How To Open A Garage Door With A Broken Spring

Chloe Meltzer
by Chloe Meltzer

If you have ever been stuck on one side of your garage door, then you may know the pain of having a garage door with a broken spring. Whether your springs are simply getting weak, or you have one that has snapped, it can be a scary situation. However, there are still ways that you can open up your garage door.

The positive part of this situation is that you can open the door with a broken spring. The bad news is that if you have a broken spring, it is not going to be an easy job. The method to open your door with a broken spring is to pull the door up yourself physically, and you need to do so with caution.

Garage doors are extremely heavy and can involve heavy machinery to open when broken. Although it is not recommended to open your garage door on your open with a broken spring, if you do decide to do so, then follow the steps below to do it safely.

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How To Tell If Your Garage Has A Broken Spring

The first step is to understand why your garage door won’t open. First things first, try to determine why your door won’t open.

Common reasons your garage might not open beside a broken spring can include:

  • Photo-eye is blocked
  • Power source is disrupted
  • Cables have snapped
  • Sensitivity is too high or low
  • Remote control is not working
  • Door is off its track

There are two main ways you know you have a spring problem:

  • Your opener motor is working, but the door will not move. You might also hear the opener working and attempting to open the door.
  • You hear a loud pop. This might be the spring breaking.

Can I Use My Garage Door Opener To Open My Garage Door?

If you know that you have a broken spring, then you should in no way attempt to use the opener to open your garage door. Even if you have a good opener, you should not use it.

There are many problems that using your opener can cause if you have a broken spring. This can include:

  • Bending the rails
  • Cracking your door panels
  • Stripping gears in the opener part of your garage door
  • Burning out your motor
  • Your carriage may break off 
  • Opener can pull off the ceiling

Is It Safe To Open A Garage Door With A Broken Spring?

It is not safe to open your garage door with a broken spring. Despite this, if you must do so, then there are two kinds of springs you can look out for.

  • Extension springs: These are on both sides of the door as well as on the rails. These help to balance the weight as it goes up or down. 
  • Torsion springs: These are across the top of the door and help pull the door’s weight. 

Garage doors are extremely heavy and can weigh around 500lbs. If one of the springs breaks on your door, not only will your door not work, but you also will need to support the weight of the door as well.

How To Test Your Springs

  • Pull the emergency release cord. This will have an apparent red handle.
  • Lift the door up and down slightly with your hands. Listen to hear if it squeaks. If it does, lubricate the hinges with WD-40.
  • Allow the door to hit the floor, then attempt to lift it around two feet off the ground and then release it. If it stays in the same place, your springs are fine. If it sags or falls, then you have a problem with your springs.

How To Open Your Garage Door With A Broken Spring

If you have realized that you have a broken spring, then you can take a few steps to begin correcting the issue. After doing so, you should be able to open your garage door. Remember, be extremely careful while attempting this method.

Step 1: Get Help

This is important because the door is very heavy. If possible, ask for help from a friend, family member, or neighbor. You don’t want to pull a muscle or throw your back out trying to attempt this yourself. Having one person on each side and one in the middle is ideal. However, this can be done with just two people, one on each side of the door.

Step 2: Be Very Cautious

Not only do you need to protect your back while attempting this, but you also need to worry about both your fingers and toes. If the door falls on your feet, you could fracture or break part of your foot. So anyone who is helping you lift needs to communicate. You guys should say when you’re lifting the door and when you’re going to lower it as well. This will help prevent any potential accidents.

Step 3: Open The Door Manually

At this point, you will need to open the door manually. If you have ever had your motor break or power goes out, then you might have needed to do this before. The difference is that your spring is broken, so it is a lot more dangerous. Be aware you will be lifting the entire weight of the door when you do this.

Step 4: Disengage The Door

To do this, you will need to look for the rope that should be hanging attached to the J-arm. Pull-on it until it unlatches. Sometimes you may have to pull at a certain angle. Also, don’t be shy with how hard you pull because they will need that extra oomph to unlatch some of the time.

Step 5: Lift The Door

This is self-explanatory, but there are a few things to keep in mind while doing so.

  • The door may simply be too heavy to lift. Do not force it.
  • Do not bend the panels. This can easily happen by pushing on them.
  • Do not get your fingers caught in the panels.
  • Keep the door level and avoid bending the rails.

If You Need To Close The Door

This can be done by reversing the steps you just did. Unfortunately, this is typically more difficult because you will need to support the door the entire way down. Make sure you do not let it crash down, or you will damage it even further. You should have a second person to help you with this as well.

Ensure that the springs and any inner workings are in the correct position as you’re shutting the door. Sometimes if these components are not moving due to a broken spring, then you will need to make them function manually. Then, you can ensure your door is all the way shut, and that way, you can engage the lock.

Related Questions

Is it dangerous to replace my garage door spring?

It is dangerous to replace your garage door spring. When the spring breaks, there will be metal flying, the spring can snap back in your face, or the door can fall on you. Hiring a professional is the best option, but if you are dedicated, then you can attempt it carefully.

How much does it cost to replace a garage door spring?

Garage door springs usually cost between $20 and $30. If you choose to have a professional install it, it can be anywhere from $100 to $200. Although this is not an incredibly high cost, you will need to decide what your budget is and if saving $70-$170 is worth the danger.

How long will a garage door spring last?

Typically when you purchase new garage door springs, you can plan for them to last at least 10,000 cycles. This generally means your springs will last ten to fifteen years. If you are someone who has multiple cars and multiple drivers, then you will be using your garage door often. If you are a single person who does not drive every day, then it might be longer.

How long does it take to fix a garage spring?

This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour. However, depending on the situation, it might be a better idea to purchase some new springs instead of fixing them. The springs aren’t too expensive and may serve you better than an over-stretched old spring.

What is the main reason garage springs break?

Rust is typically the main reason. If you keep up your maintenance with WD-40 every three months, you can usually avoid this for longer. Also, applying a topical product that resists corrosion and rust can help you. However, you will want to ensure the product doesn’t form a hard shell and that it can bend and flex with the springs’ needs.

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Summarizing It All For You

Having a broken spring on your garage door can be extremely frustrating. However, just because the spring is broken doesn’t mean that you can’t open or close the door as you need to. Just make sure you ask a neighbor or friend for help before you attempt this to prevent any potential accidents or injuries. Additionally, spraying a corrosive resistant product on your springs and using WD-40 will help make your springs last longer.

Chloe Meltzer
Chloe Meltzer

Real estate agent and copywriter, originally from California. Chloe brings her real estate expertise into her writing to create effective and helpful home guides for you! When not writing or selling homes, she spends her time as a digital nomad traveling the world.

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