Expert Tips | How to Install Garage Door Springs

Imagine coming home after a long day, only to find your garage door refusing to budge. With garage door springs being the backbone of the lifting system, a broken spring can turn into a significant inconvenience, not to mention a safety hazard.

Considering the weight of garage doors, the risk of severe injuries or even death from accidents is real.

Over 30,000 people suffer injuries each year due to garage door mishaps. This highlights the importance of knowing how to install new garage door springs or calling someone who does. It is crucial to understand the mechanics behind your garage door opener and the springs that aid it.

In this blog, we’ll guide you through the steps on how to install garage door springs effectively, touching on everything from the winding cone to the stationary cone, and the center bracket.

What Are Garage Door Springs?

Garage door springs play a pivotal role in the smooth operation of your garage door. Acting as a counterbalance, they help lift and lower the door easily. Without them, the door, which can weigh upwards of 400 lbs, would be nearly impossible to move manually.

Over time, lifting and lowering the door can cause these springs to wear down or break, indicated by a broken spring or issues with the garage door opener not functioning correctly.

Common signs of garage door spring breakdown:

  • A door that suddenly feels heavier or is difficult to open
  • Loud noises such as snapping or creaking when the door moves
  • Visible gaps in the springs or winding cone
  • The garage door opener straining more than usual to lift the door

Garage door springs are crucial for the smooth and safe operation of your garage door, yet surprisingly, around 10% of garage doors have the incorrect springs.

Choosing the ideal springs isn’t just about replacement; it requires special knowledge about how these components work with the garage door opener and the door itself.

There are two main types of springs:

1. Torsion Springs

Mounted on a torsion shaft directly above the garage door, torsion springs are pivotal in managing the door’s weight as it opens and closes. Using torque, they efficiently lift heavy doors, making them an ideal choice for double garage doors or solid wood doors that require extra strength.

Their design allows a balanced weight distribution, leading to smoother operation and reduced strain on the garage door opener. Torsion springs boast a longer lifespan, often handling 15,000 to 20,000 cycles.

2. Extension Springs

Positioned above the horizontal tracks on each side of the door, extension springs extend and contract, providing the force necessary to lift the door. These springs are more frequently seen in residential garages and are best suited for lighter, single-car doors.

Unlike torsion springs, extension springs operate independently on each side of the door, which can sometimes lead to uneven lifting and increased wear over time. To mitigate the risk of injury from a broken spring, it’s crucial to install safety cables that run through the center of the springs.

Installing torsion springs versus extension springs presents different challenges. Many homeowners face difficulties due to a lack of knowledge of safety procedures and the correct tools, like the stationary cone and center bracket, essential for a safe DIY installation.


Risks Associated with DIY Installation of Garage Door Springs

Replacing or installing garage door springs can be a hazardous task, especially when dealing with a broken spring. The tension involved in torsion springs and extension springs is immense, making the process fraught with potential for injury.

For those considering the DIY route, it’s crucial to understand the high stakes involved. Winding bars and winding cones must be handled with extreme caution, as a small mistake can result in serious injury.

Considering the risks, hiring professional services from Professional Garage Door Services not only ensures increased safety but also guarantees your garage door’s lifespan.

Dangers of Replacing Any Spring:

  • The force required to install or replace springs can cause severe injuries if not handled correctly
  • Incorrectly installed springs can lead to malfunctioning doors, posing a risk every time the door opens and closes.
  • Without the proper knowledge of how to use winding bars and torsion shafts, there’s a significant risk of accidents
  • A spring snapping can result in physical harm and damage to property

Safety Considerations:

  • Ensure you have the correct winding bar and other necessary tools specific to the job
  • Always disconnect the garage door opener to prevent accidental activation while working
  • Before starting, inspect all parts, including the stationary cone and center bracket, for signs of wear or damage
  • If at any point the task feels overwhelming, seeking professional assistance is the best course of action

How to Install Garage Door Springs Effectively

Learning how to install garage door springs can save you time and money. Here we will walk you through the essential steps, to ensure your garage door opener works smoothly and safely:


1. Identify and Measure Your Old Springs

When preparing to replace your garage door springs, it’s essential to first identify whether you’re working with torsion springs or extension springs. For torsion springs, measure the spring’s length, its inside diameter (usually 1 3/4 or 2 inches), and the wire gauge by dividing the length of 20 coils by twenty.

Color coding can also guide you; torsion springs may have unique markings, while extension springs use a color pattern to indicate weight capacity. Always disconnect the garage door opener and wear protective gear to ensure safety.


  • Consult with the spring manufacturer or garage door manufacturer for the exact replacement product and installation guidance
  • Companies design torsion springs and extension springs for specific weights and sizes of doors. Using the correct spring ensures balanced and safe operation.
  • Remember, precision in measurement and identification is key to selecting the right spring and ensuring a smooth installation process

2. Prepare Your Tools and Materials, including Safety Gear

Before tackling the task of how to install garage door spring, ensure you have all the necessary tools and safety gear at hand. Essential items include a pair of 10″ vise grips, an adjustable wrench, and two 1/2″ X 18″ winding bars—vital for safely handling the torsion springs.

Most hardware stores offer 1/2″ X 36″ steel rods, perfect for cutting in half to use as winding bars. Additionally, equip yourself with C-clamps, a stepladder, work gloves, a ruler, and a file for precise adjustments. A socket wrench set can significantly speed up the process.

Proper lighting in your garage is crucial to ensure a safe working environment.

3. Begin Disconnecting Old Springs and Garage Door Opener

Start by securing the door to prevent it from moving. Attach a locking pliers or a C-clamp above one of the rollers on the track. This step prevents the door from unexpectedly opening and causing injury. Ensure the garage door opener is not connected for safety.

For torsion springs, use a winding bar for safe loosening. Insert the bar into the winding cone of the intact spring, and carefully loosen the set screws. Brace yourself for the spring’s force as you do this. If working with extension springs, open the garage door fully to relieve tension.

Prop the door securely, and mark the pulley’s position for accurate reinstallation. Detach the spring from the track bracket and spring pulley, handling the safety cable with care.

To remove the torsion springs, stabilize the torsion tube with locking pliers on the center bracket. Loosen the set screws on the lift cable drums to disconnect the cables.

4. Install the New Cable and Springs

Installing the new garage door springs begins with threading the safety cable through the spring, and securely attaching it to the track bracket. Identifying the wind direction of each spring is crucial. This ensures that doors with two springs have both a left- and a right-hand spring for balanced operation.

Next, slide the replacement torsion spring onto the torsion shaft, making sure the stationary cone faces the center bracket. Reattach the cable drum, carefully aligning the garage door wire.

Reinsert the torsion shaft into the bearing bracket on the left side, preparing for the final steps of installation.

Adherence to these guidelines is essential to ensure that everything from the winding cone to the torsion springs is correctly positioned and secured.

5. Reconnect the Safety Cable and Pulley

Once the new garage door springs are in place, it’s time to reattach the safety cable and pulley, a key step in how to install garage door springs and cables. Ensure the wire from the pulley does not interfere with the safety cable, maintaining clear separation for smooth operation.

Refer back to the tape marking you made earlier to confirm the pulley is at the correct location. This careful attention to detail is crucial to ensure that everything from the garage door opener to the torsion springs works in harmony.

6. Test the Door

After installing the new garage door springs, it’s crucial to ensure everything operates smoothly. Stand back and use the garage door opener to test the door. Watch as it lifts and lowers, making any necessary adjustments until the movement is smooth and balanced.

Next, apply a quality garage door spray lubricant to the springs. This not only ensures their longevity but also contributes to a quieter, smoother operation. Pay special attention to the winding cone and torsion shaft.

Consider Hiring A Professional for Spring Installation

Installing garage door springs can be complex and risky without the right knowledge and tools. Many guides either lack detail or have too much information, leaving room for mistakes.

Professional services offer expertise, ensuring garage door torsion spring installations happen safely and efficiently.

If you’re considering how to install garage door extension springs and cables for the first time, it’s wise to consult with experts.

For top-notch service, check out our client’s offerings in garage door repair and spring replacement in Los Angeles, where safety and quality are a priority.

Experience Hassle-Free Garage Door Installation in Los Angeles

In this guide, we’ve explored the intricacies of how to install garage door springs, from selecting the right torsion springs to the precise use of winding bars. The process, while doable, carries risks and complexities best handled by professionals.

For those in Los Angeles seeking a hassle-free experience and peace of mind, professional installation is the way to go. Avoid the worry of a broken spring or incorrect installation by choosing experts who ensure safety and efficiency.

Considering a professional for your garage door opener and spring needs?

Visit Professional Garage Door Services to request a quote. Learn more about our specialized garage door repair and spring replacement in Los Angeles here, and see what our satisfied customers have to say by checking our testimonials.

Trust us to keep your garage door functioning smoothly and safely.

deep cleaning post construction before

FAQs About How to Install Garage Door Springs

Can you install a garage door spring yourself?

Yes, with the right tools like winding bars and knowledge of garage door springs, a skilled DIYer can tackle this task. However, considering the risks, consulting a professional is often recommended.

Which way does a garage door spring go?

The direction of a garage door torsion spring depends on its end pointing up; right-hand wind for the right side and left-hand wind for the left, ensuring balanced operation.

How do you know how much tension to put on a garage door spring?

Applying tension to a torsion spring requires careful adjustments using a winding bar. The goal is smooth and balanced lifting, typically requiring ¼ to ½ turns after the door feels supported.

How does spring attach to the garage door?

Torsion springs attach via the torsion shaft, secured by the center bracket and stationary cone. Extension springs connect to cables and pulleys, working alongside the garage door opener.

How tight should garage door springs be?

The springs should be tight enough to lift the door without strain. For torsion springs, this means precise tensioning to ensure the door opens smoothly and stays in place when opened halfway.