Why do Garage Door Springs Break?

Your garage door torsion spring literally does all the heavy lifting when it comes to your garage door. Garage door springs breaking is a perplexing problem for many homeowners who do not know what exactly a torsion spring is, how to fix it, or what causes it – all of which is valuable knowledge to have before you end up late to work because you couldn’t get your car out of the garage.

Wear and Tear
By far the biggest reason for garage door torsion spring failure is simple wear and tear. Most properly installed torsion springs are rated for about ten thousand cycles – one cycle being the garage door going up and coming back down to close. That may seem like a lot, but consider that you go through a minimum of two cycles a day just getting the car out of and back into the garage.

If you go on any errands, a spouse goes to work through the same garage, or kids open and close the door for any reason, those daily cycles can add up a lot faster than you may think. You could burn through ten thousand cycles in about a year. If you are a heavy garage door user, consider getting extended lifespan torsion springs, which are rated for about four times as long for only twice the price.

If any rust develops on the spring for any reason, its lifespan will be dramatically shortened. Rust increases the friction on the coil while it moves on top of the corrosive factor of the rust itself weakening the coil. Spraying down the coil with WD-40 three or four times a year can serve to keep it well lubricated and prevent any rust buildup.

Ill-Advised Cost Saving
Most garage doors maintained with care employ two torsion springs, one on each side of the door, to do the job of lifting it. But some builders, seeking to cut costs wherever possible, will instead use one extra-long torsion spring across the whole door, instead of one on each side. For especially small or light doors this may be okay, but most doors will be much better served with two individual torsion springs sharing the load. Single springs have a dramatically shortened lifespan and a failure will release 100% of the incredible amount of power stored in the spring, potentially causing heavy damage.

Improper Maintenance
All garage door springs will fail eventually just due to wear and tear, but proper maintenance can not only prolong the lifespan of the springs, but alert you when they are getting close to failure without dealing with the potentially destructive explosive breaking of the spring as well as the headache involved with fixing it as quickly as possible. Other than spraying it down with WD-40 a few times a year, check the garage door balance at least once a season, especially in the winter when most springs fail. To check balance, lift the door up halfway and let go of it. Springs in good working order should keep it completely still; if the door sags and falls a bit, the springs are starting to show signs of wear.