Our garage door torsion spring broke on Wednesday last week, on Dec 12th. Up until the time it broke, I did not realize that it even existed. We have lived in this house for 17 years and I guess it was about time.
As we have lived here, I was careful to lube the garage door opener chain, the rollers, and the track, but I never paid attention to the torsion spring. It would have helped to extend its life if it was oiled up properly. (as it is explained in the instructional video below).
When I noticed the problem, the garage door was in a closed position. When I tried to lift it, it was so heavy that it did not move at all. It is amazing how heavy this thing was. When I pulled the string to disengage the trolley, there was a loud bang, and the garage door opener was disengaged. Be very careful about doing this! It could easily damage the garage door opener or the door itself.
Here are some pictures of the broken spring.
In the age of internet, it seems like anything is possible. With a little bit of research, I found the following video explaining exactly how to replace these springs. Link to video. This video does a great job of explaining every step in detail. Hats off to the old man in the video. I will only write about my experience following these instructions.
The only specialized tool that we need is called a ‘winding rod’. Home Depot did not carry it. Neither the store that only sold garage door related parts. I figured that this was probably due to liability reasons. If you watch the video, it sounds a little scary and I will admit that I was little worried as well. You probably have all the other tools.
Home Depot sells 36″ round rods. I bought 5/8″ diameter Zinc coated steel rod. After quite a bit of effort, I was able to cut the steel rod in the middle. When I tried to insert the rod into the cone, it did not fit! Sh*t Sh*t Sh*t. When I measured the inside diameter, it turns out I needed 1/2″ diameter rod. Damn, what a waste! But don’t laugh, this could happen to you too.
Back to Home Depot again. I remembered on the way to Home Depot that there was a road construction and long waits. But I wasn’t about to give up. I bought the 36″ long 1/2″ diameter round rod, cut it in the middle, and now the winding rods were ready.
The next step was buying the new springs. The problem was that there were no markings on the garage door showing the manufacturer or any other info. The garage door springs are specified in garage door weight and the newer springs are color coded. In my case, the springs were marked with red paint, and I figured that it was probably 160 lb garage door. Also the garage door springs that Home Depot sells are not torsional springs, they are linear springs (the wrong kind for me).
I removed the old broken spring and took it to the garage door store. Although the left spring was still working, I figured I might as well replace both springs, and bought both the left and right springs. To give you an idea about the cost of this repair, each spring was $50, for a total of $100. If you want, they will come and replace your springs for a total cost of $210.
Although it was little scary, I replaced both springs and the garage door is working great so far!