Other than breaking, is another failure mode for garage door springs a
weakening of spring tension?
Our garage door is a sectional one and my notes scribbled on the inside
of the door say I changed out the springs nine years ago and they are
"150 pound springs".
For the last few weeks the door has occasionally stopped opening after
about a foot and a half of upward travel. A second (or sometimes a
third) try will get get it to go up the rest of the way.
I suspect the overload sensing detection of the garage door opener is
making it stop.
I disengaged the door from the opener and lifted it by hand. It felt a
lot heavier than I'd expect it to be, prolly too heavy for a little lady
So, is weakening of garage door springs something everyone but me knows
On Mon, 16 Mar 2015 19:15:22 -0400, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Yea, all of those things could be the problem, and springs do weaken
over time. But it could be any of these (below).
Bad bearing or tightness in cable pulley.
Stretched or breaking cable, or slipped cable clamp.
Door tracks are not aligned, loose, or bolts are sticking out.
Bad or stuck roller(s) on door.
Obstruction stuck against door or track.
Begin by checking the whole frame an door tracks. Tighten all loose
Check all rollers (might require removing one at a time and lubricating
or replacing them).
Check to make sure cable pulleys operate freely, replace or lube in they
If winter weather caused the slab to heave, the walls may have moved a
bit too, and that can change the actual size of the door opening, which
can make things rub or be misaligned. Garage doors are simple to
understand, but difficult to keep them operating properly, and require
EVERYTHING to work properly. On stuck roller or loose bolt can cause a
You can generally tighten the cables to get more torque from the
springs. Each side of the door should be even. I have used turnbuckles
where the cables attach to the wall. That way you can easily fine tune
Jeff Wisnia wrote, on Mon, 16 Mar 2015 19:06:51 -0400:
Everything I say below assumes torsion springs!
Yes. Springs weaken in tension.
The proof is easy to see.
What I do is spray a line with spray paint along the length of the spring
when the garage door is closed (i.e., the spring is wound up).
I spray this line of paint just before I oil a new torsion spring for the
first time after replacing them.
Then I can see, over time, that straight line starts to slip and begins
to curve (over a period of years).
What matters is the calculations of cycles that you can get here:
The el cheapo springs most installers put on are, IIRC, 11,000 cycles,
which is 11,000 open-close cycles. Do the math, where, if you open and close
the doors thrice a day for 9 years, that's math of:
9 x 365 x 3 = 9,855 duty cycles
Of course, the springs I put on (which only cost about $15 more) are
70,000 duty cycles; so, it all depends on the springs that you put on.
Lots of things slip. It could be as simple as a loose end pulley slipping
on the torsion shaft. Read the DDM doors site and Dan will help you out
(I've called him many times and he has given pretty good advice, but, I
would only do that if you plan on buying stuff from him).
Again, Dan shows how to balance the door on the spring.
It should barely take any effort.
It should stop half way and stay there.
What you need to do is balance it. It's easy to do, but don't even *think*
of doing it if you're afraid of looking up the details on EXACTLY how to
balance a garage door - because - one mistake - and you're dead - or missing
I'd do first things first since your door is clearly unbalanced.
0. Bone up on garage doors by reading the tutorials on balancing the door
on Dan Musick's site.
1. Decide if you want to balance it yourself.
2. Balance it.
That will solve any problems of slipping pulleys also, since you'll notice
stuff when you start balancing the garage door.
Google my name and alt.home.repair and garage door torsion spring, or
search here: http://tinyurl.com/alt-home-repair
Last winter, in the bone numbing cold, one of the springs
on my Mom's garage door snapped. When the repair guy came
out, I watched. The cable had been installed in one place,
and rebent, later. I could tell from the bends in the end
of the cable. Someone many years ago had shortened the
cable, presumably as the spring relaxed. The guy last
year had to use the longer cable place, as the spring
he put in had good tension.
So, yes, extension springs grow weaker. I also remember
the cable and springs grew limp, on the next door family's
garage door when I was a teen. I remember seeing that
and mention to the home owner.
Christopher A. Young
learn more about Jesus
No stored power when changing them. I push the door up and back as far
as it will travel, then use a C-clamp on one rail to keep it there.
At that point the expansion springs are fully contracted and it's a snap
to swap in new ones. I just picked up a new pair at HD this afternoon.
They are color coded with red paint on one end, same as the ones I'm
gonna chuck out.
Yes, they get overstretched as time passes. Is the door able to be
grabbing it from either side without it being jammed in the track
Extension springs are actually more dangerous than torsion springs. But
are also relatively easy to adjust. Raise the door and clamp a set of
vise-grips on EACH side of the track equal distant on the track. You
bottom rollers to make contact at the same point on each side with the
vise-grips. This should make the door look level with the header if the
opening is square.
Then you disassemble the springs, one side at a time and feel for the
amount of pressure you did the first one on the second one. Sometimes
get lucky and there will be a slot you can move the "S" hook forward one
position forward without undoing the cables from the rectangular cable
With the springs in the relaxed position, it is sometimes very obvious
stretched beyond usability, and needs replacement. Always replace both
springs, never just one.
If you are not 100% confident you can do this safely, DON'T. If the old
springs did not include a safety cable running through the middle of them
tied off at the back hang and front track, install some now. I've seen a
spring break and fly though 2 layers of sheet rock. A safety cable keeps
broken springs up there instead of flying around when one breaks.
The weather here in Red Sox Nation finally warmed up a bit so I
installed the new extension springs today.
As I suspected, the springs I replaced 6 years ago had "softened"
noticeable as it was a lot easier to stretch them to unhook the fixed
ends from the hook bolts they go onto but considerably tougher to
stretch the new one to hook them on.
Frankly, I never realized that steel springs weakened with age that much
when they weren't really stretched very far. Live and learn.
As I mentioned previously, before installing new springs, with the
opener unhooked from the door it took quite a bit of effort to lift the
door from fully closed to open by hand. The first thing I tried after
installing the new springs was moving the door by hand. It was slicker
than snot on a brass doorknob and moved quite easily all the way up and
I don't expect I'll be seeing the opener shutting down from "overload"
while the door is opening anymore.
Case closed (for another six years.....)
The door should be able to raised with one hand, and stay balanced 1/2 up
Do you have two torsion springs? One may be broken, you'll need to look
them closely. Sometimes springs do need a re-tightening though. Maybe
two quarter turns. This happens when it gets cold. You should have
it before now, earlier in the winter.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.