The tires on your car don’t last forever, and the same rings true for the torsion springs that help your garage door move up and down. Exactly how long yours will last depends on several factors, among them just how active you and your family are. If you live on your own and are a bit of a homebody, for example, you can expect your garage door springs to last a whole lot longer than if you are part of a family of six, and you have adults going to and from work and kids traveling to and from school and sports regularly.
So… how long?
So, as a general rule of thumb, you can expect that your springs will last for, on average, 10,000 cycles, with a “cycle” referring to each time the springs have to lift the door up and down. So, if all you typically do is go to work and come home, you’re only racking up two cycles per day – so that door might last 15 years or longer.
Options for “heavy” garage door users
If you know you fall into the “heavy usage” category when it comes to your garage door, you can avoid having to replace them regularly (the replacement process itself can prove dangerous, so it’s typically best left to a professional) by investing in some “extended life” torsion springs.
While it’s true they’ll run you about twice the price of standard models, they’ll last about four times as long – so, if you expect to work your way through 10,000 cycles in a year or two, it’ll save you considerable time and money in the long run to simply start with extended-life springs from the outset.
Rust: A common contributor to garage door spring failure
The bad news is, rust has the capacity to wreak havoc on your garage door springs. The good news is, taking some extremely simple preventative steps will extend their life a good bit and barely cost you any time or energy. All it takes a spray of WD-40 along the spring coils about every three months or so, and you can give your garage door’s life expectancy a serious boost. It keeps rust from building up on the springs, which causes corrosive damage and can ultimately kill the springs over time.
Testing your springs
Curious about how your own garage door springs are holding up? Take these steps to perform your own simple assessment.
1. Pull the emergency release cord (it has a red handle).
2. Lift the door up and down a few times by hand and listen for squeaking. If it happens, lubricate the door’s hinges.
3. Let the door hit the floor, and then lift it about two feet above the ground and release it.
If the door stays put, your springs are still functioning well. If, however, it starts to sag or lower itself, it’s time to consider some spring replacements.
We’ve updated a previous version of this article that was published in March 2013.