Can you manually open a garage door with a broken spring?

Posted Monday, August 15th, 2022




Garage doors with broken springs should not be opened. Doors in this condition can be difficult to lift because the garage door opener loses the support springs provide in lifting and lowering the door. The springs are designed as counterweights to the door helping keep it stable and in balance when the operator attempts to open or close the door. Without the spring, the door essentially has nothing to support its weight. 

We don’t recommend attempting to open a garage door with a broken spring but sometimes it’s an absolute emergency. If you can’t wait for a garage door technician to arrive use the steps below to open your garage door. Exercise extreme caution when opening the door in this manner and if possible have someone assist you. 

If you have a garage door emergency, give us call 24x7x365 and we’ll send one of our certified Seattle home garage door repair technicians to assist you.

Kent (253) 887-9135 Shoreline (206) 632-0533

Opening a garage door with a broken spring is dangerous. Garage doors are heavy. All automatic garage door openers have some type of spring system that acts as a counterbalance to the weight of the door. The springs provide additional support to the cables and trolley as the door opener works to open and close the door. The door opener isn’t meant to carry the weight of the door, it’s the springs that do that so when the springs are damaged or broken, operating the door is risky.


Even if the door is opening and closing, every time the door is in operation there is a chance it will come crashing down despite any safety sensors. You don’t want yourself, another person, a pet, or a vehicle to be under the door when it falls. 

Operating the automatic opener can also damage other parts of the door system, it can cause:

  • Broken or burnt-out gears
  • Broken chains or belts
  • Bend the rails

Can I Open My Garage Door if the Spring is Broken?

The final answer is Yes. Is it recommended? No.
Do not attempt to open the door especially not with the automatic opener. 

How Do I Know the Spring Is Really Broken?

There are a few ways to tell if your garage door springs are broken. 

  1. You can see a break in the spring
  2. You heard a loud popping sound coming from the garage
  3. The garage door won’t open

The first is obvious, you can see a visible break in the spring. There are two primary types of garage door springs, torsion springs, and extension springs. Torsion springs are located above the garage door opening and extension springs are near the tracks on either side of the door. If you don’t see either of these you probably have a Wayne Dalton TorqueMaster system, it’s still a torsion spring but it’s hidden in a metal tube over the door opening.

The next way to tell you probably have a broken spring is if you heard a loud pop like a firecracker. That’s the sound of the spring breaking. If you hear the break and can enter the garage from an interior door you can go inside to confirm the break. The spring is likely to break while in operation but that’s not always the case.

The final way to tell if the spring is broken is that the door won’t open. You’ll be able to hear the door opener motor working and may see some movement but it’s unlikely the door will open without the support of the spring(s).

Can My Garage Door Springs be Repaired?

No. Garage door springs cannot be repaired. Springs begin to wear down the moment they are first used and so they can never return to their previous state, especially not after a break.

If your springs are broken, they need to be replaced and if the door system has multiple springs it’s best to replace them all, even if just one is broken. 

How to Open a Garage Door with a Broken Spring

Lifting the door manually is not recommended but it is possible. If you decide to open the door manually use extreme caution garage doors are heavy and they feel heavier without working springs. When possible have another person assist in lifting the door. We don’t recommend attempting to open the door alone unless it is absolutely necessary.

  1. Begin by unplugging the garage door opener and pulling the emergency release cord (ERC). 
  2. Lift the garage door straight up from the bottom at the center of the door
  3. You don’t have springs for support anymore, you’ll need to secure the door up with something. This is where a partner comes in handy. Have your partner secure clamps on each track under the door, the clamps should prevent the door from falling. You can also try setting ladders or 2x4s under the door.

Always be aware of your surroundings, watch your fingers, and make sure kids, pets, and anyone who isn’t helping is away from the garage. 

Need to open the door from the outside?

To lift the garage door open you need to disengage the door from the trolley by pulling the emergency release cord inside the garage. The easiest option is to get in through a man’s door, if you’re locked out of the house this can be a problem. Check the closed garage door, some garage doors have an emergency release at the top center of the door. You can disengage the release with a key. 

If you can’t access the garage by the door or emergency release, try a window or contact a professional immediately. 

For Help Replacing Your Springs Contact a Pro

Schedule an inspection or replacement service with a trusted garage door company.  For service from the friendliest garage door experts in the Seattle area, contact our team at Cressy Door. We build, service, and install garage doors in the Puget Sound. We invite you to learn more about our company, services, and products by exploring our website.  Questions, or concerns or would like to request a free estimate, give us a call today. 

Kent (253) 887-9135 Shoreline (206) 632-0533