Updated: July 10th, 2019
The spring on your garage door plays a crucial role in the door’s functionality and your safety. Every spring in existence wears out eventually, which means you need to be aware of the signs that one has snapped or stopped working. It’s difficult to catch when a spring has broken because the signs can be far less obvious than with other damaged garage door parts.
Check for the following signs regularly to save money and keep your home safe.
Signs of a Broken Garage Door Spring
Some of the signs commonly associated with a broken garage door spring in need of repair are subtle — you may only notice them if you pay attention to your door regularly. Oftentimes, people don’t notice anything until they try to leave their house and suddenly have trouble getting their door to function properly. Here’s what to look for:
- Noises coming from the door: Strange sounds are some of the most common signs that something has gone wrong with the garage door spring. Any noises that come from the door at any point could indicate a problem. You might hear grinding, squeaking and creaking while the door is actually in motion opening and closing. Another commonly reported sound is a loud bang while the door isn’t in motion. This is the sound of a snapping spring — and many have even feared home invasion because of it.
- Slow opening and closing speed: No garage door moves particularly fast, because speed could sacrifice safety and make these heavy doors dangerous. However, if you notice your door is moving even slower than usual, it might be a sign you’re due for a garage door spring replacement. Most doors come equipped with motors that will start their movement slowly and increase in speed after a few seconds, but a broken spring won’t support the weight of the garage door like it should, preventing the motor from reaching its maximum speed.
- The door stops on its way up at around the six-inch mark: While it’s bad news for the life of your springs, this is actually a safety mechanism built into most garage door openers to prevent the door from opening all the way if the sensors pick up on a broken spring. This force adjustment feature prohibits the door from going up so it doesn’t crash or slam on its way back down to the closed position. In this way, the opener keeps other expensive parts of your door from being damaged and keeps your family and pets safe.
- Closing forcefully: If the door does fall fast when it comes down, you probably have a broken spring. Without a spring, your garage door is a weight with much less support, and the openers are not designed to carry that weight. For specific models, sometimes the door will go up but won’t go back down because of a broken spring.
- Crooked door: In opening systems that have a spring on both sides, the unbroken spring will still pull, which means the door still moves up but does so crookedly. This can cause it to get stuck in the tracks or even bend at the top section. Usually, the motion of the door going up on one spring will make the movement noticeably jerky and less than smooth. If the door looks crooked when it’s stationary or moves unevenly, it’s probably time to replace the springs.
- Trouble manually lifting the door: The natural next step you might take after the door refuses to open normally is to lift it manually. The springs are built to allow this manual lifting, so if you find that the door is extremely heavy, you probably have a broken garage door spring in need of repair. You’ll probably still be able to manually lift the door with the help of some extra muscle, but use extreme caution so the heavy door doesn’t fall and hurt anyone. Also, be sure to lift carefully and evenly to keep the door from getting jammed in the tracks.
- Noticeable damage on the springs: While damage to springs commonly goes unnoticed and without a visible appearance, sometimes a quick inspection of the spring can reveal that a repair or replacement is needed. If you notice a gap up to a few inches, rust, grime or breaks along the spring, it definitely needs some attention. In rare instances, you might see cables or a pulley hanging down because the force of the snapped spring caused a mess.
If any of these situations happen in your garage, you might need to quickly decide to find garage door spring repair or replacement. The springs are under a lot of tension and it can be dangerous to complete these services on your own without professional help. Contact us to find out more and get those springs replaced!