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What Happens When A Garage Door Spring Breaks?

Here’s a little myth-busting from inside the garage. That garage door opener of yours? It really isn’t opening anything.


Garage doors are heavy. That noisy chain (or quiet belt or fancy screw) would be out of luck without a torsion spring.


Typically running horizontally above the door on the inside of the garage, torsion springs are heavy-gauge steel wire coils that generate torque to counterbalance the garage door’s weight. Winding or unwinding as the door opens or closes, torsion springs ensure smooth operation when the door is in motion.


Unfortunately, even the best springs break. Reasons why garage door springs break are varied and include wear and tear, excessive rust, poor maintenance, or use of the wrong part. How often do garage door springs break? That depends on quality, use patterns, climate and maintenance, but a rule of thumb is 10,000 cycles — or about seven years averaging four uses per day.


Here’s a rundown of indications your spring may be broken and some notes on what to do when a garage door spring breaks.


Signs You Have a Broken Garage Door Spring


Descriptions about what happens when a garage door spring breaks can sound like cartoon sound effects. Some folks say it sound like a loud bang, snap or pop or like a firecracker going off. Then there are the shotgun blast and explosion descriptions.


Regardless of the description, if you’re home when a spring lets go, you’ll likely hear something. If you’re not home, you’ll discover it by noticing one of the following:


  • The spring in two or more pieces

  • The opener motor runs but the door isn’t moving

  • Loose cables or pulleys

  • The door is unable to stay up or falling uncontrollably when closing


What to Do If Your Garage Door Spring Breaks


Most homeowners, especially where garages are attached to the house, use their garage doors frequently. Whether to gain access to your vehicles or get out of the house, it’s important to know what to do if your garage door spring breaks.


Step 1: Contact a specialist at CMB Garage Doors to arrange an inspection of your door and to repair your spring. We’re well versed in what causes garage door springs to break and can advise on appropriate maintenance practices to ensure the longevity of replacement springs.


Step 2: If you need to open the door before CMB arrives, proceed carefully. There is substantial risk for injury when trying to open a garage door without a spring. It is heavy and potentially not balanced, and other parts of the system may have been damaged by the breaking spring.


How to Open a Garage Door When a Spring Breaks


We don’t recommend opening a door when the spring is broken. However, most garage doors can be opened manually. Here’s how to open your garage door when the spring breaks:


  1. Detach the door from the opener by pulling the rope handle hanging from the motor, disengaging the mechanism.

  2. With a helper, lift the door (with your legs, not your back), being careful not to pinch fingers between panels or drop the door on anybody’s feet.

  3. Raise the door in a controlled manner until it settles on the horizontal (overhead) tracks.


Go With the Pros


Even if you’re a DIY master, expert help is the smart and safe move. CMB services are reasonably priced, will keep you safe and will be performed quickly and correctly the first time. Contact us today to get your door back in motion.

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