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What Are Garage Door Springs?

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  • Written By: R. Kayne
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 30 March 2014
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    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Garage door springs are large wire coils that help to lift and lower garage doors. With properly installed and adjusted springs, a homeowner only has to get the door started by manually moving it up or down a bit, before the springs take over. Automatic garage door openers will get the door started for you, but the springs still do the actual work of lifting and lowering.

There are two basic types of garage door springs, torsion springs and extension springs. These are used respectively with the two basic types of garage doors, sectional roll-aways and swing-ups. A roll-away door uses two torsion springs that are located on either side of the top center of the door. Swing-up garage doors use two extension springs, mounted on extending swing-arms on either side of the door.

Garage door springs are under tremendous tension when extended and, if failure occurs, can result in a garage door dropping on to a vehicle or person. Unfortunately, most people are unaware that the springs, rollers, tracks, arms and other parts of the assembly require occasional routine safety checks. Corrosion, loose hardware or worn parts can lead to accidents, while misadjusted springs can make the garage door very difficult to lift, or conversely, cause it to "fly up" out of the hands.

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The springs come in different lengths to accommodate various standard size doors, from single garage doors to double doors. The amount of tension supplied by the springs is relative to the weight of the door. Doors can weigh as much as 400 pounds (181 kilograms), so selecting the right garage door springs is essential if the door is to work properly, safely and easily.

Many wonder if changing garage door springs is a DIY (do it yourself) job. Experts emphasize that it is not, and should be left to experienced technicians. Those who attempt to change a spring can lose control of it or a cable under tension, and end up maimed or worse.

Local home improvement centers commonly stock various types of garage door springs and many provide a professional service to install them for you. You can also find neighborhood businesses that sell and install garages and door springs. If you're interested in buying springs or other parts online, you might consider having a professional visit your home first to assess your garage door hardware and recommend needed replacement parts. Also ask if the company will install parts purchased from other dealers, as some companies may have policies regarding this.

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Discuss this Article

jamesbellew
Post 2

Hello, I have a question. In Ga. from what an inspector told us, is that there is a new codes for a safety spring. The home has an extension springs. The door are what 9x7. Can anyone answer this question for us please. Thanks

MikePDS
Post 1

Nicely Put...However there is just one problem, I am an "expert" (there is no license or formal schooling required for garage door repair/installation) and I do recommend you know what you are doing before jumping into any spring replacement project. I have worked in the industry long enough to know that there are going to be people that do the repair themselves regardless. So for the people that do, here a couple of things to look at:

Replace you cables at the same time if they are starting to fray or show signs of weakening (spiraling).

There is a bearing in the center reinforcement bracket. most of the time it is fine, but for the extra 2-5$ it might be worth changing.

Do your research! there are a few good articles on "how to" out there, most of them explain how to measure the dimensions of your springs (wire size x Inside Diameter x Length, Right or Left wound).

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