This is NOT a do-it-yourself project to take on ill-advised.  Garage door torsion springs are under a tremendous amount of torque, and their replacement poses a serious safety hazard.  I’m certain there are a number of you out there who will choose to do this home repair yourself.  My hope with this article is that by helping you understand how the garage door and springs work together you will eventually decide to just go ahead and call in a professional should your garage door springs ever break and need replacing.

Standard 16 X 7 garage doors can weigh 150-200 pounds or more, so don’t think for a minute that little garage door opener from Sears is doing the heavy lifting on its own.  In fact, the counterweight created by the torsion springs balance against the weight of the door so all the opener has to do is give that little extra umph to raise and lower the door on its guide tracks.  Take away the springs and you have a giant guillotine on your hands.

Most two bay garage doors use two torsion springs to get the job done.  Even so, after thousands of ups and downs they still can break.  When they do, one or the other spring can snap, usually not both at the same time.  If the break happens while the door is part way up gravity will take over and the door will come crashing down.  That is why it is always important to stand clear of a garage door whenever it is in operation.  That goes double for children and pets!

Still not convinced?  Watch this video starting at about the 45 second mark.  It shows a torsion spring wound to the point of snapping.  Imagine that force behind one of the winding bars in these videos.  At a minimum that’s a trip to the emergency room for a broken hand.

Here’s your garage door safety checklist.