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How to Adjust Garage Door Springs: A Simple Guide

December 20, 2023

Think about it: a garage door is more than just a door; it's a safety shield for your home. But when the garage door springs go bad, you could be facing a hefty bill. Imagine your garage door crashing down on your car's bumper – that's a repair cost you don't want.

Ready to tackle this DIY project? Just a heads-up: garage door springs are tricky and potentially dangerous. They're loaded with tension and one wrong move can lead to serious injuries, or worse, a broken door.

If you're not brimming with confidence, it's smarter to opt for professional garage door spring repair. These experts have the right tools and know how to handle the job safely and effectively. This guide's here to help, but remember, sometimes the best DIY is knowing when to hand it over to the experts for your safety and peace of mind.

Figuring Out Your Garage Door Problem: Should You Adjust the Garage Door Spring?

Figuring Out Your Garage Door Problem: Should You Adjust the Garage Door Spring?

When it comes to your garage door, knowing the signs of a broken spring can save you from inconvenience and potential hazards. Here's a quick rundown of what to look out for:

  • Unusual Noises: If you hear a loud bang or creaking sounds when the door moves, it might indicate a spring issue.
  • Difficulty in Opening: A door that's hard to lift could mean the springs aren’t doing their job.
  • Visible Damage: Check the springs for any signs of wear, rust, or gaps.
  • Door Closes Too Quickly: If your door slams shut, the springs might be failing.
  • Uneven Movement: Does your garage door seem lopsided or uneven when opening or closing? That's a classic sign of spring trouble.

Spotting these early warning signs can be key to addressing spring issues before they worsen.

Now that you're familiar with the symptoms of faulty garage door springs, it's important to understand the different types available. This knowledge will help you identify the right kind of spring for your garage door if you need a replacement or adjustment.

How to Prepare for the Garage Door Springs Adjustment

How to Prepare for the Garage Door Springs Adjustment

Identify the Type of Springs

Garage door springs are crucial for the safe and efficient operation of your garage door, coming in two main types: torsion springs and extension springs.

  • Torsion Springs: Located above the door, these springs are wound tightly to store energy. They unwind as the door closes and wind up when opened, providing balance and a smoother operation.
  • Extension (Side-Mounted) Springs: Installed along the door tracks, these springs stretch to lift the door. They extend when the door closes and contract when opened, but typically have a shorter lifespan than torsion springs.

Assess the Problem

As soon as you notice signs of malfunction in your garage door, it's important to determine the specific type of spring repair it needs:

  • Decreasing tension: If your garage door isn't closing fully, is difficult to close, or opens too quickly, you may need to increase the tension on the garage door springs.
  • Increasing tension: If the garage door is hard to open or closes too quickly, you may need to decrease the spring tension.
  • Adjusting tension on one side: If your garage door is closing unevenly, you may need to adjust the spring tension on one side of the door.

Gather Tools and Materials

Before you begin adjusting garage door springs, you’ll need to gather the following tools and materials:

  • Gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Hard hat
  • Vice grips
  • Two winding bars (16–18 inches long)
  • 8-inch wrench
  • Hammer

Please note: The final step before you begin adjusting your garage door springs is to measure the diameter of the holes in the winding cone. This will help you select the correct size of bar or rod to use.

How to Adjust Side-Mounted Springs

How to Adjust Side-Mounted Springs

Discover the key steps to fine-tune the performance of your side-mounted springs for your garage door. Whether you need to increase or decrease tension, our guide will walk you through the process. Get ready to ensure your garage door operates smoothly and efficiently. Let's dive in and make those adjustments!

Step 1: Open and Secure the Garage Door

Before embarking on any spring adjustments, ensure your garage door is fully opened. To release the spring tension, open the door until it reaches the stop bolt to prevent further movement. For automatic garage doors, follow these additional steps:

  • Open the door.
  • Unplug the opener to prevent unintended activation.
  • Disengage the door from the opener by pulling the emergency release cord down and back until the spring locks into the open position.
  • Secure the door in place using a C-clamp positioned below the bottom roller or utilize two locking pliers – one on each track, beneath the bottom rollers – to prevent accidental movement while you make adjustments.

Step 2: Remove the Spring Hook

Locate the spring hook, which connects the spring to the track hanger. Typically, it’s held in place with a nut. Utilize an adjustable wrench to remove the nut from the backside of the bracket. Once the spring is devoid of tension, detach it from the track hanger. This will permit you to relocate the hook to a lower or higher hole for tension adjustment.

Step 3: Adjust the Tension

To attain the correct tension, make one-hole adjustments to the spring at a time. If your door was initially balanced, adjust both springs evenly, one at a time. After relocating the hook to its new position, reattach the nut on the backside of the bracket and use the wrench to secure the hook in place.

  • To decrease tension (e.g., if the door doesn't close completely or opens too rapidly), attach the spring to a lower hole on the track hanger. This will shorten the spring, decreasing tension.
  • To increase tension (e.g., if the door is challenging to open or closes too quickly), attach the spring to a higher hole on the track hanger. This will elongate the spring, increasing tension.
  • If you need to rectify uneven closing by adjusting the tension on one side, focus on the side with the gap by attaching it to a lower hole on the track hanger.

Step 4: Test the Door for Functionality and Balance

Test the Door for Functionality and Balance

After each one-hole adjustment, unclamp the door and lower it to evaluate its performance. If the door still closes too rapidly, too slowly, or unevenly, make another single-hole adjustment until it’s balanced and functions seamlessly.

Step 5: Adjust the Cable for Minor Tension Adjustments

Inside the spring, there’s a cable that may also be connected to a hook or the track. You can adjust this cable by tightening or loosening the knot or clamp that holds it in place. Shorten the cable to slightly increase tension or lengthen it to decrease tension. If the cable is secured with an S-hook, move the hook to a higher hole for more tension or a lower hole for less tension.

Step 6: Test the Door Again

Test your garage door to ensure it opens and closes smoothly and is well-balanced without any gaps. Continue making minor cable adjustments as necessary until the door operates flawlessly. Once you’re content with the adjustments, remove any clamps or locking pliers used to secure the door. Pull the emergency release cord to release the spring, reconnect the door to the opener, and plug in your automatic garage door opener.

How to Adjust Torsion Springs

How to Adjust Torsion Springs

Unlock the secrets of perfecting your garage door's performance by learning how to adjust torsion springs. Whether it's increasing or reducing tension, this guide has you covered. Don't wait – get ready to fine-tune your door's balance and operation. Let's start making those adjustments today!

Step 1: Secure the Garage Door and Prepare

Before starting, make sure the garage door is fully closed, and if you have an automatic opener, unplug it. Safety is paramount when working with torsion springs, and having the door down is crucial for this task. Make sure your garage is well-lit, and you have an emergency exit plan. Keep all the necessary tools within reach. To prevent any accidental openings, use a C-clamp or locking pliers on the track just above the bottom roller to secure the door.

Step 2: Locate the Winding Cone

Identify the winding cone attached to the torsion spring. Typically, you'll find the winding cone at the spring's end, featuring four evenly spaced holes and two set screws to keep the spring in place on the center shaft.

Step 3: Loosen the Set Screws

Insert a winding bar into the bottom hole of the winding cone to immobilize it while you loosen the set screws. Check for any flattened or depressed areas on the shaft where the screws should sit. Make sure you return the screws to the same flats when you've completed your adjustments for a secure fit.

Step 4: Prepare for Tension Adjustment

Get ready to adjust the tension by inserting the winding bars into two consecutive holes on the winding cone. Position yourself to the side to stay safe in case of a spring break. Be prepared to react quickly if necessary.

Step 5: Fine-Tune the Tension

Modify the tension by placing the bars into two successive holes on the winding cone. Rotate the cone in 1/4 turn increments, equivalent to a 90-degree turn of the winding bars.

To increase tension for a door that's hard to open or closes too quickly, wind the cone up in the same direction as the garage door cable runs through the pulley.

To decrease tension for a door that doesn't close fully, is tough to shut, or opens too quickly, wind the cone down in the opposite direction of the cable's path.

Rotate the cone in 1/4 increments (90-degree turns), test the door after each adjustment, and repeat the process until you attain the desired tension.

Step 6: Stretch the Spring

Keep the bottom winding bar in place and remove the second bar. Measure 1/4 inch from the end of the winding cone away from the center, marking it with a marker or tape. Slightly pull up and toward the center plate while tapping the bar with the second bar just below the winding cone. Continue until you've stretched the spring to meet the mark on the shaft.

Step 7: Secure Set Screws and Repeat

Secure Set Screws and Repeat

Tighten the set screws to secure the spring in its new position. Be sure you return the screws to their original flats if there were any on the shaft. If you have two torsion springs, repeat steps three to six on the other spring to maintain balance.

Step 8: Test the Garage Doors and Apply Lubrication

Remove any clamps or pliers securing the door and test its performance to verify if the tension adjustment has resolved the issues. If not, repeat the adjustment steps as necessary. Once you're content with the tension, reconnect your automatic garage door opener if you have one.

Lastly, don't forget to maintain the smooth operation of your garage door by lubricating all springs, hinges, bearings, and metal rollers twice a year using a lithium- or silicone-based spray.

Don't Risk It - Call Safety Garage Door for Spring Adjustments

As you can tell, adjusting a garage door spring is a task that requires precision and safety precautions. It's important to prioritize your well-being and the proper functioning of your garage door. If you're not comfortable or experienced with handling garage door spring adjustments, it's always a wise decision to seek professional help.

At Safety Garage Door, we specialize in all aspects of garage door maintenance, including spring adjustments. Our team of experts is just a phone call away, ready to assist you with any garage door concerns. Your safety is our top priority, so don't hesitate to contact us today for professional and reliable service. Trust Safety Garage Door to keep your garage door in perfect working condition.

Ammar Hanafieh

Ammar Hanafieh

Following the family's trade, Ammar has been working in the garage door repair and installation industry since 2010. He brings his expertise via the excellent service and industry insights.
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