Knoxville Garage Door Blog

Winter Woes: The Cold Truth About Garage Springs

You are late for work, and your garage door won't open. The most common reason is a broken spring. When your garage door is closed, the torsion springs are under tension. Pushing the button unhooks the door and the energy stored in the springs is released, raising the door. But if one or both of your springs are broken, the door won't budge...and as it weighs several hundred pounds, you can't just walk over and lift it. The manual door open will not work if the springs are broken.

So, why do garage door springs fail, and is it true that they're more likely to fail on a cold day?

Why do Garage Door Springs Fail?

Most often, it's simple wear and tear. Rust can also cause springs to fail, especially if they are not regularly lubricated. Another reason for failure is that whoever installed your springs did not weigh the door and installed springs that are not rated for the door you have. Springs that are too weak will wear out a lot faster. This often happens when people try to install new springs themselves and don't know the correct way to do it. If you just moved in, you might have to blame the previous owner.

Do Garage Door Springs Fail More Often in the Winter?

Yes! Garage door springs are made of steel, and steel becomes more brittle when it's cold. It's called the ductile to brittle transition, and depending on how your door was made, it can happen at about freezing. This doesn't mean your springs will break when the temperature drops. It means that if there is already a problem with your springs, such as not being strong enough or being older, they are more likely to fail on a cold day than a warmer one.

Knoxville hasn't yet got as cold as it can get, so even if your springs are fine now, they might not be by the end of winter.

Signs Your Garage Door Springs Are About to Fail

Here are some signs that you might be in trouble before it happens:

  • Your door takes longer to open than normal. This could also indicate another issue with the door.
  • Your door is producing unusual noises, such as pops, rattling, or squeaks.
  • Your door jerks or stops and starts, particularly when opening.
  • Your door opens only part of the way and then stops.
  • You hear a loud bang from the garage. A spring breaking can make a lot of noise.
  • You see a gap in your garage door spring.
  • Your garage door closes faster than normal. With a broken spring, sometimes the garage door will close very quickly. This can actually be dangerous and should be looked at right away.
  • Your door is crooked. This indicates that one spring is pulling more than the other.

What To Do If A Spring Breaks

First of all, if your door only has one spring and it is broken, do not attempt to open the door on your own. Even a small garage door can weigh as much as 300 pounds. Ideally, call a professional. If it's an emergency (your car is in there and you need to get to work now or bad things happen), get help to lift the door and use a C clamp to hold the door open.

With two springs, you can probably get the door open by lifting the sagging side, but be careful. Again, it's best to call a professional to fix the door. A broken door can fall on you or your vehicle. About 30,000 people a year are injured by garage doors! Call for professional help so that doesn't become you.

If you think your garage door springs may have a problem, don't delay. Contact Overhead Door of Knoxville now for a professional inspection before winter sets in the rest of the way. We can determine whether your door needs repair and get it taken care of before your car gets stuck in the garage or worse.