Garage door components work hard, so they occasionally break down and need repair or replacement. Not only that, but the door itself is vulnerable to the elements and sometimes needs repainting. While some repairs can be made while the garage door is in place, removing the garage door is necessary with major repairs or replacement.
Before You Begin
Garage doors use either an extension spring or a torsion spring as a counterbalance to help the electric motor raise the door. It's important to identify the type of spring system on your garage door because it affects door removal.
- Extension springs: Garage door extension springs run perpendicular to the garage door along each side of the garage. Extension springs pull the garage door up.
- Torsion springs: Garage door torsion springs run parallel to and above the garage door. Torsion springs turn or twist (rather than pull) to help raise the garage door. To remove torsion springs, you will need to purchase a pair of steel winding bars.
A double-wide metal sectioned garage door weighs over 200 pounds. Due to the weight of the door and the spring's stored energy, garage door removal can also be very dangerous. Uncontrolled release of the springs can result in serious injury. Removing a garage door is a precise, orderly process. Remove the door without skipping or reversing steps. Wear safety glasses when removing the garage door.
Equipment / Tools
- 2 C-clamps or locking pliers
- Spring winding bars, set (for torsion springs only)
- Wrench set
- Safety glasses
- 2 scrap two-by-fours
When using any method of removing the garage door, first unplug the garage door opener motor to prevent the door from accidentally opening or closing when you are working on it. Make sure that you leave yourself with full access to both sides of the garage door when the door is closed—for example, through the house.
How to Loosen a Garage Door Torsion Spring
Clamp Door in Down Position
Close the garage door. Attach locking pliers or C-clamps on each side of the door on the track to hold the door in place.
Place First Winding Bar
Place one winding bar in a hole on the bottom of the torsion spring tube. The bar should be resting against the garage door header.
Stand to the side of the winding bar.
Loosen Set Screws
Use the wrench to loosen the set screws on the spring tube.
Place Second Winding Bar
Place the second winding bar in a hole in the spring tube 90 degrees to the first bar.
Unwind Torsion Spring One-Quarter Turn
Firmly grasping the second winding bar, remove the first winding bar. The spring will rotate counter-clockwise. Control the rotation with the second winding bar. Let the spring rotate (or loosen) one-quarter turn until the second winding bar is resting against garage door header.
Finish Loosening Spring
Repeat the previous process of trading winding bars and unwinding the spring in quarter turns until the spring has no more tension.
How to Remove a Garage Door Extension Spring
Clamp Door in Up Position
Raise the garage door. Lock the door in place with locking pliers or C-clamps. Rest a couple of scrap two-by-fours under the door.
Detach the wire cable at both sides of the garage door.
Remove Spring and Cable
The extension spring should now have no tension. Detach the spring and attached cable.
Working with two assistants, hold the garage door in place with one assistant and have the other assistant unclamp the pliers or C-clamps.
Lower Garage Door
With at least one assistant, slowly lower the garage door onto the two-by-four resting blocks.
Garage doors are heavy! Use extreme caution when lowering the door after the springs are detached. Garage doors start light when you begin lowering them, then become progressively heavier the lower they get. Also, keep fingers clear of the two-by-four resting blocks.
How to Remove Garage Door Panels
Assess Garage Door
From the inside of the garage, take note of the garage door construction. Garages tend to be composed of four or five sections that stack vertically. Roller hinges hold the door in the track and keep adjacent panels attached. Center hinges help hold adjacent panels together.
Detach First Two Panels
Start with the top two panels. Use the wrench set to loosen the bolts on all of the hinges that hold the two panels together. Remove the hinges.
Remove Top Panel
With an assistant, lift the top panel away and set it aside.
Remove Rest of Panels
Repeat the previous process of removing adjacent panels until all four or five panels have been removed.
When to Call a Professional
Garage doors that employ a torsion spring are more difficult to remove than doors that use an extension spring. Yet either type of spring system is dangerous in its own way: winding bars on torsion springs can fly back at the user with great force and extension springs themselves can become projectiles. So, in the interests of safety, you may want to have a garage door technician remove the garage door.