Garage door springs

My garage door, powered by an old Craftsman garage door opener, stopped going up all the way when it started getting cold outside, it would stop about 1/4 way up.

This garage door opener drives chain attached to a wide 2-car garage aluminum door, with horizontal springs at the top and a C-shaped track with rollers. I can release the door from the chain and raise the door manually, but it’s hard. Going down is pretty easy. For that reason, I think the springs are probably tired.

I did try the adjustment on the garage door opener to provide more up-force, I turned it about 1/4 turn. That helped for a few days, than it went back to stoppping halfway up again. For now I’m manually raising and lowering the door, because I don’t want to stress the garage door opener, I know it’s not supposed to bear much weight.

I want to fix this myself if at all possible, the springs look to be $50 or $60, I figure I’ll spend at least a few hundred dollars if I call a professional. The question is, the springs don’t appear to be under tension when the door is up. Should this be the case, and is there any good way to test this? I’ve also got the safety cable to deal with. Any advice?

Do not attempt this yourself. There’s sufficient tension in those spring that very bad things can happen, including death. I’ve had mine adjusted once, and replaced once. I think it was about $100 for the call to have them adjusted and maybe $400 to have them both replaced after one broke. Spend a hundred bucks and have someone knowledgeable adjust them. You should be able to find a garage door installer, repair shop easily enough.

You just did, if you have a hard time opening it by hand then the springs are not helping you lift the door all the way. Your garage door is extremely heavy and you could not lift it at all without them.
The springs should be under maximum tension when the door is down, but there should be some tension when the door is all the way up, to hold it there and keep tension on the spring.
If it can only lift the door halfway and there is no tension left in the spring a that point. Your springs may be worn, or slipped or just need tightening. The steel contracting in cold weather may have also contributed to this.

As Leaffan suggested, call a professional, those things pack alot of potential energy and you don’t want to be near one when it lets go.

One of our regulars is a garage door repairman. One cure he recommends is to lubricate the springs. Position the door such that the springs are stretched to the max, then spray them with WD-40, or a spray-on lithium or molybdenum grease. Beware if you wear glasses – some lubricants will melt plastic lenses.

If that doesn’t help, then it’s time to call a pro. Garage door springs are incredibly dangerous, and the cost for a professional is modest compared to the risk.

Thanks for the replies. These are just plain springs on both sides at the top of the track, not torsion springs. I asked the question in GQ and think got steered in the right direction.

By lubricating the springs you can also extend their life a great deal.

great ideas and advices guys, thank you all so much

We had a spring break last month and it took all my strength lifting with my legs to raise the door by hand to place a steel pole under the door to keep it up and get the car out.

Perhaps I qualify as a professional these days, as I’ve installed/replaced five garage doors now for pay.

Even if they aren’t torsion springs they are still potentially quite dangerous if they break. There is considerable merit to replacing worn out springs, and yes, replace BOTH at the same time if you choose to do that.

If you have an instruction/installation manual for your door and you feel comfortable doing the work go ahead, but there are many folks these days looking for work (like me) who will be happy to take on this work if you have any doubts about it. Of course, some tradesmen are more honest than others - ask for references for anyone doing such work on your property.

You seem to have fixed your problem, but other things to look for in such circumstances are bent tracks and doors that have popped off their tracks. Really, it’s a good time to inspect/lubricate all the hardware on your garage door.

One of my pulleys gave out last week and caused the spring to pop off the rear hook when the door was almost all the way raised. Luckily, it has the safety retaining cable running through it, so the spring stayed in place rather than flying off somewhere.

I ventured to Lowe’s in hopes of finding a replacement. They had generic Genie brand replacement parts for just about everything, pulleys, rollers, hinges, springs. The pulleys were only $5 each, the springs about $15 each. I bought 2 pulleys and installed them easily.

Glad to hear the retaining cable worked - of course, you put one on the new springs, yes?

It’s not rocket science, but pat yourself on the back anyway.

Haven’t got new springs, yet. I plan to go ahead and replace everything, can’t cost more than $60 or so. Only tricky part looks like the special way the retaining cable is tied/wrapped off on the ends.

When I change out garage door springs I usually stick a ladder under the upraised door AND use clamps to hold the door up. A double system, so if a clamp slips the door will only fall so far before hitting the ladder and stopping. Remember, with no springs that door will fall hard if it gets loose.

Yeah at one point I needed to lower the door with only one spring attached, this is a door that’s about 10 feet wide. The last 2 or 3 feet it basically fell, I had no idea it was that heavy. Very hard to raise back up too.

I never lower the door with just one spring, it’s either both or none. Have a helper to assist you with the door if you can, it makes it a LOT easier.

Hey I am not much of a handy man, and din´t know what to do about the problem I had with my garage door springs. I did some research and found great advice at and now they are fixed.

I can help you with some professional garage door spring company, they are very professional and I really liked the way they fixed my door. You can visit them at

If this is a single coil spring around the shaft which turns (has the pulleys on the end to which the cables attach):
Yes, you probably can do it - I did mine.
BUT - you need REAL tools which REALLY work EVERY time. If you think a screwdriver and a a box wrench will do the job, you ARE likely to rip your head open - there are close to a hundred pounds or torque in that spring, and the rod you use to wind it up is within a foot of your head.
The fact that you are asking if you can do it suggests that you find a big guy for whom lifting a 100 pounds is trivial.
I used 2 24"long steel rods to twist the hub, and a pro-grade wrench on the lock nut to secure it - hint: spray, chalk, or otherwise mark a line along the spring before releasing the hub - how far off-straight that line becomes gives you an idea of how much you have torqued it - mine now loos a bit like a barber’s pole, and the door is easier to lift than lower.

I live in a remote rural area and have to fix everything that I possibly can due to the local ‘handymen’ types being less skilled than I am. (you don’t see them posting here, do you?)

I have adjusted the tension in the springs on 3 garage doors without decapitating myself. (I check the tension on each door once a year, just disconnect the opener track handle and see if the door goes up easily)

I have also put the safety cables on all my garage door springs so when/if they break it is no big deal.
I can see that folks that are not mechanically inclined might want to defer to someone who has done this before . . .