How to Replace Garage Door Springs
Your garage door’s springs make it possible to open and close the door easily. Although garage door springs are engineered to last for many cycles, they do eventually wear out.
When a garage door spring breaks, the garage door opener may strain to lift the door or fail to move it at all. When this happens, you’ll need to install a new spring.
If you have the proper tools and feel confident in your understanding of mechanical systems, you can certainly replace broken garage door springs yourself.
However, you’ll need to follow the steps carefully and take precautions to ensure safety. If installing springs on your garage door sounds a bit challenging, you can also contact the professionals at Madison Local Garage Door Pros for assistance.
How to Remove and Install Garage Door Springs
When you’re replacing garage door springs, you’ll need access to:
- 2 winding bars
- a 7/16″ wrench
- a drill with a 9/16″ bit
- 2 vice grips
- a stepladder
You’ll also need to order the right size replacement spring.
Remember that changing garage door springs can be dangerous — use caution at all times. Once you’ve gathered your tools, you can replace your garage door springs by following five steps.
1. Remove the Broken Springs
Climb up on your stepladder and loosen the existing springs using the winding bars and 7/16″ wrench. After unwinding the springs completely, detach them from the central bracket — this is usually done using the 9/16″ drill bit.
Next, use your 7/16” wrench to loosen the screws of both drums and slide the springs off the tube. Be sure to leave the plastic bearing on the tube next to the central bracket when you remove the springs.
2. Get the New Springs in Place
Once you’ve removed the existing springs, get your new springs into position. The red-colored spring should go on the left, and the black-colored one should go on the right when you’re facing the door from the inside. Confirm that your springs are in the right spots by checking that the end of the coil points upward when it’s on the tube. Attach the springs to the central bracket with the 9/16″ drill bit.
Next, use your 7/16” wrench to tighten the right drum to the tube, making sure it sits as close as possible to the endplate. The right drum will be marked with the letter “R.” Insert the cable into its dedicated slot on the drum and wrap it around the drum tightly. To insert the cable into the slot, press your thumb against it where it starts to bend. Ensure that the cable connects to the bottom bracket without interruption, and strum on it to make sure it has enough tension.
Lock the tube against the wall using a vice grip from an upper position and repeat the process with the left drum, except this time, you would wrap the cable around a loose drum (i.e. not yet attached to the tube). This is a crucial step — make sure that you are actively putting tension on the cable by pulling on the drum while tightening it to the tube with the 7/16” wrench.
Finally, go to the first vice grip and place another vice grip next to it, parallel to the ground. Then, with an “arm wrestle” movement, put a bit of a tension on the second vice grip by pulling it downward (~1”-2”) and while holding onto it, unlock the first vice grip (should now have space between the vice grip and the wall) and lock it back to the tube against the wall. Relock the second vice grip against the door from the bottom. Doing so will serve as a safety mechanism while you’re winding the springs.
3. Tighten the New Springs
Now, you can begin winding the new springs using the winding bars. Before you start, make sure the winding direction is consistent with the coil direction. Start with 28 quarter turns for a 7-foot door and 32 quarter turns for an 8-foot door. When you’re done, tighten each spring to the tube with the 7/16″ wrench.
4. Test the Balance of the Door
Release the top vice grip (the one leaning against the wall) and lean against the door, pushing it down while removing the bottom vice grip (the one touching the door). Slowly remove your weight from the door to ensure that it stays down. If the door rises, keep your weight on the door, reattach the vice grips and unwind the springs accordingly — one or two quarter turns will likely be enough.
Raise the door manually to test the balance. It should stay in the place where you leave it. When the door sits fully open, confirm that the cables on either side of the door are tight.
5. Tighten the Cables If Necessary
If the cables need tightening, loosen the springs one-quarter turn, leaving the winding bar against the door. Then, simply loosen the drums, spin the tube to ensure the drums aren’t retightened to the same spot as before and retighten the drums against the tube.
Reach out to Madison Local Garage Door Pros
At Madison Local Garage Door Pros, we’ve been serving residential customers in and around Madison, WI. As a family-owned and operated business, we complete garage door projects with honesty. Our staff members use their expertise and the best materials to finish jobs quickly and proficiently.
How to Replace a Broken Cable
Before you begin replacing a garage door cable on your garage door, make sure you have the necessary tools. It is not possible to predict all repair circumstances.
The following steps must be followed in order to prevent any damage to a door and a person. We highly recommend hiring a professional technician to do this job and do not take any responsibility for any outcome of someone implementing the following steps.
Take it Apart
The garage door size determines the cable size. For the most common residential 7 feet tall door, you will need an 8’6” cable. Sizes of tools used for cable replacement may vary in size, too, so have a combination of sizes available.
You will need locking pliers or a vice grip, a set of cables, wrenches, winding bars, sockets, stepping ladder, ratchet, safety glasses, and gloves. A proper outfit (e.g. gloves, work boots, and safety glasses) is needed, too.
Be cautious of pointed edges on cables to avoid injury.
To begin with, unplug and disengage the garage door opener by pulling on the emergency release cord. There should be a red rope with a handle that is positioned on the top rail (depending on your opener). Doing so will allow you to manually open and close the garage door.
Close the door and make sure it touches the ground evenly. Walk toward the center of the garage door and slacken the set screws on the springs with 1/4 turns. Don’t forget to fully insert the winding bars as well as use both bars at the same time to prevent injury. Do not get in the bars way!
Unwind the spring until all of the tension has been removed. If the door has two springs, do the same with the second spring.
After springs’ tension is removed, take a wrench and slacken the set screws on the cable’s drum at the top left corner of the garage door. Then, remove the cable from its drum. By the bottom of the door, release the cable where it connects to the bottom bracket.
Installing the Cable
Install the new cable onto the bottom bracket. Then, thread the cable up toward the cable’s drum. Make sure the cable is running behind the rollers (between the tracks and rollers). Do this for each side of the door.
Insert the cable into the slots of the drum. Validate that the cable is set properly and is not overlapping. Wind the cable onto the drum, and then slide the drum over toward the bearing plate. Then, turn the drum counterclockwise (right drum-clockwise) until the cable sits tight. Now, tighten the set screws, but do not overdo so.
While holding the cable, use your vice grip pliers on the metal shaft that goes across the entire door (along the wall) to hold it tightly in place. Then, go to the other side of the door and follow the same instructions. After completion, increase the springs’ tension using your winding bars. Remember to only increase the tension at a ¼ turn at a time.
Remove the locking pliers from the metal shaft and check that the garage door is balanced (i.e. stays at the same place where you leave it). Before plugging the opener back in, make sure to manually lift the door all the way up, while checking that there is an even tension between the drums and cables. In case there is no tension on one side, repeat the process again, until you get an equal tension. Engage the door by pulling the emergency release, and then plug the opener back in. Again, make sure there is tension between the drums and cables while the door is fully open.