“If your garage door spring is broken, your garage door becomes very difficult to lift.”
Broken garage door extension springs make it difficult to open your garage door. Step by step replacement of extension springs must be done with caution. Keep in mind that a long metal spring is being stretched to the point that it will lift your entire garage door, which can weigh several hundred pounds.
Extension springs (the other kind of garage door springs are torsion springs) run alongside the upper garage door tracks (the ones that run parallel to the ceiling) and stretch or “extend” out and back to help lift the garage door. Following are the steps necessary to replace one or more of these springs while taking safety precautions.
Open the garage door completely and lock it in the open position. Enlist the service of one or more friends or family members to help with this task as the door will be very heavy when the extension springs are not helping.
To hold the door open, use C-clamps or locking pliers (think “Vice Grips®”) attached to the garage door track just under the bottom door roller on both sides of the door. As an alternative, you can also block the door open with lumber cut to fit under both sides of the door (use a 2 X 4 or 2 X 6, etc.).
Detach and remove the extension spring that is broken. To do this you will need to first detach one end of the spring from its mounting point at the back of the garage door rail (farthest point away from the garage door opening).
Then detach the lift cable from its connection point on the door rail near the garage door (just above the garage opening) and thread the loose cable around the sheave (pulley) attached to the spring. This will free the extension spring for removal.
This is also a good time to inspect the stationary sheave (pulley) mounted to the garage door rail just above the garage door opening. Check the sheave for wear from the lift cable and for bearing wear. If the fixed sheave has been in place for many years, replacing it now is a great prevent maintenance step since it will be easy to do at this point.
Purchase new garage door extension springs. The easiest way to do this is to take the broken spring to a local garage door dealer or home improvement center so they can help you find an exact match. The new spring’s diameter, length and wire size or “gauge” must be the same as your old spring.
Some springs have a single loop at the end, some have a double loop, and many varieties exist (see picture, above). As a reminder, this would also be a good time to replace the stationary sheave, lift cable, etc., if any of those parts is showing signs of wear.
Go to Part 2 of Garage Door Extension Springs – “In With The New”
Go to Part 3 of Garage Door Extension Springs – Cost and Life Expectancy