Most garage doors are equipped with extension springs to help support the weight of the door as it opens and closes. These springs can wear out with time and constant use. In fact, most extension springs are rated at 10,000 cycles, which translates to approximately 7 years if you open and close your garage door 4 times a day. The following shows how you can safely replace these springs on your own.
Making Key Preparations
The very first thing you want to do is make sure you're dealing with extension springs, as opposed to torsion springs. The best way to identify extension springs is to look for the loop on the ends of the spring. Torsion springs, on the other hand, feature a metal collar on each end of the spring lined with holes designed to hold winding bars in place.
After making sure you're dealing with the right type of garage door spring, you'll want to prepare for the task at hand:
- If you have any vehicles in your garage, move them outside to avoid any accidental damage during the installation.
- Disconnect your garage door opener from the garage door by pulling down on the emergency release handle.
- Position a step ladder near the middle of the garage door, then lift the door open and rest it on the step ladder.
- Locate the bottom roller on the garage door tracks. Place a C-clamp below each roller to lock the door in place and remove the step ladder from the door.
You'll also want to make sure to purchase the correct extension spring replacement for your garage door. Extension springs are typically color coded according to the amount of weight they're capable of lifting and many will have their ends painted accordingly. This makes it easier to find the right spring that can handle your door's weight.
Out With the Old
To remove the old extension spring, start by placing a piece of painter's tape on the track underneath the pulley the extension spring is attached to. This will allow you to mark the exact center of the extension spring pulley bolt so the pulley can be aligned later one.
Afterwards, you can follow the remaining removal steps:
- Detach the safety cable that runs through the extension spring from its vertical support bracket.
- Mark the attachment point for the S-hook holding the pulley cable in place. Detach the S-hook from its horizontal support bracket.
- Hold the pulley cable next to the pulley wheel with another piece of painter's tape. Use a wrench to detach the pulley from its pulley fork.
- Detach the extension spring from the pulley fork and detach the other end of the spring from the vertical support bracket.
It's a good idea to take pictures before and throughout the removal process so you can have a reference for how everything is supposed to go back together.
In With the New
Make sure you have the right color coded spring before going ahead with the installation of your new garage door extension spring. Once you've done that, start the installation by attaching the color coded end of the spring onto the pulley fork and the black end onto the eye bolt on the vertical support bracket. Reattach the pulley to the pulley fork and make sure the S-hook is reattached to the horizontal support bracket.
Next, carefully thread the safety cable through the spring and reattach it in the same manner as it was prior to the installation. You can use the pictures you took previously as a visual guide for the best results. Make sure the center of the pulley bolt lines up with the mark you made earlier on the painter's tape. If the pulley bolt doesn't quite line up, you can move the S-hook on the horizontal support bracket by one step to adjust the extension spring tension.
When you're finished, don't forget to remove the C-clamps from the tracks. It's also a good idea to test the garage door before reconnecting the garage door opener.
If this isn't something you feel comfortable doing on your own, be sure to reach out to a local professional, such as Shank Door.