Why do garage door springs break?

When we are doing a garage door spring repair for a customer, we are often asked why garage door springs break. We hear it a lot, and have decided to make a post on it. The real short answer has to do with wear and tear and the cycles of the spring. Every spring will eventually break just because they are used.

But now, the long answer. Every garage door spring has a number of cycles it is rated for. Your average spring installed by the manufacture or other garage door repair company has a life cycle of about 10,000 cycles. When you open your garage door and then shut it, that is one cycle. Now, on average, 10,000 cycles will last most people 5-7 years. Some break much sooner than that with average use and some last many years longer.

Think about how you use your garage door? If it’s just you going to work each day you use two cycles each work day just to get the car in and out of the garage. Now what about your spouse? How about your kids? There’s a reason the garage door is called the new front door. If you have a keypad, many use it as a secure way for kids to get into the house without having to use or lose keys.

So there is the cycles on a garage door. So how can we offer such great warranties on our springs? Well, we use quality materials first of all. Made in the USA! We’re proud of that. The garage door springs that we have manufactured for us may cost us a little more than having crates of them shipped over from China, but the quality speaks for themselves. The other thing that we do is oversize our garage door springs. By using thicker gauge steel and longer springs, the effective life cycles of our springs can go from 80,000 to 200,000 cycles. The average life span of our springs has gone from the little 5 years to as many as 140 years. That should do it for most people! This is garage door spring repair done right!

So why else do garage door torsion springs fail?

Two other common factors on why the life of springs are shortened are weather conditions and broken garage doors and their accessories. If the springs are exposed to the elements and stuff builds up on the springs, the steel itself can become compromised. This also causes additional friction on the spring. The additional friction causes additional work for the spring. The same thing happens for a poorly functioning door. If rollers are sticking or the garage door opener is not functioning properly, these can cause the spring to work harder and will ultimately make the life the spring shorter.

A newer garage door spring that has snapped
This garage door spring isn’t too old, yet it has snapped. It is a basic 10,000 cycle spring.

So, what can a homeowner do to make sure their garage door springs last as long as possible?

There are two things that I recommend to our customers. The first one is to oil the spring regularly. Once a month, use a lint free cloth and rub in some heavy weight motor oil or gear oil into the middle section of the spring. Stay a couple of inches from each side so that you are not putting oil on the end cones or where the spring is attached to the anchor bracket.

The second thing is to make sure that your door is in proper working order. Make sure both your door and opener are working correctly. Test your door balance by detaching the opener from the door with the emergency pull handle and operating the garage door by hand. The door should open and close smoothly without catching on anything. If you have concerns or your door just isn’t working right, give us a call and we would be happy to get things working smoothly for you and help you with your garage door spring repair or replacement.

Another newer broken spring
This is another broken spring on a newer garage door.

If you ever sit with me while I’m on a job, you can certainly get me talking. Another question we often get is the one spring vs two springs. I’ll leave that question for another day. Check back if you’re curious. If you really want to know now, give us a call. I’d be happy to explain. (740) 414-4500