An integral part of an overhead rolling garage door system is the spring (or springs) that serves to assist either manual or mechanized opening and closing of the overhead door. There are two types of spring systems: a torsion spring system in which a single coiled spring running parallel to the door serves to counter to weight of the door; and an extension spring system in which two springs, one on either side of the door running parallel to the overhead door traces, does the work.
In either case, the springs are part of the door system itself, and not part of the automatic garage door opener. The cost of replacing the springs can range from about $50 if you do the work yourself, or up to $400 for a professional replacement. Before you opt for the cheaper route, though, consider all the issues.
The Function of Garage Door Springs
Torsion springs and extension springs are kept under enormous pressure when the door is shut to help assist it upwards when you want to open it. With torsion springs, this pressure is created by the springs being tightly coiled and compressed, usually by a metal cable drum that tightens the spring as the door is lowered. With extension springs, the pressure is created when the springs running parallel to the overhead tracks are stretched out when the door is lowered Without the springs, a garage door, which can weigh several hundred points, is nearly impossible to lift and lower, either by hand or by the relatively small electric motors found on mechanical garage door openers. Lowering a garage door without springs is a dangerous affair, in which the door can easily slam down violently.
In many installations, the garage door springs can last as much as 30 years, but like any moving metal part, garage door springs will eventually wear out or break due to fatigue. When one of the spring breaks, your garage door will cease to operate properly. If you operate the garage door by hand, you'll notice that the door begins to feel very heavy to lift, or it may slam down hard when you close it. If you have an automatic garage door opener, the electric motor may stop working properly, unable to handle the weight.
DIY Replacement or Professional Repair?
Both torsion and extension springs are relatively affordable parts, usually selling for under $50 per pair. This makes DIY replacement seem like a pretty good option, but be aware that you may also need other tools in order to do that job safely. And if done by amateurs working without proper knowledge, serious injury can occur when replacing garage door springs. These metal parts operate under great pressure, so make sure you read directions carefully and follow them exactly if you choose to do this work yourself.
Cost of Professional Replacement
The costs to repair your garage door springs will depend on the condition of your garage, the type of garage door you have, the type of springs required, where you live, and which company is performing the job. Nationally, the average cost to have a professional replace a pair of garage springs is from $200 to $400. Like any service work, the cost of this repair is a matter of supply and demand—where labor is cheap and there are an ample number of businesses who do this work, costs will be lower. Keep in mind that while only one spring may have broken, springs are mounted in pairs; if one has broken the other may also be worn and should be replaced at the same time.
To get an accurate cost, place a service call to two or three different companies in your area compare quotes.
Cost of DIY Replacement
Estimating the cost of replacing the springs yourself is slightly less straightforward than estimating the cost of professional replacement. This is because there are several factors to consider when coming up with the final price, and not all of them are monetary.
- Cost of the springs. Garage door springs themselves are fairly inexpensive. They can usully be purchased from online retailers or a big-box home improvement center for less than $50 per set. Be sure to take a old spring with you to the store, or jot own all the specifications, to ensure that you get an exact replacement.
- Cost of other tools. It doesn't take a lot of tools or equipment to change a garage door spring, but it does require some things such as a clamp to hold the door in place while you change it, and safety goggles and gloves to help ensure you do it safely. The cost of these items needs to be factored into the door spring replacement cost, as well. If you don't have a step stool or step ladder, you'll need to buy or borrow one of those, as well.
- Cost of time. Replacing the garage door springs is not a very difficult job, but it does take time, particularly if this is the first time you've done it: the time it takes you to find and purchase the correct spring and tools for the job; the time it takes you to familiarize yourself with the door and the springs and learn the procedure; and finally, the time it takes you and a helper to replace the springs are all aspects of the total cost for this repair job. It's not uncommon for a DIYer to take a full weekend to do this project so carefully consider how much you value the time you'll spend.
The Bottom Line
When determining the costs of replacing your garage door springs, don't forget to factor in the many different components as you weigh your decision. While you might well be able to do the job yourself in a weekend for $50 to $75, you may decide that the convenience and confidence that comes from having a pro do the work for $200 or $300 in a fraction of the time is well worth the extra cost.