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Why Does a Garage Door Spring Break?

Causes of a Broken Garage Door Spring

Garage Door Springs / January 9, 2023
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A Broken Garage Door Spring

We service and repair all brands of broken garage door springs including residential and commercial.

Garage door springs, among all other garage door parts, have a limited lifespan.

A broken garage door spring can be a major inconvenience, especially if it happens in the middle of the night or you’re in a hurry to leave. But understanding what causes your garage door spring to break can help you know how to prevent it from happening again and get your door back up and running quickly.

If you experience a broken spring, do not attempt to lift the door manually or with the assistance of the electric opener.


Causes of a Broken Garage Door Spring   

  • Excessive tension on the spring
    One of the most common causes of a broken garage door spring is excessive tension on the spring. When the spring is under too much tension, it can become weak and eventually break. Springs are made from tempered steel, which is designed to handle a certain amount of stress before breaking—but too much stress will lead to breakage eventually. That’s why it’s important to have regular maintenance done on your garage door system.
  • Worn-out springs
    Another common cause of broken garage door springs is simply wear and tear. Over time, the springs will become worn out and eventually break. You can check for signs of wear by inspecting the springs for any cracks or breaks. If you notice any damage, it’s best to replace the springs before they break completely.
  • Corrosion
    Another common cause of broken garage door springs is corrosion. When springs are exposed to moisture, they can rust and break.
  • Sudden impact or force
    Finally, garage door springs can also break if they’re hit with a sudden impact or force. This could happen if something falls on the door or if the door is hit by a car.
  •  Improper installation may also be a factor when it comes to spring breakage. If the wrong type or size of spring was used during installation, it wouldn’t be able to handle normal use without wearing down faster than expected—and potentially leading to sudden failure due to excessive strain on the part itself. It’s best practice for only certified technicians with experience in installing springs properly should do this kind of work; DIYers should always err on the safe side!
  • Door Jams – From time to time dirt, grime and debris can accumulate within the track of the door. A dirty track is a problem for the door rollers and can cause jams. Over time, jams will take places causing added stress to the spring. This added stress  will speed up the wear and tear on the spring itself causing it to break.
  • Extreme temperature changes
    Extreme temperature changes can also cause garage door springs to break. When temperatures fluctuate dramatically, such as during a cold snap or heat wave, it can put stress on the springs and cause them to break.To prevent this from happening, it’s important to keep your garage well-insulated so that temperature changes are less likely to occur. When temperatures rise or drop suddenly, metal components like springs can expand or contract rapidly, causing them to become brittle and prone to breaking. This is especially true if your garage is located in an area with extreme weather conditions or has poor insulation. Installing weatherstripping around the perimeter of your garage door can help keep out some of the cold and heat that can cause damage to your springs.

For More on Carbon’s Impact on Garage Door Springs in the Winter

What happens when a garage door spring breaks?

One or more of the following can be symptoms of a garage door spring that has broken.

  • You’ll hear a loud noise.
  • You’ll see a gap in the springs. The spring will look visibly broken.
  • The door will become crooked when attempting to raise.
  • The garage door could  fall quickly.
  • Most of the time you’ll notice a bend at the top of the door. Attempting to open the door with the operator will cause more damage.
  • There will usually be loose cables.
  • Garage door will only open a few inches.
  • The garage door is heavy to lift.
  • The garage door motor is struggling to lift the door.
  • The garage door will jerk when going up and down.
  • The garage door might go up and down at a slower pace.


What to do if you have a broken garage door spring?

Attempting to open a garage door with a broken spring is not recommended.

Attempting to repair a garage door spring yourself can be dangerous. You should always call a garage door repair professional immediately if you think your garage door spring is about to break or is already broken. 

The mechanism of the garage door will be under extreme tension, which can result in serious injury if handled incorrectly. It’s best to leave this job for a qualified technician who has the necessary tools and experience to perform repairs safely. A professional will also be able to advise you on the best course of action. It’s important to remember that garage door springs are under extreme tension and should be handled with caution at all times. Do not attempt to open a garage door with a broken spring as it may result in serious injury or even death. If your garage door spring is broken, contact a professional to assess and repair the problem. Safety first!


Can I Open My Garage Door with a Broken Spring?

Short Answer: No. 

Although some openers can lift a garage door with a broken spring, you risk damage to the operator and the door. Homeowners often only notice and operate the door with a broken spring for days until something else breaks and the door is not operable.

Refrain from using the garage door opener with a broken or damaged spring. There is a high probability the door will come crashing down. Don’t rely on the safety sensors with a broken garage door spring. 

On a properly balanced garage door, the operator will need to move the door while the springs carry the weight. With a broken spring, the true purpose of a garage door opener is deemed inoperable. 

Attempting to use the garage door opener with a broken or damaged garage door spring can result in the following: 

  1. Broken or burnt-out gears. 
  2. Bent rails.
  3. Broken chains or belts. 
  4. The garage door panels can cave in.
  5. Trolly may sheer off.
  6. J arm bracket might come off.  
  7. The operator may entirely fall down.
  8. If parts break while the door is in motion, it will plunge the door to the ground.

If your garage door has a broken spring, it’s not advisable to open it manually. Exercise extreme caution if attempting to do so!

Begin by unplugging the garage door opener and pulling the emergency release cord (ERC).

Disengage  the door from the opener and carefully lift it up from the center, taking care not to bend the panels or put your fingers between them. Note that some doors may be too heavy for manual lifting. Be aware that the door will be quite heavy, so take necessary precautions beforehand. 


Once the door is open, it is now free from the motor and has a broken spring, which will probably slam down. You’ll need to secure the door up with something. This can be very dangerous. 

For More on Can I Open a Garage Door with a Broken Spring? 


How to avoid broken spring problems?

1. Regularly check the tension on your garage door springs and have a professional adjust it if necessary.

2. Make sure to use weatherstripping around the perimeter of your garage door to help protect against extreme temperature changes.

3. Install any new springs or replace ones that are worn out; improper installation can cause problems later on. Use an experienced technician. 

4. If you ever notice a loud noise coming from your garage door system, immediately stop using it until you’ve had a chance to call in an expert to make sure everything is working properly.

5. Have your garage door springs inspected regularly by a professional to make sure they are in good working condition.

6. Although WD-40 has numerous practical uses, it is advisable to avoid using it on your garage door’s springs. To ensure the longevity of your garage door springs over the years, it is best to lubricate them with either white lithium or silicone-based spray annually, applying it 1-2 times.

To read more on how to maintain your garage door springs follow the link below.

Maintaining Garage Door Springs 

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your garage door springs last for as long as possible—and don’t cause any unexpected breakages!Taking steps now will help you avoid any future headaches caused by a broken garage door spring.

However, if the worst does happen and your spring does break, it’s important to call an expert right away to have it replaced or repaired. While this may seem like an inconvenience, it’s much better than having to deal with a broken spring suddenly dropping down and causing damage to both your car and the surrounding area.

Do you need our services?

Overhead Door Company of Huntsville/North Alabama™ is the number-one choice for garage door spring repairs and installations in the Huntsville/Madison/Athens Metro Areas. We offer a wide range of services, including broken spring repair, replacing existing broken springs, and spring tension adjustments.

Our team has been in service since 1968. Our attention to detail makes us the top choice regarding garage door repairs, service, and installations. We strive to provide high-quality products and services at a fair price, ensuring our customers get the best value for their money. With our experienced team of service professionals, we guarantee an efficient and timely repair or installation experience. Contact us today for all your garage door spring needs!

We offer free pricing right over the phone for garage door spring replacement.

For other issues with your garage door, please visit our Troubleshooting Guide.

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