opener, and will cause your motor to wear out quicker, resulting in a much more expensive repair.
If you plan to replace or repair your garage door springs, the first step is figuring out what type of springs you have on your door. While there are a handful of garage door spring types, the vast majority of residential garage doors use either torsion springs or extension springs, so we’re going to focus on those.
Torsion vs. extension springs
The quick and easy way of figuring out what kind of garage door spring you have is simply by seeing where the springs are located. Torsion springs are commonly used for newer garage door installations, and sit horizontally above the middle of your garage door.
To find out if you have torsion springs, close your garage door and have a look above the center of the door. If you see a pair of springs running sideways, you’re on team torsion. While you’re looking at your newfound torsion springs, check to see if there are any gaps, breaks, or stretching.
If you heard a loud, gunshot-like noise from your garage in the recent past, it could have been the snapping of a torsion spring. That’s because these springs are very tightly wound, hold a lot of tension, and make a loud noise if they snap.
Extension springs, on the other hand, can be found running parallel to the garage door tracks on either side of your garage door. You can easily spot them when you close your garage door – they should be suspended a few inches above the garage door tracks, running nearly the length of the track.
What size garage door springs do I have?
Torsion springs require a few measurements – the wire diameter, the inside diameter, and the length of the spring. You’ll also need to know if the spring is a left-hand wind, or a right-hand wind.
All you need to figure it out is a tape measure, your broken spring, and a calculator. Lay your broken spring out in front of you and count out 20 coils, measuring with your tape measure the distance those 20 coils take.
Then, take the distance and divide it by 20, and this is the diameter of your wire. While the length of 20 coils is usually somewhere around 5 inches, it’s important to be precise. Being off by even a fraction of an inch can lead to ordering the wrong spring size.
The inside diameter of your garage door springs is written on either the winding cone or stationary cone attached to the spring. These are the metal pieces fitted to your spring. Check to see a letter or couple of letters (this can vary by brand) followed by a number. If you see P-200 stamped on the cone, it means it’s a two-inch inside diameter. Alternatively, you might simply find the size stamped on there in inches – such as 1 3/4”.
To measure the length of a torsion spring, you’ll need to do your measurement when there’s no tension on the spring – so don’t try this if the spring is up and installed over your garage door. You will also need both sides of a broken spring, if your spring snapped.
Measure the length of the spring with your tape measure, or measure each half and add together. And that’s it! It’s good to note that you can be off by about ¾ of an inch here and it shouldn’t make too much of a difference.
To find out whether your spring is a left-hand wind or right-hand wind, look down directly at the top of the spring where the coiling starts. If the coil runs clockwise, you have a right-hand wind; if it runs counter-clockwise, it’s left-hand wind.
How to measure extension springs
For extension springs, you’ll need to know both the length of the spring, as well as the weight that it’s intended to hold. If you put a 90-pound spring on a 110-pound door, for example, it’ll end up looking like a stretched out telephone cord. (If you don’t remember what a telephone cord looks like, a simple online image search should do the trick.)
Generally, most residential garage doors are either seven or eight feet tall. Seven-foot doors usually use a 25-inch spring, and eight-foot doors use a 27-inch spring. However, because precision is important, we’ll show you how to measure it by hand.
First, make sure your garage door is closed. Unplug your garage door motor unit from the power source, and release the garage door itself by pulling on the brightly-colored release cord hanging down towards the front of the door.
Then, lift your garage door manually – you might need another hand or two for this. If only one spring is broken, lift from the broken spring side, otherwise lift from the middle.
Once the door is open, clamp a vice grip inside the track beneath the wheel, just under the bottom of the garage door. This will keep your garage door from closing.
Then, hop up on a ladder and measure the length of the spring with a tape measure. You can also weigh your garage door with a regular mechanical bathroom scale.
Center the scale in front of your closed garage door, making sure the garage door is disconnected from the opener after pulling on the release cord. Then, lift the door slightly – it may be heavy – and slide the scale underneath. Let the door down slowly, and record the weight.
Make Puls your garage door go-to
You can give your newly-taken spring measurements to a Puls technician and let them take your garage door spring repair from there – or you can just let them take care of your repair start to finish, including measuring your garage door springs.
If you get your garage door springs replaced or repaired with Puls, your technician will even throw in a 25-point garage door inspection, absolutely free.
It’s super easy to book a time slot – just hop online, enter your location, choose the time that’s best for you, and then sit back and wait for your technician to arrive at your door. Most of the time, you can even have a certified Puls technician at your home that same day.
So what are you waiting for? Book an appointment with a certified Puls technician, and you could have everything squared away within as little as the same day - it’s that easy.