Broken Garage Door Torsion Springs: Safety Tips

Chances are you probably haven’t thought about it before: the garage door is the single largest moving part of most homes. As such, they can be very heavy, especially if you have a two car garage or a larger door for RV parking. If those doors are made of wood or steel, they can weight more than 400 pounds!

Broken Garage Door Torsion Spring
Do not attempt to repair or remove a broken torsion spring

Even doors made with lighter materials can still weight hundreds of pounds. So how can children lift these massive doors with relative ease? You can thank torsion springs for that (especially if you’re trying to open it at night in stormy weather without an opener). 

Torsion springs counterbalance the weight of the door to make it seem much lighter than it really is. When this heavy-duty spring has been wound, it naturally wants to unwind. So when you lift the door, you’re helping the spring get back to its natural state. When the door is pulled down, the weight winds the spring back up.

Dealing with a broken torsion spring

After years of use, the garage door spring suffers wear and tear just like anything. Depending on the position of the door, if a torsion spring breaks, it can cause quite a bit of damage. If the door is down, there is a lot of tension on the spring. If it breaks, all of that tension is released as it unwinds.

Broken garage door torsion springs are one of the most common repairs to garage doors. Ponderosa Garage Doors & Repair recommends that ALL of your door components, including torsion springs, be inspected on an annual basis to prevent unexpected breakdowns.

However, if you suspect that any of your garage door components are in need of repair please consult a professional garage door repair specialist. The most dangerous garage door component is the torsion spring. A torsion spring mishap can result in serious injury or even death. 

If your home’s garage door torsion spring does break we suggest:

  • Unplug your electric garage door opener
  • Do not attempt to repair or remove the broken torsion spring
  • Do not try to shut or open the garage door
  • Leave the area near the broken garage door torsion spring
  • Make everyone in your household aware of the broken garage door torsion spring
  • Immediately contact a professional garage door repair specialist

How to open a garage door with a broken spring

There may be times when you absolutely need to get the car out of the garage if the torsion spring is broken. DO NOT USE THE OPENER! The opener is not used to lifting that much weight – it works together with the torsion spring to lift the door. 

If you try to use the opener, you could destroy the motor, break the chain, or cause other opener part damage. Now you have a broken torsion spring and you’ll have to install a new garage door opener.

Even if you happen to be the strongest man in the world, it’s best to have at least two people opening the door together. If the door is lifted unevenly, it could damage the panels of the door or the tracks that the panels are attached to each side. Once again – these doors are heavy! Uneven lifting will put undue strain on the garage door parts.

Getting the door off the ground will be the hardest part of the lift. Once a few of the panels have made it to the horizontal part of the overhead tracks, they will be supported and the door will get lighter. Please be careful! You do not want the garage door to come crashing down if you lose your grip on the door. 

If you must lower the door, do so slowly and make sure children and pets are well away. The door will pick up speed and weight as more panels are in a vertical position. But it’s important to be smooth and steady. 

Your home’s garage door is most likely the single largest mechanical device. Keep yourself and your family safe. Have ALL of your door components inspected annually. Call Ponderosa Garage Doors and Repairs if you have any questions about your door. We are garage door professionals and have been offering great service since 2003.