Garage Door Torsion Spring Safety Tips

The garage door torsion spring is the large wound spring that runs above your garage door’s opening. Often found as a pair, mounted on both sides of the center point, these springs are designed to work in tandem to lift the hundreds of pounds of garage door so that you and your opener only see a small percentage of the load. Garage door torsion spring replacement or adjustment can be dangerous, so read how to stay safe.

Garage Door Torsion Spring Service Life

Basic springs may have a service duty of about 10,000 cycles, which for many people might be 5-7 years of service. Heavy-duty springs may allow 50,000 to 100,000 cycles. If the warranty on your garage door is only 5 years then you might have one of the more basic springs.

You may need garage door torsion spring adjustment or replacement if the door closes improperly, too fast or too slowly.

Replacement or Adjustment is Not for the Average DIYer

Since a garage door torsion spring is positioned above the door opening, your only easy access is when the garage door is closed. However, this is also the time that a garage door torsion spring is bearing the heaviest load and must be given the most respect. Loosening a spring’s anchor bolt without the proper precautions can cause the garage door torsion spring to release all its stored energy in a fraction of a second. If a wrench or winding bar is improperly positioned during this sudden release, it could be catapulted with speeds approaching supersonic velocity. Anyone or anything in that missile’s path is going to be in for a big surprise.

This Tiger has Two Heads

It may seem obvious to use caution when working on the springs’ winding brackets, but another area that carries risk is where the lifting cable mounts to the door itself. The cable's location can be up to 8 or 10 feet away from the spring. Many unsuspecting homeowners have discovered this suddenly, as the roller they were hoping to replace gets ripped off by the lifting cable that is attached to it. The winding drum is also an area where caution is required, as it connects the main shaft to the cable. This mechanism works as a complete assembly with many of the parts being connected to many others; understanding this complete “system” will allow for safety.

Some homeowners pick up the phone or search the internet to find skilled and qualified service professionals for adjusting or replacing garage door torsion springs; others may spend many hours researching and planning to complete the task themselves. Whatever camp you’re in, garage door torsion springs need to be treated with caution and respect.

Learn More About Your Garage Door

This article is the eighth in a series on garage-related stuff that I have written for Networx. Other topics include cable and roller maintenance, garage door sensors, garage door balancing, cleaning and protecting garage doors and other basic care. 

Kevin Stevens writes for

Updated August 8, 2018.

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