Safe Measures: How to Check Your Garage Door Spring Tension

Ever wondered why your garage door isn’t opening as smoothly as it used to? The culprit might be the spring tension. It’s a crucial aspect that ensures your garage door operates efficiently. But how do you check the garage door spring tension? Let’s dive in.

Understanding how to check the tension of your garage door spring isn’t just about maintaining smooth operation. It’s also about ensuring safety. A poorly tensioned garage door spring can be a serious hazard, so it’s important to know how to check it properly.

Key Takeaways

  • Garage door spring tension is vital for the door’s efficient operation and safety. When correctly tensioned, the spring can balance and smoothly maneuver the door’s weight. Over or under tensioned springs can lead to safety risks or operational issues.
  • There are two types of garage door springs, torsion springs and extension springs. Torsion springs work by twisting, and their energy capacity is calculated as ‘Torque’, while extension springs stretch when the door is lowered and their energy capacity is measured in ‘Pounds of pull’.
  • Some common signs of improper garage door spring tension include the door closing too quickly, moving unevenly, not fully opening or closing, being hard to lift, or making unusually loud noises.
  • Checking garage door spring tension requires several tools, including C-clamps, a tape measure, a winding bar, locking pliers, an adjustable wrench, and a secure ladder.
  • To check the spring tension, secure the door with the C-clamps or locking pliers, locate and measure the springs, then inspect the spring balance by observing how smoothly the door opens and closes.
  • Safety precautions are essential when checking spring tension, which includes wearing protective gear, ensuring your tools are in good condition, having someone assist you, regularly inspecting the condition of the safety cables, and not hesitating to contact a professional if the task seems too complex or risky.

Maintaining the correct tension in your garage door springs is essential for safety and optimal performance. An easy-to-follow tutorial on YouTube explains how to check garage door spring tension, ensuring your door operates smoothly and safely. Another resource, YouTube, helps homeowners identify if their garage door spring is broken and what symptoms to look for. For more detailed information, GD Medics provides insights into diagnosing a bad or broken spring, including signs of stretched springs and testing if you can manually open the door.

Understanding Garage Door Spring Tension

To put it simply, garage door spring tension refers to the amount of mechanical force or resistance a spring needs to perform properly. Adjusting spring tension isn’t rocket science but holds significant importance for the smooth operation and safety of your garage door.

When your garage door spring is under the right level of tension, it can easily balance and smoothly maneuver the considerable weight of the door. On contrary, if the spring is under too much or too little tension, it might lead to serious safety risks or operational issues. So, it becomes crucial to periodically check and adjust the garage door spring tension as needed.

You might wonder how the whole process works.

Well, the tension is created when the spring is wound or twisted. It’s the stored energy in the compressed spring which helps lift the garage door. Moreover, there are two commonly used types of garage door springs – torsion springs and extension springs. Each has a different mechanism but the basic principle of using tension to move the door remains the same.

Torsion springs are mounted on a bar above the door and work by twisting. Their energy capacity or load is calculated as ‘Torque’ which is basically the measure of the force that causes an object to rotate.

On the other hand, extension springs stretch or extend when the garage door is lowered and store energy to help lift it back up. Their energy capacity is measured in ‘Pounds of pull’ which refers to the weight that the spring can carry.

Remember that the weight of your garage door directly influences the required spring tension. Heavier doors will need stronger springs with more tension and vice versa.

In the next section, learn about how to check the spring tension of your garage door.

Signs of Improper Garage Door Spring Tension

Your garage door spring tension can often hint at any underlying issues. Recognizing these signs is crucial for maintaining the door’s optimal operation and avoiding potential safety threats. Look out for these common indicators.

Door Closes Too Quickly

In cases of reduced spring tension, your garage door may close much faster than it’s supposed to, posing serious harm. This quick descent often results from unbalanced weight distribution due to inadequate spring tension.

Uneven Door Movement

Does the door move unevenly when you operate it? If it seems to slant or get stuck on one side, it’s a sign there’s not enough spring tension.

Door Doesn’t Fully Open or Close

If the door stops before it fully opens or closes, it may be due to incorrect spring tension. A door that can’t completely open or shut creates an obvious limitation on its usage.

Door Is Hard to Lift

Garage doors with improper spring tension can be hard to lift. When the spring tension is too high, you’ll find the door unusually heavy to open manually.

Noisy Garage Door

Although garage doors can’t work in complete silence, the noise must remain within reasonable limits. If your door starts making unusual or excessive noise, improper spring tension could be the reason.

In short, spotting these signs—and promptly acting on them—can save you from the headaches of malfunctions, repairs, and safety risks associated with improper spring tension. Resolving these issues promptly and efficiently contributes towards ensuring a safe and sound garage door.

In the ensuing sections, we’ll explore how to adjust your garage door spring tension to keep it properly balanced and aligned. Stay tuned to discover handy tips and tricks to ensure the flawless functioning and longevity of your garage door.

Equipment Needed for Checking Spring Tension

Understanding the required gear before diving into your garage door spring tension check is vital. A misstep can lead to accidents and damage to the mechanisms. Keep in mind, dealing with high-tension springs is no small feat and should be tackled with the utmost care.

A powerful partner in any DIY garage door spring task is a set of C-clamps. These come in handy for securing the door’s position, ensuring safety throughout the job. A standard tape measure will also be pivotal for recording precise measurements of the spring and door’s dimensions.

Perhaps the most important tool in your arsenal will be a properly sized winding bar. You’ll use this device during the tensioning process – you need to rotate the spring correctly and safely. Winding bars typically come in a set of two and are often made of steel for added resilience.

Get your hands on a reliable pair of locking pliers. You’ll use these to secure the winding bars and the torsion spring during adjustment. Don’t forget your adjustable wrench, they will be crucial for tightening or loosening the set screws.

You should also have a ladder nearby. Many of these tasks require height, after all. Be sure it’s a stable and secure model to ensure your safety while performing these tasks.

Each piece of equipment serves its purpose in assisting you with adjusting garage door spring tension. Remember, your aim here is to achieve a balanced and optimally functioning garage door. Your next step is to learn how to measure the spring tension accurately and safely. Let’s delve into that in the next section.

Steps to Check Garage Door Spring Tension

Now that you’re familiar with the essential tools needed, let’s delve into the precise steps you should follow to measure your garage door spring tension accurately and safely.

  1. Ensure Safety First: Before commencing, ensure all safety measures are in place. Use your C-clamps or locking pliers on the garage door track above the bottom roller to hold the door securely in place. Having the right tools and using them correctly isn’t a great suggestion—it’s a necessity.
  2. Locate the Springs: You’ll find the springs at the top of your garage door. Identify the type of springs you have—extension springs will be along the sides of the door, while torsion springs will be above the door.
  3. Measure the Spring: Grab your tape measure. For extension springs, measure the length of the spring when the door is open and when it’s closed. For torsion springs, thread a winding bar into the cone at the end of the spring. Secure the bar with an adjustable wrench. Slowly and carefully turn the bar to unwind the spring and measure its length.
  4. Inspect the Spring Balance: Open and close the door several times. As you do this, observe the balance of the spring. If your door isn’t opening and closing smoothly, there could be an issue with your spring’s tension.

Checking the garage door spring tension yourself can potentially save you some serious money. But don’t forget, your safety is paramount. If you’re unsure about anything or aren’t comfortable checking the tension of the springs yourself, there’s nothing wrong with getting a professional to do it.

Often, a professional’s touch ensures accuracy and, more importantly, safe handling. They have tons of experience and possess the necessary skills for this technical task. Next, you’ll learn about some common issues you might face while checking the spring tension and how to troubleshoot them.

Safety Precautions when Checking Spring Tension

Before rolling up your sleeves to embark on this task, you need to be aware of the potential hazards involved. Safety always comes first and taking the right precautions when dealing with garage door spring tension is no exception.

Garage door springs are under a tremendous amount of force, which can be dangerous if not handled correctly. Regardless of whether you’re dealing with torsion springs or extension springs, they’re responsible for managing the weight of the door. That means a poorly adjusted spring could cause the heavy door to move unexpectedly, potentially causing damage or injury.

To avoid any mishaps, you’ll want to ensure that you’re wearing protective gear. Eye protection and work gloves are a must. Since garage doors are heavy, steel toe shoes may also be a wise investment. These items can be found in any well-stocked home improvement store or can easily be purchased online.

Second, ensure your tools are up to the task. Working with worn-out or inappropriate tools can increase the danger level. Check your T-handled winding bars, vise grips, or other tools you plan to use for wear and tear. If there are any doubts about a tool’s condition, replace it.

Always remember to never work on a garage door by yourself especially when dealing with spring tension. As the saying goes, “two heads are better than one.” It’s a good idea to have another person with you who can help with the task or quickly call for help if something should go wrong.

Another wise precaution is to regularly check the condition of the safety cables. These cables run through your spring system to keep it in place if a spring happens to break. As you’re checking your spring tension, be sure to give these cables a once over looking for any signs of wear or corrosion.

Finally, if the task seems too complex or risky, don’t hesitate to call a professional. Even with precautions in place, checking spring tension is a task that can carry risk. As a homeowner, it’s important to understand your limits and prioritize safety over cost-saving. Ignoring these safety measures could end up costing you and more in repair and medical bills.


So, you’ve got the know-how to check your garage door spring tension safely. It’s all about prioritizing safety, using the right tools, and knowing when it’s time to call in the pros. Don’t forget, working with a buddy is always a good idea when dealing with potential risks. Your garage door’s health is important, but it’s not worth a trip to the ER. Remember, proper maintenance can extend the life of your door and prevent costly repairs down the line. Now that you’re equipped with this knowledge, you’re ready to tackle your garage door spring tension like a champ. Stay safe!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main focus of this article?

The main focus of the article is on safety precautions necessary when checking garage door spring tension. It outlines potential hazards and the importance of using protective gear and adequate tools.

What are the risks of improperly handling garage door springs?

Improperly handling garage door springs can lead to accidents due to the high tension in the springs. It can cause bodily injury and potentially damage garage doors or vehicles if mishandled.

Why is it crucial not to work alone when inspecting garage door spring tension?

Working alone increases the risk of accidents. Having someone around ensures immediate help in case of any unforeseen incidents during the inspection process.

What role does a safety cable play in a garage door’s functionality?

Safety cables help control the high tension in the garage door springs. They are crucial in preventing accidents by providing an additional layer of safety if a spring unexpectedly breaks.

When should a professional be called for help in garage door spring tension inspection?

A professional should be called when individuals lack the proper equipment, knowledge, or if safety is in question. They have skills and tools to effectively manage potentially dangerous scenarios. Prioritizing safety over cost is advised.