One spring or two springs? If you have a two-car garage, it’s industry’s best practices to replace both springs, even though only one may be broken. When one spring breaks it makes sense that the other spring will most likely break shortly thereafter. Why pay for another service call? Additionally, since springs need to have the same tension, replacing only one is not effective.
The winding and unwinding is done at a metal fitting, called a winding cone, attached to the outside end of the spring. You stick a winding bar into one of the four holes in the cone and use the bar as a lever to turn the cone. Once you've completed a quarter turn, insert the other bar into a different hole in the cone and let the bar lever against the closed garage door to hold the spring tension. This allows you to move the original bar to repeat the process, alternating the bars with each quarter-turn. It takes about 30 quarter-turns to fully tension a standard torsion spring.
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If your garage door is equipped with only one torsion spring, it will be much harder to get your door open. You will need to get 2-3 people to help lift the door up because the full weight can be anywhere from 150 to 300 pounds. We don’t recommend lifting the door when the spring break's due to the danger of it falling on someone. If you absolutely must get your garage door open, raw strength is what you need. When you get the door in the up position, use vise-grips or a c-clamp on the track below the bottom roller to hold the door in the up position.
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First and foremost, a garage door, by design, contains springs designed to balance your door and make it easier to lift. Those springs are under incredible amounts of tension. If a spring breaks or is improperly released, it can cause incredible and potentially fatal injuries. Keep in mind, when working on a garage door spring, it is likely that your face and head will be close to it, meaning that your most sensitive area will be in the direct path of the released spring.
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If you have a Wayne Dalton TorqueMaster system (pictured below), the springs will be inside a tube. The only way to determine if one is broken is to lift the garage door manually. If the door is heavy (roughly 60lbs for a double car door), you most likely have a broken spring inside the TorqueMaster tube. Another way to tell if you have a broken spring in your Wayne Dalton Torquemaster tube is if the door goes up and won't go back down.
If you have a steel door, but want the look of a wood one, it is not necessary to change your entire garage door. Often, it may be possible to mimic the look of wood with skillful painting. Your local home improvement store may be able to provide good advice about the type of paint and brushes needed to mimic the look of wood for your particular door material.
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For a scholarly introduction to torsion springs and for more information on how to install them I recommend you visit Richard Kinch's page, "How I Replaced Deadly Garage Door Torsion Springs and Lived to Tell the Tale." Richard is a brilliant engineer who has provided a wealth of technical information on fixing torsion springs along with valuable advice regarding some of the schemes unscrupulous garage door companies use to rip people off.
The Torquemaster system has a lock built into each side on a double car door that will activate when a spring breaks causing the door to lock in the up position. It is very simple to deactivate this lock and get your door closed. But, you can guarantee you have a broken spring inside the Torquemaster tube on the side where the lock activated. You will need the spring inside replaced or have it converted over to a standard torsion spring set up, which is what we recommend and a service we perform quite frequently. A standard torsion spring will last 3 times longer than the small spring inside the Torquemaster tube.
Wood - Wood garage doors are sturdy and quite beautiful. However, if you live in a humid climate, your doors will be prone to rotting and splitting. If your wood is painted, you must also factor in the costs of painting as part of your regular maintenance routine. The cost of repairing the wood varies depending on the type. However, average cost to repair a wood panel is $190 to $215.
Next, if you don’t find an obstruction, check the springs. If your door has torsion springs, which are horizontal at the top of the door, you can tell they are broken by checking for a gap between the two springs. If your door has extension springs, you can check by looking to see if they are hanging on the side of the door. If you have a broken spring, you’ll need to call a pro to replace it as this is a dangerous task.
If your garage door isn’t operating properly, the torsion springs are likely to blame. If you’re concerned about tackling this project on your own, consider hiring out the job to a professional. Otherwise, replace both the left and right springs at the same time to save yourself from having to do the job twice. Remove the old springs and measure them while they’re relaxed. Only then will you be able to order replacement parts and install the new springs. Replacing your own garage door springs takes only a little time and effort and can save you hundreds of dollars.
It you have a tilt-up door, you are looking at a $150 – $200 repair or replacement. If it’s a roll-up door it’s going to cost you more. Roll-up door spring repair or replacement is usually around $200 – $250 for a 2 car door. If the brackets need to be disassembled to remove the springs due to the shaft not sliding sideways enough it will cost you an additional $50 – $100.