How to Replace Garage Door Spring: Step-by-Step Instructions for Safe Repair

This article will provide a clear, step-by-step guide on how to safely and efficiently replace a garage door spring.

Key takeaways:

  • Differentiate between torsion and extension garage door springs.
  • Recognize symptoms of failing garage door springs.
  • Follow safety guidelines when replacing garage door springs.
  • Steps to replace garage door springs: gather tools, secure the door, identify spring type, relieve tension, replace the spring, test the door.
  • When to call a professional for garage door spring replacement.

Types of Garage Door Springs

Garage door springs come in two primary varieties: torsion springs and extension springs.

Torsion springs are mounted above the closed garage door, while extension springs run along the upper tracks on both sides of the door.

Torsion springs are known for their durability and better balance, making them suitable for heavier doors. They use torque to lift the door.

In contrast, extension springs extend and contract as the door operates and are more common on lighter doors.

It’s important to know which type you have before attempting a replacement as the processes differ significantly.

Symptoms of Failing Springs

Noticeable signs can signal that garage door springs are in need of replacement:

1. Imbalanced Movement: If the door opens or closes unevenly or at an angle, the tension in the springs may be compromised.

2. Struggling Motor: An opener that labors or frequently stalls might indicate the springs aren’t supporting the door’s weight properly.

3. Loud Noises: Squeaking or grinding sounds during operation often suggest that springs are wearing out and need attention.

4. Visible Wear: Springs that appear stretched out, have a gap, or show signs of corrosion are at risk of failing.

5. Inability to Open: A garage door that won’t budge when the opener is engaged could mean that the springs have already broken.

6. Rapid Closure: A door that slams shut is dangerous and a clear indicator that the springs are no longer providing necessary tension.

Regular maintenance checks can help identify these symptoms early, ensuring timely replacement and avoiding potential hazards.

Safety Considerations

Before attempting to replace garage door springs, ensure personal safety and prevent property damage by following these guidelines:

  • Disconnect Power: Turn off the power to your garage door opener to prevent accidental activation.
  • Secure the Door: Place C-clamps or locking pliers on both sides of the door track to keep the door from moving while you work.
  • Wear Proper Safety Gear: Use gloves to protect your hands and safety glasses to shield your eyes from potential spring snaps or debris.
  • Use the Right Tools: Have winding bars specifically designed for adjusting garage door springs; do not substitute with screwdrivers or other tools.
  • Keep a Safe Distance: Stand to the side of the springs while making adjustments, not directly in front of them.
  • Release Tension Wisely: If the door is closed, spring tension is at its maximum. Carefully follow the spring unwinding process to avoid a sudden release of tension.
  • Do Not Cut Corners: Never try to replace only one spring on a two-spring system. Both springs should be replaced to maintain proper balance and operation.

By respecting these considerations, you reduce the risk of injury and ensure a more secure environment while performing spring replacement.

How to Replace Garage Door Springs

Gather the necessary tools you will need for the job, such as winding bars, clamps, wrenches, and a ladder.

Ensure the garage door is in the closed position for safety, and clamp the door to the track so it doesn’t move. Disconnect the garage door opener to prevent automatic operations that could cause injury or damage.

Identify the type of springs you have—either torsion or extension springs. For torsion springs, secure the center cone to the spring anchor bracket, and for extension springs, contain the spring tension by securing the pulleys and cables before proceeding.

With proper eye protection and gloves, use the winding bars to carefully relieve tension from springs. For torsion springs, insert winding bars into the winding cone and unwind the springs cautiously. For extension springs, unhook the springs from the brackets while maintaining secure control.

Remove the broken spring, taking note of its orientation, and replace it with the new one, ensuring it is the correct size and type for your door. Reapply tension to the spring—torsion springs require precise winding, extension springs need appropriate stretching to provide balanced door movement.

Reattach the garage door opener and remove clamps from the door tracks. Test the door manually before using the opener, making sure the door remains balanced and operates smoothly. If necessary, make adjustments to spring tension for optimal performance.

When to Call a Professional

Tackling garage door spring replacement can be hazardous due to the high tension these springs are under. Amateur mishandling could lead to serious injury or further damage to the garage door system. Consider contacting a professional if you:

  • Lack the proper tools, such as winding bars and sturdy ladders.
  • Have never replaced a garage door spring before.
  • Are dealing with a torsion spring system, which usually requires more precise handling than extension springs.
  • Notice that the spring is part of a more complex mechanism involving cables and pulleys that you’re not familiar with.
  • Feel uncomfortable or unsure at any point about handling high-tension components.

Experts are equipped with the necessary tools, knowledge, and experience to safely perform the task, ensuring it’s done correctly and efficiently. This is especially crucial if the garage door is a critical aspect of your daily routine.


Can I replace garage door spring myself?

While it's possible to replace a garage door spring yourself, it's advisable to hire a professional due to the potential risks involved and the need for specialized expertise.

Should you replace both garage door springs if one breaks?

When one garage door spring breaks, it is advisable to replace both springs for better efficiency and longevity.

How long does it take to replace a garage door spring?

The process of replacing a garage door spring typically lasts between 30 minutes to 1 hour.

What are the necessary tools for replacing a garage door spring?

The necessary tools for replacing a garage door spring include safety glasses, two winding bars, a sturdy ladder, an adjustable wrench, a plier, a file, and a new garage door spring.

What safety precautions should be taken during the replacement process?

During the replacement process, safety precautions should include wearing proper protective equipment, disconnecting power tools when not in use, and ensuring the work area is clean and devoid of potential hazards.

How do you properly measure for a new garage door spring?

To properly measure for a new garage door spring, you need to measure four key aspects – the length of the spring, the inside diameter, the wire size, and the wind of the spring.