When you find yourself looking up at your broken garage door spring with a service technician, you will probably be asked: “Would you like to replace one spring or two?”. If your door has two springs, the quick answer is most definitely change both springs. This will not only save you money, but also prevent any inconvenience in the near future from another broken spring. Both springs have completed the same number of cycles which means they have the same exact amount of wear. Let’s take a look at a few different scenarios and see if any look similar to your situation.
Why Do Garage Door Springs Break?
The life of a garage door spring is based on cycles and the minimum specification is 10,000 cycles. That means the garage door will go up and down on average 10,000 times before the spring breaks. The more you use your garage door, the sooner the spring will need to be replaced. Back when homeowners used their front door to enter the home, garage door springs would last 10-15 years. Today, since the garage door is used as the main entry point we are seeing springs break in 3-5 years. Garage door springs break because of usage, not because it’s cold outside or because there is rust on the spring. Those are myths.
Should I Have Two Springs Installed If My Garage Door Has Only One Spring?
Yes and No. It’s not required but, two springs will give you more life cycles.
If your garage door was originally set up with only one torsion spring, then you are perfectly fine with having only one spring put back on the door. If your garage door has two springs pulling the door up, then definitely have both replaced. The second spring will break, it’s just a matter of time which is usually within 6 months. Have both springs replaced while the repair company is there to save money.
It is true that two springs will have a high cycle count than one. On average, it can be around 20-40% more life depending on the size of springs installed. Many repair companies will try to upsell you and recommend installing a two spring system when you only have one. You don’t have to go back with two unless you want to spend a little more money to get a longer life on the springs.
It is important to hire a reputable garage door company so the technician is honest and upfront with you. The up-charge for going from one spring to a two spring setup is usually around 30-40% more.
Is It Better to Have Two Torsion Springs?
Two springs will increase cycle life and help you get out of a bind when one spring breaks. Since torsion springs don’t break at the same time, you can usually lift your garage door with the help of the unbroken spring that is pulling the door with the cables still intact. The cables will remain on the drums since one spring is still wound making it possible to lift the door with the help of a family member or neighbor. The downside is two springs do cost more to replace, but the additional cycles means they will last longer. It probably comes out to the same cost. The difference is with two springs you won’t have to have your garage door repaired as often.
All extension spring setups utilize two springs to pull the garage door up. If your garage door has extension springs mounted above the tracks, it is always a good idea to replace those in pairs. This will ensure the springs are pulling the door evenly as it goes up and down. If you are buying garage door springs online, you need to make sure you buy the right size for your garage door.
A standard non-insulated 8×7 garage door will use 90# extension springs. A standard four panel wood door that is about 1 ½” thick will use 130# extension springs. When you replace extension springs, you always do it with the garage door in the up position and a pair of vise grips clamped under one of the rollers so the door will not fall to the ground. Go ahead and pull the red rope on the garage door opener to disconnect it from the door so no one tries to open or close the garage door while you are working on it.
Should I Replace the Cables on My Garage Door When My Spring Breaks?
Yes and No.
Unless you have a frayed cable that is showing physical signs of wear, there is usually no reason to change your cables. Garage door cables will usually last through a few spring changes. Your technician should be able to show you where your cable is damaged if they are recommending replacement.
With that being said, we have seen unprecedented price increases in 2020-2021 due to supply chain shortages. It’s more important now than ever to extend the life of your garage door because new door pricing is at an all time high. Replacing your cables, drums, rollers, and any other wear parts on your garage door while having your spring replaced might not be a bad idea. Most companies will work you a packaged deal that will save you lots of money as long as they are an honest company that is being reasonable with you.
Should I Replace the Rollers on My Garage Door When My Spring Breaks?
It is a good idea to replace your garage door rollers when you are having the springs replaced. Garage door rollers have an expected life similar to your garage door springs, around 10,000 cycles. It is good practice to replace the rollers when having your springs replaced to keep your garage door in good working order.
Garage door rollers play an important role in the garage door ecosystem. When you have good rollers and they are running properly, your garage door will operate more efficiently. This will reduce any unwanted stress on your electric opener. This will help reduce maintenance costs down the road. Many garage door and electric opener issues are cause and effect. When one thing is not operating the way it should be, it will have a negative impact on another component, therefore causing premature wear.
If you have had them recently replaced, then you should be fine.
How To Open Your Garage Door with a Broken Spring
The answer is simple. You have to lift it. But, I don’t recommend you doing that. It is very dangerous to lift a garage door. If you do plan on lifting the garage door, you need to lift it evenly. Most importantly, you need a couple of people to hold the garage door in the up position as you don’t want it to fall or come down on someone. When you close it, you need to close it evenly so it doesn’t get jammed up.
Many homeowners will have a perplexed look on their face when the garage door won’t open after their spring has broken. The first thing they will say is “I normally pull the red rope and the door goes right up, why is the garage door not opening?”. The answer is because the springs on a garage door are what do the heavy lifting.
The automatic opener that you see opening and closing your garage door every day is designed to pull around 10-15 lbs max. They are installed for convenience only. The whole purpose of an opener is to prevent you from having to get out of your vehicle, unlock and open the garage door manually, pull your car in, and then close the door manually. These steps are removed with two presses of the button on the remote.
Too many people get hurt trying to lift garage doors. If you’re spring breaks and you don’t have a reputable garage door company that you use, call your neighbor or a realtor. Find someone who is referred by another human being as you will most likely have a much better experience. Searching the internet can yield good results, but lots of scammers are in the garage door industry waiting to take advantage of new homeowners that know nothing about garage doors. Hopefully this article clears up whether or not you should replace one or two garage door springs the next time you need repair.