replace garage door spring

How to Replace a Garage Door Spring the Right Way

BY ROBERT BROOME, OWNER

When you have a broken garage door spring, the spring itself may be covered by a warranty, but labor costs could be anywhere from $150-$250. If you’d rather replace the spring yourself, Presto Garage & Gutter has created a video that takes you step by step.

Tools and Parts You’ll Need

Here’s what you’ll need to properly replace your broken garage door spring:
  • Replacement torsion spring
  • Impact gun
  • 7/16 socket
  • 9/16 socket
  • 9/16 ratchet
  • Vise grips
  • File
  • Hammer
  • Winding bars
  • Level
  • Ladder
  • Replacement rollers

The life of an “economy-grade” torsion spring for a garage door is 10,000 cycles, but there are also higher quality springs with 25,000 and 50,000 cycles. When we install a new garage door or replace a broken spring, we use 50,000 cycle springs, and we recommend them because they’ll last five times as long as the standard options, the additional cost between the standard and upgraded springs are negligible.

When you replace garage door springs, this is a perfect time to go ahead and replace the rollers at the same time and we highly recommend it.

Safety First

Patience is necessary, take your time to safely do the job right. This includes unplugging the garage door motor; disengaging the opener from the door; pulling the emergency release cord; and using vise grips to clamp off rollers in the tracts so the door won’t shoot up while you’re working. Throughout our video, we show how to do each step of the process properly and safely.

Releasing the Torsion Spring Tension

Climb the ladder with the winding bars, the ratchet, and 7/16 socket in hand. Place a winding bar inside the hole in the torsion spring and keep the tension as you release the set screws. After they’re loosened, the spring starts to turn.

Then use a winding bar to slowly continue to remove the tension from the spring. As the tension reduces, the spring gets easier to turn. During the last two turns, keep one hand on the winding bar and use the other hand to see if the broken garage door spring is ready to come off.

Removing the Drums

Next up, it’s time to loosen the set screws on the drums on either side of the door. Terry, one of our Presto technicians, prefers to start on the left side. It’s important to remove the cable first and put it where it will safely stay in place during the procedure.

Remove the bearing plate bolts. The drum should spin. Move the drum out of the way and then use a file to gently rub any burrs on the shaft. Remove the center bolts that hold the spring and then repeat the drum loosening procedure on the other side. When the entire torsion shaft can slide, remove the right drum and the spring.

Replace Garage Door Spring

Pull the shaft back out enough to be able to slide the new spring onto the shaft. The spring should be in the center with an equal amount of space on either side. Then, you begin the reassembly process. This will include using the bolts (then nuts) to connect the spring back to the center bearing plate, tightening appropriately to ensure the spring is secured properly.

Resetting Drums

Re-thread the cable correctly and position the drum, making sure that they are snug on the torsion tube. Ratchet them in tightly without over-tightening (which can damage the shaft). Once the screws are snug, we recommend an additional ¾ turn. Keep the tension tightly on the cable while doing this, and then repeat the process on the other side. You’ll want the cable tension to be as identical as possible on both sides of the garage door, and this is also when you can use a level to make sure that all was properly put back evenly.

Returning Tension to the Spring

During this part of the garage door repair, you’ll need to return the tension to the spring so the garage door can appropriately open and close. As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to turn the spring one revolution for every foot of door height. So, a seven-foot garage door would need seven full turns.

Before you begin this step, know where your position zero is. You’ll then make quarter turns, with a seven-foot garage door needing 28 of them. When you’re done, tighten the set screws (once snug, an additional ¾ turn). Use a second winding bar to relieve the tension so that the original winding bar can be removed.

Testing the Your Garage Door Repair Job

Remove all of your vise grips but keep a hand on your garage door so that it doesn’t fly up. Manually check the tension in the door and ensure that all is well balanced by lifting the garage door to waist level and checking it out. You don’t want the door to be too heavy, which would make it slide down, or too “hot,” which would cause it to shoot up.

If all is good, then return the emergency release cord to its typical position.

Replacing the Rollers

It’s recommended that you replace your rollers when you fix a broken garage door spring. For all but the bottom roller, you can simply remove the brackets, slide the old roller out, and slip the new one in before replacing the brackets.

For the bottom rollers, raise the door up, bend a small section of the vertical track with vise grips, and pull the door down until the roller pops out. Replace the roller and straighten out the track. Once the new rollers are installed they should easily glide in their tracks.

This concludes your garage door repair project. Job well done!

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