Overhead Door Company of Birmingham Blog

"Help! My garage door only opens a couple of inches and stops!"

Posted by Ali Tyler on Wed, Oct 01, 2014 @ 01:07 PM


This is another very common problem we hear described by customers. Unfortunately this problem is not usually a do-it yourself fix like the safety photo sensors we talked about in a previous blog post. However, we can talk about how to diagnose the problem so you'll be knowledgeable about the issue when placing a service call.

FIRST: Try to operate the garage door manually

This helps you determine if the problem is related to the door or the motor.

The garage door can be operated manually by disconnecting the garage door opener from the door using the red pull cord.

garage door disconnect

If the door is working properly it should be easy to lift by hand. This indicates that the springs (torsion springs in the case of the photo above) are working properly and are not the issue.

SECOND: If the door DOES NOT open manually...

We will now want to take a look at the garage door springs. There are two different types of springs for garage doors:

  1. Torsion spring(s): wound up above the garage door with a bar through the center of the springs.garage door torsion spring
    • Good Torsion Spring
               broken torsion spring
    • Broken Torsion Spring

  • Extension springs: stretch out or extend on either side of the garage door above the track

garage door extension spring  

Good Extension Spring


broken extension spring

Over-extended extension spring - notice the warped coils

THIRD: If you do see a broken or warped spring call Overhead Door Company of Birmingham

Garage door springs can be very dangerous to work with. We do sell them over the counter but ask that you bring in the old spring when you come so that we can match it exactly. This also shows that you understand how to properly handle the spring(s), although we still have you sign a waiver stating that you understand the dangers involved.

If your springs seem to be in good shape, there are a number of other options 

Once you begin to identify these springs and see what condition they are in, you should be able to know a little more about why your garage door has stopped working and what type of service is needed to get the garage door working again!



Tags: broken torsion spring, garage door disconnect, broken extension spring, garage door won't open