How Do You Know If Your Garage Door Spring Is Broken?

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey

Garage doors sure have some a long way. Where they used to require all your strength to open and close, they now open with seamless ease at the touch of a button. Opening and closing your garage door has become so simple that you likely don’t even give it much thought. You might not even know what a garage door spring is, or what its purpose is. But when your garage door spring breaks, you will quickly learn how important they are.

When your garage spring is broken there is a good chance your garage door will not open at all, or will only open about 6 inches. Your garage door opener might stop working. The door can look crooked or very difficult to move. When garage door springs break, there is often a large snap sound, and you can often hear or see the broken spring afterward.

There are many signs that your garage door springs are on the fritz or already broken. When you notice any of these signs you should investigate further. Ignoring the problem will only cause the problem to worsen. What started as a simple fix can evolve into a costly issue and even a safety hazard. But before you identify the warning signs, you should first understand exactly what garage door springs are and why they are important.

Garage Door Springs And Why They Matter

Garage door springs are mechanisms attached to your garage door that assist in its opening and closing. The main function of garage door springs is to absorb the tension that occurs when cables pull to open the door.

Your garage door springs are connected to the cables that pull up your door. They are also connected to the garage door. As the door lifts, the tension increases. Instead of this tension increasing in the cable or door (which could damage either one), the tension absorbs in these springs. Garage doors are like shock absorbers of sorts. And because they absorb this shock and tension, when they break there can be all sorts of problems.

Identifying garage door spring problems early is crucial. Once a garage door spring breaks, there is potential for much larger problems to occur. Cables can snap, your automatic opener can break. You can even bend and damage the garage door itself. So in order to prevent these expensive and dangerous problems, you should understand the warning signs that your garage door spring is broken that we listed below.

11 Signs Your Garage Door Spring Is Broken

1. Your Garage Door Remote Opener Stops Working

One of the first signs that there is an issue with your garage door springs is when your garage door opener stops working properly. More specifically, when you press your opener, you might hear the sound of the opener’s motor running, but the door does not function.

This issue can be many issues, from a blockage to a hardware issue. But it can also mean your garage spring has broken. You should investigate further right away to find the cause. Waiting will only prolong the solution, and will likely make the issue worse.

2. The Door Opens Much Slower Than Usual

If you notice that the garage door is opening much slower than normal, there could be an issue with the spring. If it is jerky, or sporadic as well, then there is also a potential breakage with the spring.

When your garage for spring breaks, it puts all the tension into the cable and the door. This makes it more challenging for the motor and all the mechanisms involved to open the door.

3. The Garage Door Is Difficult To Open Or Close, Even Manually

You might have noticed an issue with your garage door opener, and have chosen to open it manually. If you find that the garage door is very challenging to open, even manually, then the springs might be broken. If it feels extra heavy, or almost as though the door is off its tracks, this could be a spring issue.

4. The Garage Door Opens, But Only 6 Inches Or A Foot

Another big red flag that your garage door spring is broken is if the garage door opens, but just a few inches. When your garage door opens only 6 inches or so, there is definitely an issue you need to fix.

This could be a broken spring, because the built up tension might make it impossible for the door to open all the way. Your garage door opener may have the strength to open the door partially, but not all the way. Imagine doing a pull-up. Sure you might be able to easily lift yourself up part of the way, but getting your chin above the bar is another story.

This small gap might also be the result of the emergency safety system. If triggered, it can cause a similar issue. Either way you should investigate this issue immediately.

5. Opening And Closing The Garage Is Noisy

Signs that your garage door spring is broken are not always visual. In fact, one of the best ways to tell if your garage door spring is broken is based on the sounds the door makes when it opens and closes.

A very noisy and squeaky door might mean your garage door springs are on the edge of breaking. Or perhaps they need some attention. If, however, you hear loud scraping sounds or a rattling that sounds suspiciously like a broken spring, then that’s probably what it is.

6. The Garage Door Slams Shut

Normally, your garage door will open and close slowly and gracefully. This is important to the longevity of the door and also your safety. If, however, you notice your garage door suddenly slams shut instead of shutting in a controlled motion, look closer. There is a good chance you have a broken garage door spring.

If the springs break this can cause the door to lose its tension, and it might just fall with gravity. Solve this problem right away, as it is a safety hazard.

7. The Attached Cables Are Dangling Or Broken

Another red flag that your garage door spring is broken is if you notice issues with the door cables. If the door cables are hanging, bunched up or even broken, then your door spring is likely broken as well. As soon as you notice your cables are broken or dangling you should take the steps to have them repaired. The issue will only worsen over time.

8. Garage Door Opens Unevenly Or Crooked

If you open your garage door but notice it opens unevenly or crooked, you might have a broken door spring. If you have one broken door spring ,the other might be taking up the slack. It can cause the door to open unevenly, which can make the door look crooked. This can cause all sorts of major problems, including door damage.

9. You Can See Rust Or Damage On Springs

One of the most obvious signs that your garage door springs are damaged or broken is if you see they are. It is always a good idea to maintain and look after your garage door periodically. If you see rust or other signs of damage, you should have the springs replaced. This will prevent any major incident.

If you see that there is a big gap in the spring, or other break, then you have a broken spring Stop using the door until you fix the spring. This will help prevent further damage, making for an easier fix.

10. You Hear A Loud Snap Or Bang

When your garage door spring breaks and you are nearby, you will definitely hear it. A garage door spring rarely goes quietly. In fact, you might hear a loud bang or snap when your door spring breaks. If you hear a loud snap sound, or if your garage door slams or jerks unexpectedly, check the door spring.

Any loud sound coming from your garage door is worth investigating. Finding the route of the problem is important for your safety and your wallet.

11. You Cannot Open Your Garage Door At All

Lastly, the most frustrating of all the signs that your grade door spring is broken is if the garage door won’t open at all. Sure, there are lots of reasons your garage door opener might work, but if you can’t even pen it manually, there is likely a serious problem.

If you find that you cannot even use the emergency release rope to open the door, then there is a definite mechanism issue. The garage door spring is the first place you should check. Springs are vulnerable, and can only last so long before they bend or snap.

Wrapping Up How To Spot A Broken Garage Door Spring

Your garage door springs are key to making sure your garage door opens safely and effectively. If you have trouble opening the door with your garage door remote, or even manually, then you might have a broken garage door spring. If you hear a loud bang, or a rattling sound when you open the door, this is another sign of a broken spring. Other signs of a broken garage door spring include hanging cables, a gap in the spring, a door that opens crooked or even a door that opens only about 6 inches before it stops opening.

Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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