Garage Door Care 101: Replacing Extension Springs

Extension springs are essential components that help support most of your garage door's weight. When these springs gradually wear out due to years of continuous use, it becomes harder to open and close your garage door. Most garage door extension springs must be replaced within 10,000 cycles or 7 years of use.

Fortunately, garage door extension springs aren't that difficult to replace on your own. The following offers an in-depth guide for garage door spring repair.

Prepare for the Job

Before you can replace your garage door's extension springs, you'll need to make a few important preparations. If you have a vehicle in your garage, you might want to move it into the driveway or park it on the street. Next, you'll need to disconnect your garage door opener from the garage door itself by pulling the emergency release handle on the opener trolley.

Afterwards, you'll need to manually open your garage door and rest it on a step ladder. This will help release tension from the extension spring. Once the door is situated on the step ladder, you'll need to attach C-clamps underneath the last roller on each side of the garage door tracks. You can remove the ladder once the door is clamped in place.

Don't forget that safety should always be your first and foremost consideration when replacing extension springs. During the replacement, you should always wear to proper protective gear (protective glasses, gloves, etc.) and exercise extreme caution to avoid serious injury.

Remove the Old Extension Spring

The next step in the removal process involves disconnecting the extension spring's safety cable. Take a piece of blue painter's tape and place it on the track below the extension spring pulley. Next, locate the exact center of the pulley bolt and mark its location on the piece of tape. This is so you can properly align the pulley later on.

Next, you'll want to remove the safety cable from the vertical support bracket. It's a good idea to take pictures of how the cable connects to the bracket, so you'll have an immediate reference come time for re-installation.

For the next step, you'll need to locate the S-hook on the horizontal support bracket that holds the pulley cable in place. Use a grease pen to mark where the S-hook is attached and remove it from the bracket. With the pulley cable loose, use another piece of painter's tape to hold the pulley cable to the pulley wheel and use a wrench to loosen and disconnect the pulley from the pulley fork.

Finally, you can unhook the extension spring from the pulley fork. All that's left is to unhook the other end from the eye bolt on the vertical support bracket and slip the spring off the safety cable.

Installing the New Extension Spring

Your new garage door extension springs will come color coded according to the amount of weight the springs can withstand. Your garage door manufacturer should have this information on hand. For custom garage door installations, you'll need to weigh the garage door before installing the new springs.

The color coded end attaches to the pulley fork, while the black end goes on the eye bolt on the vertical support bracket. Don't forget to thread the safety cable through the new spring and attach the cable onto the bracket, using the reference pictures you took earlier as a visual aid.

Once the new spring is attached to the pulley fork, reconnect the pulley fork to the pulley. Make sure the pulley cable is routed properly through the pulley and reattach the S-hook to the horizontal support bracket where you made your mark previously.

Making Adjustments

To ensure good tension on the extension spring, you'll need to make sure the center of the pulley bolt is lined up with the mark you previously made on the painter's tape. If you have trouble making the pulley bolt line up with the mark, you can adjust the spring's tension by shifting the S-hook from one hole on the horizontal support bracket to another.

When you're finished, place the step ladder back underneath the garage door and remove the C-clamps from the tracks. Before reconnecting the garage door opener, you'll want to make sure the garage door can open and close properly.