Garage Door Springs vs. Cables

Cables and springs are some of the most important components of a garage door system. Today, we’ll give you an overview of what they are, how they work, and why you shouldn’t attempt to repair either of them on your own unless you’re absolutely qualified.


Torsion cables run along each side of your garage door. Composed of strong, flexible metal, cables must have just the right amount of tension, or your garage door may not open (if there’s not enough) or close (if there’s too much). Cables are raised and lowered with a pulley system and wound or unwound around a drum as the door opens and closes. The cable falling off the drum or winding incorrectly around the drum are both common problems for homeowners. If either of these things happen, your door can become jammed. Call a technician to reattach the cable or wind it correctly around the drum for you.

Cables are under extreme tension, and when they get old or rusty, they can weaken and snap. Never cut the cable to get your door to go down or attempt to repair a damaged cable on your own. Call a technician for immediate assistance, and don’t attempt to operate your garage door under any of these conditions.


Torsion springs are wound tightly and contain an immense amount of stored energy when they aren’t being used. Typically situated horizontally above the garage door opening, they work with the cables and motor to open and close your garage door. The springs are what support the weight of your heavy door. When the door moves, the cables wind or unwind the springs, storing or releasing the energy required to raise or lower the door.

If a spring breaks (which it will, eventually), the pressure of lifting the garage door will be placed on the motor, forcing it to work very hard. This could result in serious damage to your garage door operator. That’s why it’s so important to fix a broken spring immediately; don’t operate your garage door if a spring is broken.

Most springs last an average of 5-7 years or 10,000 cycles. The more often you use your garage door, the more quickly they’ll wear out. If your torsion spring is broken, you might notice a gap in the coils. Do NOT attempt to replace the spring yourself. Don’t remove the old spring or get too close to a broken spring, either. Call a professional to handle the situation for you as soon as possible.

Wayne Dalton TorqueMaster Springs

When it’s time to replace your springs, consider TorqueMaster! The spring is housed in a steel tube instead of exposed, making it safer for consumers. When the spring breaks, it will be contained. Nevertheless, only trained professionals should replace or repair TorqueMaster springs, so if one breaks, call a technician. You can still seriously injure yourself working on this type of spring without the knowledge, experience, and specific tools necessary to do the job right.

Inspect your system; check for frayed cable, rust on the cable or the springs, and gaps in the springs. Call a garage door technician if you notice anything suspicious. WD Door provides garage door repair and installation services across the state of Iowa. Call us today for immediate assistance, or fill out our online form to request a quote.


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By |2023-04-18T11:40:04-05:00April 18th, 2023|

Help! My Garage Door Spring is Broken!

Fixing your broken garage door spring can be a costly repair to make. However, it’s something that everyone has to deal with eventually. Garage door springs don’t last forever, although you will find that properly maintaining your door’s spring will increase its life expectancy and save you money over time.

Why do garage door springs break?

Your garage door spring could break for a variety of reasons. It could break because of fluctuations in temperature, old age, rust, or because it hasn’t been maintained or adjusted properly over the years. On average, springs last around 6-10 years, or for about 10,000 cycles. A cycle includes a one-time opening and closing of the door. Of course, this can vary greatly, depending on how often you use your garage door, how well you maintain it, and the spring’s durability.

How can I tell if the spring is broken on my garage door?

If you notice any of the following signs, it likely means your spring is broken or needs to be repaired.

  • Your door is not closing all the way or doesn’t close evenly with the ground.
  • Your door won’t open when you use your automatic opener.
  • When you look at the spring, you can see that it has lost its tension.
  • If the spring snaps, the door could come crashing down suddenly. (Just hope that if this happens, no one or nothing is in its path.) If the spring breaks in this manner, it will make a very loud noise.

Note: The spring will likely break when the door is already down; however, it is possible that it could snap when the door is up, sending it crashing down as it breaks.

What do I do after the spring breaks?

Because of the potential danger involved here, do not attempt to move your door (no matter its position) if your spring has broken. Garage doors are extremely heavy to lift with no springs attached. Call WD Door for help.

How do I prevent this from happening again in the future?

To extend the lifespan of your door springs:

  • Purchase high-cycle torsion springs when replacing your current springs. (These likely won’t cost you much more than standard springs and could last many years longer.)
  • Only use your door when you have to. (Decrease the number of cycles over time.)
  • Have your door maintained regularly. (Have it inspected once every year to assure it runs smoothly.)
  • Lubricate the springs as recommended by your door manufacturer. (Use a non-silicone-based lubricant. A light-duty (10W-30) motor oil can be used on the springs.)

Can I replace the spring(s) on my own?

NO. We strongly advise you NOT to attempt to replace broken springs on your own. This can be very dangerous for anyone other than a professionally trained technician. Garage door springs are under extreme tension and have the potential to do a lot of harm and damage.

If you have a broken spring and need to have the problem fixed quickly, give us a call on our emergency, 24-hour service line: (515) 963-0989. To contact us for non-emergency service, email us here.

If you do have a broken spring, it can be replaced without having to replace your entire garage door. However, if you wait to replace your spring(s), your door may succumb to damage over time and may end up needing to be replaced entirely. If your door has two springs instead of one, think about replacing both of them, since they are probably on the same life cycle.

If you need a new spring or would like to replace your entire garage door, contact WD Door. We proudly serve customers around Iowa.

Check out our previous blog post, “8 Signs Your Broken Garage Door Needs to be Replaced.

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By |2023-01-18T16:51:48-05:00January 18th, 2023|

4 Ways Winter Impacts Your Garage Door

Winter in Iowa can wreak havoc on your skin and even cause your car to rust due to the amount of salt on the roads. It can also take a toll on your home, including your garage and its entire system.

The spring season is still months away, so it’s important to do your research and prepare your garage for several more weeks of snow and ice. Here are four ways wintertime impacts your garage, specifically the garage’s door.

1. The springs break.

Your garage door has either one or two springs, and if one or both wear out or break, your door could get bent, dented, or even stop operating altogether. These springs can only last for so long, and due to the effect cold temperatures have on metal, these can wear out relatively quickly.

If your garage door springs need to be replaced, do not fix it yourself as this is not a do-it-yourself project! Always call a professional to fix it for you. Garage doors weigh a ton, and it is too easy to get hurt if you don’t know how to properly repair it.

2. The garage door gets stuck.

Your door can freeze to the ground because moisture can get trapped between the bottom of your garage door and the ground. You can avoid this problem altogether by keeping the pathway clear of snow and ice so nothing accumulates, melts, or freezes in the area. If your weather strip is cracked or has holes in it, replace it as the strip isn’t effectively keeping moisture out. Regularly wipe the weather strip clear of sand, salt, and ice.

The door can also get stuck halfway up or down its track. The cold can cause grease to thicken, stopping the garage door from operating properly by knocking the rollers out of alignment and jamming the system. Use a solvent to remove the hardened grease and re-apply fresh lubricant to all moving parts of your garage door system.

3. The metal contracts.

Winter in the Midwest can be a rollercoaster of high and low temperatures. Metal contracts when temperatures dip suddenly, causing your garage door system to stop operating efficiently.

Applying fresh lubricant (but not too much!) is important throughout the winter season—this will help your door glide easily up and down the track. Try running a space heater in your garage to warm up the space and check that the opener’s safety sensors are aligned properly.

4. The opener sensors become dirty.

Your car, and your shoes, can carry a lot of grime into your garage. Snow, mud, salt, and sand can cause your garage’s photo-eye sensors to become dirty. If this happens, the sensors will view that dirt as an obstacle and prevent your door from opening or closing properly. A simple fix is regularly, and carefully, cleaning these sensors with a soft cloth.

You should perform monthly maintenance tasks to keep your garage door running smoothly. Contact WD Door to help you get your garage door and its entire system prepared for the rest of the winter season. Subscribe to our blog today for more information on how to keep your garage door in tip-top shape.

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By |2023-01-19T15:46:21-05:00January 10th, 2023|

Garage Door Damage Horror Stories

Many homeowners use their garage as their home’s main entry and exit. This means the garage door is opened and closed practically every day, probably more than once. With this kind of usage, the garage door and system can easily become worn or damaged. In the same vein, many businesses (car washes, auto dealerships, firehouses, and more) need their commercial garage doors to work properly in order for their business to thrive as well as to provide security and energy efficiency.

When a home or business owner notices even the smallest issue with their garage door, they should never wait to address it. Catching problems early enables garage door systems to run in top shape for as long as possible. Waiting too long or attempting a DIY fix can result in even bigger, more costly problems.

Don’t let your garage door damage become a horror story! Avoid these two major mistakes to keep your door in good shape and yourself out of harm’s way.

DIY Repairs

Some minor maintenance, like cleaning and aligning photo eyes or tightening hardware, can be repaired by most home or business owners. However, attempting a do-it-yourself garage door fix could cause more serious damage to your door or worse—result in injury. Not only are garage doors extremely heavy, but they are also under an incredible amount of tension and pressure. So, if you try to replace a spring or get a door back on its tracks by yourself, you run a serious risk of making the damage worse or hurting yourself or someone else as the door comes crashing down.

If you aren’t specifically trained and familiar with each component of your garage door system, you can make small issues into scary ones. Reaching out to a garage door expert keeps you and those around you safe from such mishaps. When in doubt, always call a professional.

Neglecting Preventive Maintenance

Most business owners are pulled in several directions all at once, every day. A preventive maintenance program is immensely helpful in keeping commercial garage doors running smoothly—especially when employees are too busy to notice issues as they arise. A maintenance program should provide regular visual inspections and routine maintenance, and many also include extra perks like discounts and priority scheduling. Participating in a maintenance program is a simple way to protect your business’ investment by addressing minor problems before they undermine the structural integrity of the entire system and cause irreparable damage.

What happens if you neglect regular maintenance? Hardware gets loose, tracks rust, and springs become worn or damaged over time. Without regular inspections, no one may notice these problems until they cause serious damage. You can easily prevent these horrific outcomes by enrolling in a preventive maintenance program and keeping every appointment.

Don’t let garage door damage scare you! For more tips on how to keep your door maintained or what to do if it needs a repair, subscribe to our blog.

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By |2023-01-19T17:17:23-05:00August 26th, 2022|

8 Signs Your Broken Garage Door Needs to Be Replaced

Do you have an old, damaged, or broken garage door? Maybe you’ve been considering either replacing or repairing your door for a while but are unsure which would achieve the best and most cost-effective results. We’re here to help you. Today, we’ll be discussing several signs that suggest you should repair or replace your current garage door.

1. Your door has noticeable dings and dents.

Dents in your door can greatly detract from the curb appeal of your home. Sometimes dents can be removed. Other times, your entire door may need to be replaced.

2. Your wood door has cracks, holes, peeling paint, or is beginning to rot.

If your garage door is showing any of these signs, you may want to consider replacing it. If wooden doors aren’t maintained and refinished regularly, they can begin to deteriorate. UV rays from the sun can cause fading over time. The paint and finish can also wear down, and the wood may begin to rot. Moisture infiltration into holes or cracks can result in serious and irreversible damage.

3. Your door is old.

If you have an older garage door, it may not be well insulated. This is especially problematic if your garage is attached to your home. Insulated garage doors will improve your overall energy efficiency and lower your energy bills by keeping the home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

4. Your door is beginning to sag.

If your door sags, it likely needs to be replaced. Wood doors especially can begin to sag over time if not properly maintained. Once your wooden door starts to sag, it usually means it’s beginning to rot and deteriorate, and there’s not much you can do to fix it. If your door isn’t made of wood and is sagging, have a professional come out and inspect it to determine the source of the problem and the best action to take.

5. Your door shakes or makes a lot of noise when operating.

If your door doesn’t run smoothly when opening and closing, chances are there are some broken parts that need to be fixed or replaced.

6. Your door has broken parts, wires, or cords.

Some parts that break can be easily replaced. If the bottom section of the door is damaged, however, your entire door probably needs replacing. If the wiring is malfunctioning, it could lead to serious injury due to the tremendous force that can be exerted as the door closes. Make sure you contact a professional to inspect and repair your system if this is the case.

7. Your door is very difficult to open and close.

Over time, the parts that allow your door to operate smoothly can wear out. If it’s harder than it should be to open and close your door, something isn’t right. Have your door professionally inspected, or you will be putting extra stress on it that could cause greater damage.

8. Your door won’t open or close on its own, or it has a slow response time.

Your door should begin operating within a couple of seconds after you press the button on your opener. If there is a delay, something is wrong with either your door or your opener. A number of issues may cause your door not to operate at all on command. Make sure nothing is blocking your door, preventing it from opening or closing. If not, contact a professional.

If you are unsure whether you should replace or repair your garage door, contact WD Door, and we’ll inspect your system for you. We will diagnose the problems and present you with detailed pricing up front so you know exactly what to expect.

Contact us for all your broken garage door needs! We provide both residential and commercial garage door service to Ankeny, Des Moines, West Des Moines, Ames, and many of the surrounding areas.

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By |2023-01-20T09:43:38-05:00August 26th, 2022|

Is it Safe to Use a Dented Garage Door?

The August derecho left much of Iowa in a state of disarray, causing lengthy recovery efforts in numerous communities. If you who suffered damage to your home, you may be wondering what repairs still need to be done or if you can ignore the ones you’ve already noticed—including those on your garage door.

If your garage door is dented, don’t make the mistake of pushing the repair off until later. If you hear or see anything that isn’t quite right, there could be more extensive damage to the garage door’s system that needs your attention, or that of a professional technician, sooner than later.

Should I operate my garage when the door is dented?

As a homeowner, it’s natural to want everything to look great and operate perfectly. If a dent is the only damage your garage door sustained—and if repairing it isn’t financially possible right away—repairs can wait. But how can you tell if the damage needs immediate attention?

Examine your garage door and its entire system very carefully, and consider these questions.

  • Is the dent just a small ding, or is it large and covering most of a door panel?
  • Does the door now make a lot of noise when it is opened or closed and does damage prevent it from opening or closing all the way?
  • Is the door lopsided or not quite fitting in the track correctly?
  • Does it seem like the operating system is working too hard to keep things running?

These could all be signs that there is more wrong than meets the eye. If the dent seems extensive, or the answer to many of those questions is “yes,” then it is probably time to call a professional to assess the damage and repair the door or get it replaced.

How do I open my door when it’s broken?

Many people use their attached garage as the main point of entry and exit for their homes. If your car was in the garage when the damage was inflicted on the door, you can manually open and close the door in order to get your car out.

However, once you have access to your car, close up your garage and don’t operate the door again until it can be looked over by a technician. Not only could you be risking more damage being done to the door, but this is also a security and safety issue. If the door isn’t closed all the way, anyone could easily get into your garage. If you lose control of the door when you are trying to manually open it, it could come crashing down on top of you or anything else in its way.

Is it safe to fix my garage door myself?

In most cases, your best option is to call a professional to help you fix whatever problem you’re having with your garage door. While there are some DIY repairs, like lubricating components or aligning the operator’s photo eyes, it’s important to know your limits. There are several things that could be wrong with your garage door, especially if it isn’t operating smoothly or isn’t opening or closing all the way. If your garage door springs need to be replaced or the tracks are bent or rusted, trying to repair these problems by yourself can result in you getting hurt or making the damage much worse.

Garage doors are extremely heavy and operate under tremendous amounts of tension and pressure. Qualified garage door technicians are trained to fix issues as they arise and know how to properly handle the garage door system. Reaching out to an expert can help you avoid wasting your time and money—and, most importantly, keep you safe.

If your garage door suffered damage from a storm or other event and you have been putting off repairs, reach out to a professional as soon as you can. For more garage door tips and advice, subscribe to our blog!

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By |2023-01-20T11:57:26-05:00October 6th, 2020|

4 Tips to Prepare Your Garage for Summer

It’s hard to believe, but summer is right around the corner! While a break from the cold may be nice, warmer weather tends to be hard on your home—especially your garage door. Heat gets trapped inside your garage and makes things expand, causing wear on the springs and tracks within your garage door system. Here are four tips to help you prepare and protect your garage from a potentially damaging summer.

Insulate Your Garage

Protect your garage door, and whatever you store in your garage, during the hot summer months by adding insulation to the walls and door, or by replacing your door with an insulated one. This will help keep the inside of your garage at a comfortable temperature all year round and ensure animals and insects don’t get inside. Insulating your garage can also keep your energy bills down!

Bonus tips: keep your garage cool by opening the windows (if you have any) or opening your garage door a few feet. Consider setting up and turning on fans to circulate the air; you could even install a ceiling fan. If you’re feeling up to a home improvement project, paint your garage a lighter color, as darker shades absorb heat.

Cover Photo Eye Sensors

Sunlight is a wonderful mood booster, but it can also have a negative effect on your garage door. Direct sun can trick the photo eye sensors on your garage door system into thinking an object is obstructing the door. You’ll know this is happening if the garage door only partially opens or shuts when you operate it during warmer months.

To prevent sunlight from streaming directly into the photo eyes, use cardboard to create a sort of sun visor for them. If your garage door still isn’t working properly, contact a professional to come inspect the rest of the system and potentially repair anything that needs to be fixed.

Perform Regular Maintenance

With a Midwest summer also comes high levels of humidity. Not only can this make you feel like you just got out of the pool when you step outside, but it can also impede the motion of your garage door. If you find that your door is sticking, humidity could be the reason.

A simple fix is to lubricate the garage door system on a regular basis, particularly during the summer when humidity is high. Again, if the door still isn’t smoothly gliding along the track as it should even after lubrication, contact a professional for assistance.

Prepare for Summer Storms

The summer can be a turbulent time when it comes to storms. Severe storms sometimes result in power outages, which means your garage could be without power for an unknown amount of time. This is why it’s important to know how to operate your garage door manually and consider installing a backup battery to keep your door running when you lose electricity.

If your residential garage door needs to be replaced or repaired before summer really sets in, get help from an expert. Subscribe to our blog for more home repair advice, and contact us today to learn how we can help you prep for an Iowa summer!

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By |2023-01-20T12:09:52-05:00May 4th, 2020|

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