How to Change Garage Door Springs
Written By: S.pace
So today let’s talk about one of the most popular ways to save money for all of you out there in garage door land. But first let me pay you a compliment since we are, of course, acquaintances of one full week. You have a dazzling smile and a gorgeous face and it’s simply amazing all of the things that you can accomplish with your hands. Now I’m sure that you’re either flattered or your creeped out, but give me a minute to explain. If we were out getting coffee and you told me you were going to change your springs this weekend I would advise you on how dangerous it is even if you have done it for years let alone trying to figure it out from YouTube. I worked for a door manufacturer for about 5 years in that time I heard stories of customers and installers cutting fingers off, breaking heels, impaling sternums, and lacerating their face to the point of 46 stitches.
When you change Torsion Springs you must completely undo the mechanism above the door. Cables are usually the first culprit, (these are what people call the “little wires”) most people instinctively realize that they must come off to get to the springs on the torsion tube. These cables are under the full tension of the springs (if you touch them you can feel that they’re tighter than a guitar string) if you cut them or take screws out where they are attached, these cables will whip around until the spring is unwound (usually 7 or 8 times). These cables are not made of soft yarn, they are thin strands of steel twisted together to form (usually) a 1/8” thick flexible solid steel rope and as that cable whips around I promise it won’t feel like unicorns are licking you. This is usually how people end up with facial lacerations and having fingers cut off.
So, let’s say you have the Torsion Assembly taken apart and you read my first blog post and went and picked up the correct spring. You have everything back together and you start to wind the spring up, but as you finish winding the first spring someone starts talking to you so you have to start over because you lose your count. When you get it almost wound again your hands are sweaty or your arms are tired and the winding bar slips out of your hand. Then, because you are standing in front of the spring, the winding bar doesn’t fall to the ground it drives into your sternum with the upward force of 80 to 300 pounds from the wound spring.
Perhaps you calculated the spring wrong and now have the wrong one. If you get it wound and it isn’t strong enough when it’s correctly wound you will destroy your operator. If it’s too strong, well let’s just say I have a story about the owner of JDT when he was new to the business. Our fabulous owner (who was working for another company at the time) grabbed the wrong spring from the truck because they all look the same. The one he grabbed was about 150 pounds too strong, he realized this when he was winding the spring and it launched him clean off the ladder to the back of the customer’s garage, still holding the winding bar, ladder still standing, door shooting off the back of the tracks.
In all seriousness, I would be lying if I said we don’t want to install the springs for you to make money because of course we’re a business. However, there’s more to it than that, the springs control every function of the door, without them nothing moves and things break. Spring weight and correct spring size are hard to get correctly even for some who have been in the business for years, it requires knowledge, experience, and math. So please, even if you don’t use JDT please have a highly rated, experienced garage door company install your springs (not a handyman) it could be the difference between and emergency room visit and/or buying a new operator and/or spending 4-6h hours working on your door verses spending a few hundred bucks and 1 hour of your day.
Until next week I’m Space your garage door fairy godmother. Here’s to strong coffee, sweet wine, and home improvement without the cost of emergency room visits.