Exterior Garages

6 Things to Know Before You Replace a Garage Door Spring

Installing garage door springs can be a hazardous DIY project, so homeowners will want to practice safety and caution when getting their garage door back into shape.
Timothy Dale Avatar
5 Things to Know Before You Replace a Garage Door Spring

Photo: istockphoto.com

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›

A garage door spring is something most homeowners never think about—until it stops working and they’re stuck in the garage with a door that won’t open and a car that can’t get them to work.

When a homeowner is faced with this snag, there are two options: calling a pro or replacing the garage door spring themselves. Professional garage door spring replacement costs between $150 and $350, while undertaking the replacement as a DIY project means the homeowner will only have to pay for parts. While homeowners can save a few bucks replacing garage door springs themselves, leaving the job to a pro will save the homeowner from the hazards that come with this task, particularly if they don’t have DIY experience in this area.

For homeowners who have an interest in replacing garage door springs on their own, there are certain things to consider. Before they decide whether to head to the hardware store or call a professional, they can use these tips to help them make a decision.

1. There are two different types of garage door springs.

Before attempting to replace a garage door spring, homeowners will need to know what type of spring their garage door uses. These springs fall into two main categories: extension springs and torsion springs.

Extension springs are long, skinny springs that run parallel to the door’s horizontal tracks. This type of spring stores energy by extending or stretching when the door is moved. Extension springs can be open-looped, double-looped, or clipped-end.

  • Open-looped extension springs are the weakest style of extension spring and rely on an open wire at the end. If this wire is broken, the entire spring needs to be replaced— even if the wire is the only part of the mechanism that is faulty.
  • Double-looped extension springs are stronger than open-looped springs, featuring two coils at the end of the spring that connect to the pulley and eyebolt.
  • Clipped-end extension springs are the most robust of the three types of springs. They tend to last longer and are frequently used on garage doors that weigh more than 200 pounds due to their durability and strength.

Torsion springs are broad and can be found on a metal shaft directly above the door opening. Aluminum drums are placed on either end of the metal shaft and the springs are wound to a specific torsion setting in relation to the assembly. A garage door can have between one and four torsion springs, depending on the size, weight, and strength of the door. They can be standard, early-set, steel rolling-door, or torque-master springs.

  • Standard torsion springs are frequently found on residential garage doors, with lighter doors only requiring one spring for effective operation.
  • Early-set torsion springs are similar to standard torsion springs, except that they are mounted in the middle of the torsion shaft.
  • Steel rolling-door torsion springs are typically seen in commercial and industrial buildings. These springs are contained within the torsion barrel.
  • Torque-master torsion springs are enclosed in the torsion shaft and are held in place by a winding cone that sits at the end of each torsion rod.

Homeowners will likely find that their garage door has extension springs or standard or early-set torsion springs. Steel rolling-door and torque-master springs tend to be used only in commercial and industrial applications with much heavier garage doors.


Replace a Garage Door Spring: Extension Garage Door Springs
Photo: istockphoto.com

2. There are several common signs of failing garage door springs to be aware of.

Even the best garage doors can have issues from time to time. When a garage door stops working correctly, homeowners can become quickly frustrated—especially if they don’t know what is causing the garage door to stop working properly. When it comes to issues with garage door springs, homeowners can watch out for several signs.

  • A loud snapping noise. This signals a broken garage door spring. The noise can be loud and sudden, almost like a car backfiring or a gunshot. 
  • The door won’t lift. When the garage door spring is worn out, it becomes much harder to lift the garage door. Homeowners may hear the door-opening mechanism straining when activated, which is a sign that it’s time to replace the door springs.
  • The door closes too fast. If a garage door spring breaks when the door is open, the door is likely to close suddenly, or even violently. 
  • The door is uneven. If one spring has broken, the garage door may appear uneven. Even if the spring isn’t the cause, it’s wise for a homeowner to get their garage door inspected if they notice this sign.
  • The springs are stretched out. Homeowners may notice that the garage door springs appear to be stretched out and not coiled as tightly as they should be. This is a sure sign that the springs are on their last legs.
  • The garage door won’t open. If the springs have broken completely, homeowners will notice that their garage door won’t open at all, which could leave them stranded at home with no usable transportation.

Homeowners who notice any of these signs will want to plan on replacing their garage door springs as soon as possible to avoid injuries. While some garage door issues can be remedied by using one of the best garage door lubricants, others are more complex and can become dangerous quickly. Garage door spring repair isn’t possible, and for that reason, the entire spring will need to be replaced.

4. DIY garage door spring replacement is possible, but proceed with care and caution.

Replacing a garage door spring falls into two categories of hazard severity depending on whether the springs are extension springs or torsion springs.

  • Extension springs can be replaced relatively easily by a DIYer with basic knowledge of garage doors. The dangers to be aware of during this replacement include falling garage doors, activated openers during replacement, and minor cuts due to old or rusted metal.
  • Torsion springs are heavy metal springs that are under considerable tension. Working with springs under tension can pose serious hazards, including flying metal if a winding cone or spring breaks, risk of minor to severe cuts, falling garage doors, and activated openers during replacement.

Provided the homeowner knows the type of spring they need and has taken measurements, finding a replacement shouldn’t be difficult. Homeowners can purchase torsion and extension springs online or find them at home improvement stores such as The Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Ace Hardware. 

  • Buy garage door springs at Amazon.

While it is possible for a homeowner to replace either type of garage door spring by themselves, torsion spring replacements are best left to one of the best garage door installation companies due to the hazards associated with this type of spring.

5. If in doubt, hire a pro.

There are several DIY-friendly garage door repairs, such as lubricating a garage door, so homeowners may believe garage door springs replacement is an easy DIY project. However, it can be hazardous for several reasons. First, garage doors are extremely heavy. If the springs have broken, the door is liable to come crashing down suddenly, potentially causing serious injuries. In addition, DIYers may sustain cuts when working with old or rusty metal garage doors, which could require a trip to urgent care for a tetanus shot or stitches. Homeowners who have the right tools and understand how garage doors work can certainly attempt to fix their door themselves, but many homeowners opt to pay for a professional to perform the repair.

Another benefit of paying a pro’s garage door repair cost is that they will know the type of garage door spring needed and can recommend the best options for the homeowner’s budget. A pro will likely carry the exact spring needed and will be able to answer any questions a homeowner has before they begin the project. For those looking to hire a company for garage spring replacement, it is always better to have the professionals bring their own materials so that there is no discrepancy with garage door replacement parts once they are on-site.

5. Learn how to replace extension garage door springs.

Extension spring replacement is a relatively simple and safe task that doesn’t involve the dangers of managing spring tension. Homeowners who want to change out garage door springs themselves can follow several steps that will walk them through how to replace an extension garage door spring.

Prepare the garage door

First, homeowners will want to open the garage door to remove all spring tension and clamp it in place, then disconnect the garage door opener. They can then use a piece of tape to mark the current placement of the pulley so it can be reinstalled at the same place. Finally, the homeowner will need to disconnect the spring from the track bracket and the spring pulley, threading a safety cable through the spring to hold it in place before disconnecting the safety cable from the bracket and removing the old spring.

Identify the type of spring and purchase a replacement 

Next, homeowners will need to determine what type of spring they need. Extension springs are color-coded with a repeating pattern that indicates the amount of weight they can lift. Homeowners can simply reference the color of the current spring to figure out which spring to purchase.

Garage Spring Color

Maximum Weight


100 pounds


110 pounds


120 pounds


130 pounds


140 pounds


150 pounds


160 pounds


170 pounds


180 pounds

Light blue

190 pounds

Install the new spring 

Once the homeowner has a replacement spring, they can thread the safety cable through and attach it to the track bracket. Then, they can reattach the safety cable and the pulley, ensuring that the wire from the pulley is kept away from the safety cable. Next, they’ll use the piece of tape that they attached before removing the pulley to make sure that the pulley is installed in the correct location. Finally, they can remove the clamps and connect the garage door opener.

Test the door 

Once the new spring is in place, homeowners will need to make sure that the garage door works. If the door doesn’t close all the way, or it closes too quickly, they’ll want to inspect the location of the pulley and the extension spring hardware, adjusting as necessary. If all else fails, it’s advisable to hire a pro.

Replace a Garage Door Spring: Torsion Garage Door Springs
Photo: istockphoto.com

6. Learn how to replace torsion garage door springs.

While replacing extension garage door springs can be doable for experienced DIYers, replacing torsion springs is much more difficult and potentially dangerous. Homeowners will only want to attempt to replace garage door springs of this type themselves if they have extensive DIY experience. If in doubt, it’s recommended that a homeowner leave the job to a pro.

Prepare the garage door

Homeowners can prepare the garage door by unplugging the opener and clamping the garage door to the track so that the door cannot open when the tension is released on the springs. Then, they’ll want to climb up on a sturdy ladder beside the winding cone at the end of the spring and Insert a winding bar into the winding cone to hold the spring in place.

  •  Buy garage door winding bars at Amazon.

The homeowner can test the force that they’ll be working with by pushing the winding bar up one quarter turn and then bringing it back down. Once satisfied with the grip on the winding bar, the homeowner will want to loosen the screw set, keeping one bar in the cone at all times to prevent it from rapidly unwinding and causing potential injury.

Unwind the spring

The next step is for the homeowner to unwind the spring by lowering the winding bar to the top of the garage door, then inserting a second winding bar. Then, they’ll remove the first winding bar and lower the second bar to the top of the garage door before inserting the first winding bar into the next hole. They’ll need to repeat these steps until the spring is completely unwound.

Remove and measure the spring

Once the spring is unwound, the homeowner will want to loosen and remove the torsion hardware that secures the center stationary torsion cones to the spring bracket. They’ll then remove the springs, cables, and cable drums. For torsion springs, homeowners will need to measure the wire size, the inside diameter of the spring, and the spring length before determining the winding orientation.

Purchase and install a replacement spring

After the spring has been removed, and a new one has been purchased, the homeowner will want to slide the new left spring onto the torsion tube with the stationary cone facing the center bracket, then reinstall the cable drum. Then, they’ll install the center bearing and the new right spring and secure the cones before threading the cables and tightening the drums. Homeowners will want to make sure that the tension is equal on both sides to prevent the door from opening unevenly. 

Using the winding bars, the homeowner can then begin winding the spring in the opposite direction as it was unwound. They’ll want to ensure that at least one winding bar is in the winding cone at all times. Homeowners will need to wind the spring as many turns as is recommended by the supplier. Then, using a hammer, they’ll tap the winding bar to stretch the spring out ¼ inch and tighten the set screws on the winding cone. Finally, they’ll lubricate the spring with garage door lubricant, then remove the clamp from the garage door.

Test the spring

Once the new spring is in place, the homeowner will want to test it by lifting the garage door about 3 feet. If the door remains in place, the replacement was a success. If the door falls, the homeowner will need to tighten the spring by a quarter turn until it stays open on its own. If the door opens, they’ll need to loosen the spring by a quarter turn until it remains in place. And if the door isn’t functioning properly and the homeowner can’t figure out why, it’s best for them to hire a pro.