Your garage door opens and closes with the use of a garage door torsion spring. If you look up near the tracks at the back of your garage door system, you will normally see one or two large, tightly coiled metal springs attached to the top of the garage door itself with wires and pulleys.
The motor on your garage door supplies the direction, but these springs supply the power. They exert a force equal to the weight of your garage door, so when the motor starts up, the energy from the spring lifts the door; when the motor pushes down, the springs allow the door to lower.
These springs must be calibrated correctly in order for the system to work; they have to exert a force equal to the weight of the door. If they don’t pull enough force, the motor will be taxed, or the door simply won’t rise. Too much force and the door can be damaged as it slams up and down.
In most instances, we never have to worry about these springs. But every once in a while, the springs can break, and when this happens, they will need to be replaced.
How To Replace a Torsion Spring
Simple answer – Call a professional to come and replace it. Of the many elements involved in the maintenance of an automatic garage door, this is the one that is most dangerous for amateurs to do.
The reason for this is the amount of tension the spring is under. As stated previously, these springs counterbalance the door. That said, they are wound to a tension to counterbalance 100 to 200 pounds normally. As you release or unwind the spring, if it breaks or comes loose, it can snap with the full force of this tension. Flying metal at this force can cause enough damage to rip flesh, break bones, and even kill. You need to have the correct tools and you need to take proper safety precautions; a safety helmet, protective eyewear, and gloves are essential.
Without going into too much detail, which is beyond the scope of this article, torsion springs are replaced by the following method.
Make certain that you have the proper replacement springs: measure to make certain you have the correct length and NEVER use an improper replacement.
Unplug and release the garage door from the motor assembly.
Set your springs on the proper sides of the door. Measure your torsion shafts and mark them.
Now unwind the old spring using the proper equipment. A good rule of thumb: assume the old spring will break and take the proper precautions. Use a winding bar that is at least 18 inches long.
At this point, the torsion hardware is loosened, the old springs are removed, the new springs placed, the torsion pole put back into place, and the new springs tightened and adjusted to the correct level.
Step-by-step instructions are available from a number of places. However, probably the best advice on replacing your torsion springs is to let an authorized, experienced service representative do it for you. This is a very dangerous thing to do and it is highly advised that you contact a professional, trained garage door technician like this one garage door repair website to perform any work on a garage door spring.