Garage Door Spring Replacement: A Comprehensive Guide

Replacing garage door springs can be a daunting task, but with the right knowledge and tools, it can be a manageable and rewarding project. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about garage door spring replacement, including identifying different types of springs, understanding the risks involved, and providing a step-by-step replacement process.

Understanding Garage Door Springs

Garage door springs are vital components that bear the weight of the door, making it possible to open and close with ease. There are two main types of garage door springs: torsion springs and extension springs.

Torsion Springs

Torsion springs are mounted above the garage door opening and are wound tightly to create torque. When the door is operated, the springs unwind, lifting the door smoothly. These springs are typically more durable and have a longer lifespan than extension springs.

Extension Springs

Extension springs are located on either side of the door, running parallel to the horizontal tracks. They stretch and contract to counterbalance the weight of the door. Although less expensive than torsion springs, they tend to wear out faster and may require more frequent replacement.

Signs Your Garage Door Springs Need Replacement

Identifying when your garage door springs need replacement is crucial for maintaining a functional and safe garage door. Here are some common signs that indicate your springs may be failing:

  • Difficulty Opening or Closing: If the door struggles to open or close, the springs may be losing tension.
  • Visible Gaps or Stretched Springs: Inspect the springs for any visible gaps or stretching.
  • Unusual Noises: Squeaking, grinding, or snapping sounds can indicate worn-out springs.
  • Door Imbalance: If one side of the door appears higher than the other, it may signal a broken spring.
  • Slow Response Time: A delay in the door’s movement can also be a sign of spring issues.

Safety Precautions Before Replacing Garage Door Springs

Before attempting to replace garage door springs, it is essential to prioritize safety. Here are some key safety precautions:

  • Disconnect the Opener: Ensure the garage door opener is disconnected to prevent accidental activation.
  • Use Safety Gear: Wear safety glasses and gloves to protect against potential injuries.
  • Secure the Door: Clamp the door to the track to prevent it from opening unexpectedly.
  • Release Tension: Carefully release the tension in the springs before starting the replacement process.

Tools and Materials Needed

Gathering the necessary tools and materials beforehand will streamline the replacement process. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Replacement springs (ensure they match the specifications of your old springs)
  • Winding bars (for torsion springs)
  • Clamps
  • Wrenches and sockets
  • Safety glasses and gloves
  • Ladder
  • Tape measure
  • Marker

Step-by-Step Guide to Replacing Garage Door Springs

1. Identify the Type of Springs

First, determine whether you have torsion or extension springs. This will dictate the replacement process.

2. Release Tension in the Springs

For torsion springs:

  • Insert a winding bar into the winding cone.
  • Loosen the set screws with a wrench.
  • Slowly unwind the spring, one-quarter turn at a time, using the winding bars.

For extension springs:

  • Open the garage door fully to release most of the tension.
  • Secure the door with clamps to prevent it from closing.
  • Disconnect the safety cables and remove the springs.

3. Remove the Old Springs

For torsion springs:

  • Remove the bolts securing the torsion cones to the bracket.
  • Slide the springs off the torsion tube.

For extension springs:

  • Unhook the springs from the track hanger and the brackets.

4. Install the New Springs

For torsion springs:

  • Slide the new springs onto the torsion tube.
  • Reattach the torsion cones to the bracket and secure with bolts.
  • Wind the springs using winding bars, ensuring equal tension on both sides.

For extension springs:

  • Attach the springs to the track hanger and the brackets.
  • Reconnect the safety cables.

5. Test the Door

  • Carefully remove the clamps and reconnect the garage door opener.
  • Test the door by opening and closing it several times to ensure smooth operation.
  • Make any necessary adjustments to balance the door.

Maintenance Tips for Garage Door Springs

Regular maintenance can extend the life of your garage door springs and ensure safe operation. Here are some tips:

  • Lubricate the Springs: Apply a silicone-based lubricant to the springs every six months to reduce friction.
  • Inspect Regularly: Check the springs for signs of wear or damage and address issues promptly.
  • Balance Test: Perform a balance test by disconnecting the opener and manually lifting the door. It should stay open about three to four feet above the ground. If it doesn’t, the springs may need adjustment or replacement.

When to Call a Professional

While many homeowners can handle garage door spring replacement, some situations require professional assistance:

  • Lack of Tools or Experience: If you lack the necessary tools or are uncomfortable performing the replacement, hire a professional.
  • Complex Systems: Some garage doors have complex spring systems that are best handled by experts.
  • Safety Concerns: If you are concerned about the safety risks, it is advisable to seek professional help.

FAQs About Garage Door Spring Replacement

Can I replace the garage door spring myself?

Yes, you can replace the garage door spring yourself if you have the necessary tools, skills, and safety knowledge. However, it is important to understand the risks involved. Garage door springs are under high tension and can cause serious injury if not handled properly. If you are not confident in your ability to safely replace the springs, it is advisable to hire a professional.

How much does a spring cost for a garage door?

The cost of a garage door spring varies depending on the type and size of the spring. On average, torsion springs cost between $30 to $100 each, while extension springs range from $15 to $45 each. These prices do not include labor costs if you decide to hire a professional, which can add another $100 to $200 to the total cost.

How long do garage springs last?

Garage door springs typically last between 7 to 12 years, depending on their usage and maintenance. Most springs are rated for about 10,000 cycles, with one cycle being one full opening and closing of the garage door. Regular maintenance, such as lubrication and balance checks, can help extend the lifespan of the springs.

How do I know what spring to buy for my garage door?

To determine the correct spring for your garage door, you need to identify whether you have torsion or extension springs and then gather specific measurements:
Torsion Springs: Measure the wire diameter, inside diameter, and length of the spring. Also, note the direction of the wind (left or right).
Extension Springs: Measure the length of the spring when it is relaxed (not under tension), the wire diameter, and the overall diameter of the coils.
If you are unsure, consult your garage door manufacturer’s specifications or contact a professional for assistance.

How to calculate garage door spring size?

To calculate the correct size for your garage door spring, follow these steps:
Measure the Spring Length: Measure the total length of the spring when it is unwound or in a relaxed state.
Determine the Wire Diameter: Measure the thickness of the wire by using a caliper or measure ten coils and divide by ten.
Measure the Inside Diameter: Measure the inside diameter of the spring.
Determine the Wind Direction: Check whether the spring is wound in a left-hand or right-hand direction.
For torsion springs, you will also need to know the door’s weight and the height to determine the correct spring size. Many online calculators are available that can assist you with these measurements if you input the necessary data.


Replacing garage door springs is a critical task that ensures the smooth operation and safety of your garage door. By understanding the types of springs, recognizing the signs of wear, following safety precautions, and adhering to a step-by-step replacement guide, you can successfully complete this project. Regular maintenance and timely replacement of springs will keep your garage door functioning optimally for years to come.