How To Tell When Your Garage Door Springs Are Failing

Posted on: 9 March 2016

The average set of garage door extension and tension springs are designed to last for 10,000 and 20,000 cycles, respectively. However, it's tough to keep track of how many cycles your garage door springs have gone through, making preemptive repairs and replacement a crucial part of keeping your garage door safe and functional. The following illustrates some of the warning signs of impending garage door spring failure and the preventative steps you can take before a garage door spring failure occurs.

Testing for Weakened Garage Door Springs

With the average 16-feet-wide by 7-feet-high garage door weighing in at approximately 280 pounds, the garage door springs take on the important role of supporting this weight whenever the door is opened. Over time, however, the cumulative stresses of everyday use can fatigue the springs until they become unable to fully support the door's entire weight.

Weakened garage door springs can not only unbalance the garage door itself, but they can also place the garage door opener under unnecessary stress as it attempts to open and close the door. This can lead to a shorter life expectancy for your opener and additional wear and tear on other garage door components.

You can check for weakened garage door springs with a simple test. First, disconnect the garage door opener trolley using the emergency release cord. Next, physically lift the garage door by a couple of feet and let it go. If the garage door springs are still in good condition, they should be able to keep the door in place. Weak garage door springs will allow the door to sag as soon as it's let go.

Watching for Rust and Corrosion

Rust and corrosion is the enemy of all things metal and your garage door springs are no exception. In fact, rust and corrosion is one of the common reasons why garage door springs typically fail over time. As surface rust eats away at the underlying metal, the spring becomes more susceptible to fracturing under tension. Not only does this shorten your garage door springs' life expectancy, but it can also place anyone near the spring at risk of severe injury if and when the spring suddenly snaps.

It's important to give your garage door springs and other door components a thorough visual inspection on an annual basis. If you happen to see surface rust or other signs of corrosion on the garage door springs, then you'll want to have an experienced technician replace the springs as soon as possible. After having your new springs installed, you can prevent rust and corrosion simply by keeping the springs properly lubricated. A light coating of white lithium grease or lightweight motor oil can help block moisture and other corrosive elements from landing on the springs' surface while minimizing friction.

Listening Out for Strange Noises

Although it's not out of the ordinary to hear a little noise from your garage door, excess popping, chattering or creaking from the garage door springs is often a sign that your springs need replacement soon. There are plenty of reasons why your garage doors springs can suddenly make themselves heard. In most cases, fatigued or improperly installed springs can chatter and creak. Surface rust can also cause the springs to make excessive noise.

Adding extra lubricant to those chatty garage door springs can help calm things down temporarily, but it's likely that the noise will return over time. As a result, a complete replacement of your garage door springs is usually the best way to permanently take care of the problem.

By identifying the above common signs of impending garage door spring failure, you can take proactive steps to combat these problems and keep your garage door operating smoothly and safely. For more information, consider websites like