Your garage door is a modern convenience that works using large springs. These tight, heavy springs expand and contract, pulling cables that raise and lower your garage door. When something goes wrong with your garage door springs, the results could be worse than you not being able to enter or exit your garage. Problems with industrial springs such as these can lead to serious property damage or injury.
Types of Garage Door Springs
Modern garage doors use one of two types of springs, torsion and extension springs.
Torsion springs are installed in the space above the garage door when it is closed. These springs are made to turn rather than completely expand. This means that the tension remains the same the entire time the garage door is opening or closing. There should be no jerking or changes in speed with torsion springs. This type of spring is usually more expensive, but it also tends to last much longer.
Extension springs are mounted along side the roller tracks of your garage door. They work by fully extending and then contracting as the garage door opens or closes. Extension springs do not use the same turning motion as torsion springs, so they are not able to control the speed and tension of the garage door as well as a torsion spring would.
Garage doors using extension springs may jerk and strain when they are being raised and lowered. This is normal for extension springs, but it can mean that the garage door is easily put off balance. Extension springs should have safety cables threaded through them and attached to another area in the garage. This is so that if an extension spring breaks, it will not fly into the garage and hurt someone or damage property.
Doityourself.com reports that extension springs typically last between 5,000 to 10,000 lifts while torsion springs have a lifespan of 20,000 lifts.
Typical Garage Door Spring Problems
There are several problems that can occur with both types of garage door springs. You can be ready for these problems by regularly inspecting your garage door opening mechanism to be sure that everything looks like it is supposed to. Here are some signs of trouble.
- The springs are worn. If the springs on your garage door look frayed, worn or thinner in some places than others, you will want to replace them as soon as possible. You don't want these springs to break and cause damage to your property or break your garage door beyond repair.
- The springs are out of balance. Sometimes garage door springs become out of sync with each other. This lack of balance makes it harder for your garage door mechanism to open and close the door, which can lead to the entire mechanism breaking. It can also put strains on other parts of your garage door opening system. When springs are out of balance, they will often make screeching or creaking noises. This problem is more typical with extension springs than it is with torsion springs because the movement of the torsion springs is more controlled. Extension springs may expand and contract at different rates, which causes an imbalance.
- The cables are damaged. When your garage door springs expand and contract, they pull on cables that in turn cause the door to open and close. Over time, these cables can become worn and thin. When this happens, the cables must be replaced. If they break, the garage door can come crashing down and hurt someone.
The springs are a critical part of what makes your garage door open and close correctly. When the springs become broken or damaged, the entire garage door mechanism can suffer straining and breaking. Be sure that your garage door springs are working properly to save yourself time, trouble and stress. For more information, or if your garage door is in need of repairs, contact a local garage door company, like Plano Overhead Garage Door.