How to Open a Garage Door With a Broken Spring: Step-By-Step Guide

Here’s an interesting fact: even though garage doors are essential, we only appreciate them when they stop functioning. Most people don’t realize that maintaining the garage doors is key to their longevity. And due to constant use, they will eventually snap out. When this happens, will you be able to operate them with a broken spring?

You can open a garage door with a broken spring by disconnecting the garage opener from the door, opening the door, and lifting it until it rests on the horizontal rails. You should, however, first determine whether the garage door has torsion or extension springs.

If you’re having difficulty opening a garage door with broken springs, this post is for you. It highlights how you can determine whether the main issue with your garage door is a broken spring and a step-by-step process of opening it.

How to Tell if Your Garage Door has a Broken Spring

Springs tensioning the garage door mechanism

If your garage door is not working correctly, your spring is likely to blame, and you can determine this using two main ways:

Difficulty opening the doors: If you try to lift your garage door and it doesn’t open easily, it’s a sign that the spring is broken. This is especially true if the opener motor is running, but the door can’t move.  

A loud banging sound (like a firecracker) coming from your garage: This often indicates that the spring was under tension and snapped with force.

Can You Open a Garage Door With a Broken Spring?

You can open a garage door with a broken spring even though it’s risky.

Since the garage door opener loses the support springs that lift and lower the door, raising the door in this condition won’t be easy. The springs act as counterweights, keeping the door stable and balanced. Therefore the garage door cannot support its weight without the spring.

How Do You Open a Garage Door With a Broken Spring?

If you must open a garage door with a broken spring, you should do it manually.

  1. First, seek assistance. A second person will help you open the garage door faster and protect you from injuries.
  2. Disconnect the garage door opener from the door. You can use a rope connected to the opener and then pull on it to disengage the mechanism.
  3. Open the door with extreme caution. Lift it like any other heavy object – don’t lift with your back, keep an eye on your fingers, and don’t let it fall on your feet.

The Two Types of Springs in Your Door:  

Torsion Springs

Torsion springs (on Amazon) are usually placed across the top of the door (often older or two-way doors) to do the heavy lifting. The most common types are heavy-gauge springs, usually mounted on a heavy metal rod. They are often located on the inside wall parallel to the door, about a foot above it.

Most garage door spring systems have two springs, which means both springs breaking simultaneously is quite rare. As a result, the system’s lifting capacity is reduced by 50%.

Here’s how you can replace broken torsion springs.

Step 1: Lifting power manually. This is the quickest option to replace the broken springs, and you should bring your garage door opener remote (on Amazon).

If the door is too heavy to even slightly open, you should consult an expert because when one garage door spring breaks, the other will likely follow suit. The remaining spring will also attempt to perform double duty, and if it’s weakened by wear and tear or age, it may also break unexpectedly.

If this happens while the door is being manually lifted, the door will become twice as heavy in an instant, posing a serious injury risk.  

Step 2: If your door starts to lift, grab the lock handle for support. Since most garage doors don’t have additional lifting handles on the inside, you should have an extra person outside the door. This will enable them to lift with a better grip using the outer handle.

Please DO NOT put your fingers between the panels as the door will crush them immediately after it straightens. It will also likely struggle as it lifts. So allow just enough lifting force to raise the door and hinder your opener from attaining its lifting capacity and suddenly stopping.

As soon as the door is open, let your helper hold it while you place locking pliers (on Amazon) or C-clamps on the track. And, to prevent any unintended movement, secure them to the track beneath the last roller on the door’s sides.

Extension Springs

The extension springs (on Amazon) are located along the rails on either side of the door and help counterbalance the door’s weight as it is raised or lowered. However, they are less common than torsion springs, but they have the same lifting mechanism.

Step 1: You’ll need to have your remote with you while the opener is still connected for this step. As the door begins lifting, hold the opener with your hand until the door is fully open.

Step 2: Place locking pliers or C-clamps (on Amazon) beneath the last roller on both sides to prevent unintentional movement while your helper controls the door.

Although extension spring doors are smaller and lighter than torsion spring doors, they are still dangerous, so make sure you have some assistance at hand just in case.

Alternative step

Man pulls the release cord to a garage door opener

This step is beneficial if you have a standard single seven or 8-foot hollow aluminum door.

Pull the emergency release cord down and back while the door is still closed to disengage it from the opener track (on Amazon). This cord runs along the opener’s rail near the door. It’s often red, has a handle, and hangs from the rail.

The door is now completely free of the opener and can move around quickly, so you can try to lift it (with help). You should, however, note that since the door is free, you can fall if you lose your grip. So could you find a way to keep it in control?

Pro Tip: If you have a double door that won’t move with the opener, it may be due to the door flexing rather than the weight. Large doors, especially aluminum and steel, tend to get stuck in the track if pressure is applied unevenly. If the door is light enough, get the help of enough adults to lift it at various points to reduce the friction caused by the door’s flex.