4 Common Issues That Lead To Garage Door Spring Failure
Of all the items that could possibly fail on your garage door, the springs rank as one of the most common. It's not unusual for garage door springs to catastrophically fail without warning. Such a failure not only renders your garage door unusable until it's properly repaired, but it also puts you and others in your home in danger.
If you're wondering what causes your garage door springs to fail prematurely, read on. The following should help shed some light on the most common root causes of spring failure.
Excessive Wear and Tear
Garage door springs are predestined for failure the moment they're installed on your garage door. Each opening and closing cycle brings your springs closer to their failure point, which most manufacturers estimate at around 10,000 cycles. In ordinary language, that means you can expect your garage door springs to last for roughly 7 to 10 years under ordinary conditions.
But not every household uses their garage door in an ordinary fashion. The 10,000-cycle estimate is based on the average homeowner using their garage door up to three times a day. If you use your garage door more often, then it may be on the road to premature failure.
If you're constantly giving your garage door a workout, consider a set of high-cycle springs for your next replacement. These springs can handle a greater number of cycles over their life span, making them less likely to prematurely fail due to overuse. However, high-cycle springs usually cost more than your standard garage door springs.
Rust is the ever-present enemy of all things metal, especially cast-iron and steel components bereft of any anti-rust or anticorrosion protection. Your garage door springs are no exception, especially if you stick with traditional oil-tempered springs. Rust eats away at the metal, slowly weakening the spring until it suddenly fails without warning.
Garage door springs can gradually accumulate rust over the course of their service life, but a combination of high relative humidity and exposure to salts can speed up that process considerably. Even galvanized zinc garage door springs can deteriorate under certain circumstances.
The appearance of rust buildup can spell a short service life for your garage door springs. Fortunately, you can prevent rust buildup simply by keeping your springs properly lubricated and avoiding situations that could cause rust to form. Balancing the relative humidity inside your garage while avoiding road salt and other materials used to deice roads can also help. Once rust starts building up on your garage door spring, however, a complete replacement is usually needed.
Another reason why garage door springs often fail prematurely is due to lack of proper maintenance. Good maintenance can help your garage door last for a lifetime, but skipping crucial inspections and essential maintenance work can doom your garage door and its various components to a short, hard life. You can forget to lubricate your garage door springs, for example, but skipping this important maintenance task can doom your springs to excessive wear and eventual rust buildup.
Most experts recommend you inspect and maintain your garage door on an annual basis. In addition, you should also test its safety features monthly to prevent potential injuries and ward against sudden failure.
If you live in a region where extreme heat or extreme cold is common, those temperatures can have a surprising effect on your spring's overall longevity. Constant exposure to extreme cold, for instance, can induce embrittlement in most metals. This phenomenon causes the spring to move with a slower, stiffer motion, and it can even lead to a sudden breakage once enough forces are applied to the spring.
Extreme heat can also cause certain metals with a relatively low melting point to soften, which also weakens the structural integrity of the metal spring. Not only does the spring have the potential to deform under these conditions, but the intense heat can also lead to accelerated wear and eventual failure of the spring under a load.
For more information, get in touch with a technician who offers garage spring repairs.