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Even with great care placed towards door side springs, they still naturally wear out or become damaged over time. If you notice gaps in the springs, or if your garage door has stopped working correctly, it could be time to replace them. One sure sign is a loud snap when the spring breaks , and this can be dangerous if the safety cable isn’t installed correctly. While we recommend that an experienced technician make these repairs, many DIYers tackle the job themselves. Here’s how.

Safety & Supplies

It’s important to have at least one other person with you to help with this repair and work with the door in the open position. You’ll need the following tools for a basic replacement:

  • Replacement garage door extension springs
  • 6′ or 8′ ladder
  • Step stool
  • Duct tape
  • Two C-clamps
  • Pliers
  • Socket wrench
  • Wrenches (a crescent wrench will work if you don’t have the correct sized wrenches)

Garage Door Spring Replacement: Choosing a Spring

There are several ways to ensure you are using the correct replacement springs. If possible, use the suggested replacement parts or equivalent ones from the owner’s manual for your garage door. You can also find proper alternatives by using the height and weight of the door. If the painted color on the end of the broken spring is still visible, you can match this color to a new one. This is not always an exact match, however. To ensure that both sides of the garage door have equal support, both side springs should be replaced at the same time.

How to Replace Garage Door Side Springs

Replacing the side springs on your garage door will take several steps. Be sure to read through these before getting started so you are prepared before getting to work.

Close up side view of garage door coiled spring

Step #1: Open the Garage Door

The side extension springs do much of the heavy lifting when opening your garage door, so the door has to be open and stay that way while replacing the springs. Does your garage door refuse to open? How do you open a garage door with a broken spring? The safest way to do that is to have help. With at least one other person, lift the door from the bottom, and be sure not to jerk the door upwards too quickly, or you would risk bending the panels.

To keep the door open, use a 6′ or 8′ ladder. After disengaging the door from the opener by pulling on the rope hanging near the opener, slowly lower the garage door until it’s resting on top of the ladder. Then use C-clamps in each track of the garage door near the top, just below the last roller. These should be as tight as possible as they give an extra bit of precaution in holding the door open.

Step #2: Remove the Broken Spring

Removing a garage door side spring has a few steps of its own. Before beginning this process, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:

  • Only remove a side spring with the garage door open
  • If possible, move your car out of the garage to give you more space and keep it out of the way of the spring should it snap
  • Replacing both springs at the same time is a good idea even if only one is broken, especially if they are both older. You may also want to inspect the pulleys and replace them at this time as well.

Now that you’re a little more prepared for the next steps, let’s get started.

  • Locate the extension spring. It will have a pulley at one end and an I-bolt at the other. There should be a safety cable running through the spring that is attached very near the I-bolt.
  • Loosen the pulley bolt. Using a piece of masking tape on the rail, mark the general location of the pulley bolt while it’s still in place. This is for reference later. Once this pulley bolt is removed, you can tape it back to the pulley cable so you remember the orientation of these parts for reassembly.
  • Untie the safety cable. Take a picture of how the safety cable is tied to the vertical bracket. This will make it easier when reattaching the safety cable later. Pull this cable through the old spring.
  • Remove the old spring. The pulley bracket should easily come off one end of the spring and you can simply take the spring off the I-bolt to completely remove it.

Step #3: Install the New Spring

With the old, broken spring removed, you can install the new one. The reference points we created during the removal should make this a little easier.

  • Attach the new spring. Hang the new spring from the I-bolt first. Then, hang the pulley bracket from the painted end of the spring and feed the safety cable through the spring and toward the I-bolt.
  • Retie the safety cable. Using the picture you took of the original safety cable knot, tie the new one in the same way. Then pull this knot as tight as possible using a pair of pliers or another tool.
  • Reattach the pulley. Remove the tape holding the pulley wheel to the pulley cable and move both back into position near the spring. Attach the wheel to the spring bracket but the bolt and nut you removed earlier. The pulley cable at the top of the pulley should be to the right of the safety cable. Otherwise, these cables can become tangled and become a safety problem as the door is opened and closed.

Step #4: Adjustment and Inspection

The pulley cables should have tension in them and not hang down. If they do, the cable can come loose from the pulley. There are several ways to adjust the tension on these cables. You should also make sure that there are no additional cables in the way of the pulley or spring that will prevent it from working properly.

During the process of replacing the spring, it’s important to also inspect the other parts of the garage door. If the pulley wheel is worn or broken, it could have contributed to the spring failure and it may cause the new springs to wear prematurely as well. Even steel cables can fray and weaken over time, so you also have to inspect these for precaution.

Garage Door Spring Repair Professionals

Not everyone is prepared to replace garage door side springs, however. If you need them fixed quickly and safely, call Overhead Garage Door today. We provide same-day and emergency services so you wouldn’t worry about your next garage car park.