How to Adjust a Garage Door Spring

Garage door springs are so underrated. It is the garage door spring that counterbalances the weight of the garage door. This balance allows the garage door to be raised and lowered slowly with little effort. You don’t notice your springs when everything is working properly, but if there is a spring that is not adjusted properly, you will notice the door moving too fast, or not closing all the way. Depending on your style of garage door, you will have to deal with different types of spring. Fixing your own garage door spring can be very difficult or even dangerous, so it may be in your best interest to call a professional garage door repair technician in Schaumburg, Illinois.

If you feel you are mechanically inclined enough to try garage door spring repair yourself, then continue reading this post.


  1. The very first step to garage door spring replacement is knowing if you actually need to replace or adjust the springs. Most garage door springs have a lifespan of ten thousand cycles. A complete cycle is when the spring is stretched and then contracted. That means raising the door and then lowering it. If your door has met that number, it is best to replace the spring now. You do not want to wait for the spring to finally break while you are in the garage – this can be dangerous! If the spring is already broken, you may have to take a closer look to notice it. For instance, a torsion spring is wound around a rod; that rod keeps the spring from falling to the ground, so you may not immediately notice what is wrong until you look up and see that what was once one long spring is now two shorter springs. A torsion spring needs to be wound with a rod. It may be possible for the spring to become slightly unwound, affecting the operation of the door.
  2. That leads to the next step – identifying which spring you have in your garage. There are two types of garage door spring: torsion and extension. Extension springs are the easiest to adjust. If you have to adjust a torsion spring, it really may be a wise choice to call a professional. Extension springs come in pairs and are mounted on both sides of the door, parallel to the garage door track. There is a cable running inside them, and they stretch when the door is brought down. Torsion springs can either be in a one or two spring configuration and are mounted directly above the garage door, on the wall. These are great for longer doors. The smaller the door, the fewer torsion springs it will need. Large, heavy doors may require two torsion springs. Torsion springs twist along a rod in the center.
  3. Decide a plan of action. If the spring is not broken and does not need a full replacement, you will either need to tighten or loosen the torsion spring. If the garage door refuses to close all the way, opens too fast, or is really hard to close, the torsion spring is too tightly wound and needs to be loosened. On the flipside, if the door is too hard to open, closing dangerously fast, or can’t be raised completely, the torsion spring needs tightening.
  4. Equip yourself with the proper tools and safety equipment to get the job done. In order to be safe, you should have a hard hat, safety glasses, and work gloves. To adjust the torsion spring, you will need a pair of steel winding bars, a ladder, some masking tape, and a C-clamp. If you don’t have winding rods, you can find some steel bars that will fit into the spring winding cone. The most common size is a half inch diameter bar that is also at least 20 inches long. Whatever you do, do not just stick a tool into the holes of the winding cone!

How to Adjust a Torsion Spring:

Torsion Spring
  1. You must turn off and unplug the garage door opener before beginning with a torsion spring adjustment. With the garage door down, the spring will be under significant tension. This can get dangerous, so there is no shame in calling a professional garage door repair technician to perform your torsion spring adjustment for you. If you are going to do this yourself, make sure you have everything you need already inside the garage and that you have another way out if the door becomes completely immobile.
  2. Use your locking pliers or c-clamp to prop the door open. Just clamp them to the track on both sides of the door so the door will rest on top of them.
  3. Locate the winding cone. It will be on one end of the spring. You will see 4 holes spaced out on it, and two screws.
  4. Insert a winding rod into the bottom-most hole on the winding cone. Hold the cone still while you loosen the screws.
  5. Insert the winding rods into two holes near each other, making a 90-degree angle. Stand off to the side so that you are not directly in front of the spring. In the event of a spring break, you should be prepared to avoid the moving spring if necessary.
  6. Rotate the bars up to increase torsion spring tension. This is necessary if the garage door is coming down too fast or is really hard to raise up. Rotate the bars down if the opposite is happening. Do only a quarter turn and then test the door to see if that is enough.
  7. With the bottom bar in the whole, remove the other bar. Measure a quarter inch circumference and mark it with some tape. Then, make the turn in that direction.
  8. After the spring has been stretched, keep it where it is and tighten the screws. If you have two springs, repeat this on the other side.
  9. Remove the clamps and test the garage door.
  10. Once the torsion spring is properly adjusted, lubricate the spring, hinges, rollers and other metal-on-metal parts and do it every 6 months.

How to Adjust an Extension Spring:

Extension Spring
  1. The spring is under tension when the garage door is down, so first you must raise the door. If you have an automatic opener, unplug it and disconnect it from the door. You will then need to keep the door open since it is no longer connected to the opener. A c-clamp or some very strong pliers that can clamp will work. Just place them right underneath the door on the garage door tracks.
  2. The spring hook is holding onto the spring, so remove the spring from it and then move the hook either higher or lower to adjust the tension. It is held in place with a nut, so a wrench will be needed.
  3. There are several holes that the hook can be placed in, so you can try as many as you need to get the proper tension. Moving the hook higher will increase the tension and moving it lower will reduce it. Make sure you always adjust the springs on both sides evenly. If the door is not fully closing, that probably means you need to decrease the tension and lower the hook. If the garage door is difficult to open, try placing the hook in a higher hole.
  4. Once the springs are re-attached in their new position, remove the clamps and test the movement of the garage door. If It still has issues, make another one increment adjustment and test again.
Torsion Springs can be Dangerous

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