The springs on your garage door are not the only elements to its function, but they are one of the most crucial when it comes to your doors working safely and efficiently. Serious damage to property and injury can occur if anyone is nearby when they break. Here are the three biggest threats to garage door springs and what you can do to make them last longer.
Rust can happen in any climate, but the wetter areas are at a greater risk. The accumulation of water and moisture in your garage can lead to rusty springs because as water evaporates, it will collect on surfaces.
Rusty garage door springs are a recipe for failure. The rust itself creates friction against the spring and other moving parts, and the resulting corrosion weakens the metal over time. While you can't control the weather, you can do a couple of things to keep the inside of your garage dry:
- Wash away salt water (a natural corrosive) that's dripped from your car's carriage onto the floor.
- Keep your gutters clean and clear so rain water can properly drain.
- Maintain the weather stripping along the bottom of the garage door.
- Sweep out any water that accumulates along the garage floor.
- Routinely check for and repair any water leaks you find.
- Invest in a floor fan to help dry and circulate the air.
- Make sure your door closes all the way.
- Every 6 months, apply an anti-rust lubricant.
It's best to stick with lubricants specifically designed for garage doors, as certain other lubricants can strip the paint from your car if they drip down. Check with your garage door repair team for what's recommended. Some high-quality lubricants can offer protection for up to a year.
Whether you have torsion or extension springs, age will creep up on all the working parts of your garage door. First, it's important to examine the differences between the two types of springs. If you're not sure what kind you have, here are a few tips.
Torsion springs won't fully extend when the garage door opens, whereas extension springs do. Also, extension springs usually have a round loop or hook at the ends and tend to have a more "jerky" open. Torsion springs are less common but usually open more smoothly.
Torsion springs last about 15,000-20,000 cycles. If you leave your home two times a day on average, you can expect them to last about 20 years. Not a bad life expectancy, all in all. Extension springs, however, last around 10,000 cycles. So those who come and go about four times a day will only get about seven years out of the life of their extension springs.
You can't do anything to stop Father Time, so it's important to determine if your springs are aging prematurely. Pull the red release cord on the door so that you can open it manually, then lift the door several feet off the floor. If it starts to slowly slide down, this is a sign that your springs are showing their age. The best thing to do at that point is to have them replaced so that you don't have to worry about them breaking. Consider investing in extended-life torsion springs. They tend to last about four times longer than the others, surviving up to 100,000 cycles.
If you managed to survive high school chemistry without falling asleep, you might remember that cold causes matter to contract. Well, steel is no exception. When exposed to freezing temperatures, it becomes less flexible, more brittle, and therefore more susceptible to cracking. Cold steel can also collect condensation, which you know can lead to rusting. And all that lubrication you applied? Well, it loses its viscosity in cold weather—a double whammy.
Keeping your garage as warm and insulated as possible is the best way to protect your springs from breaking in cold weather. And some of the tricks that protect against rust formation, like quality weather stripping and ensuring your door closes all the way, can also keep your garage warm. You may want to also think about using a thermometer in your garage to monitor the temperature during the winter. Some homeowners opt to use a space heater on really frigid days and place insulation along the walls as well as the garage door panels.
For more information on garage door springs, check out websites like http://raynordoor.com/.