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How to Adjust the Spring Tension on an Overhead Door

Paul Massey

Overhead doors are installed with steel springs that use dynamic tension to assist the door’s opener lift the door’s weight. Tension on the coil springs is increased when the door is closed and released during opening.

An overhead door that stutters or stalls during opening is an indication of spring fatigue and a simple tension adjustment will typically restore the overhead door’s smooth functioning.

  1. Disconnect the garage door opener from the power source. For corded models, unplug the power cord from the ceiling outlet and for hardwired units, turn the power off at the main breaker panel.

  2. Disengage the garage door’s emergency release latch from the drive track. Pull downward on the latch rope or chain to release the garage door’s lift arm.

  3. Position a stable stepladder to access the end of the right-side door spring located above the door on the torsion rod. Insert a cone winding bar into the lowest accessible hole in the cylindrical clamp on the end of the spring, referred to as the “spring cone.” Grip and hold the outer end of the cone winding bar firmly.

  4. Release the set screw securing the spring cone by turning the screw counterclockwise using a one-quarter-inch Allen wrench. The door springs are under heavy tension and the cone winding bar should be held firmly in place as the set screws are loosened. Some types of spring cones are secured with a hex bolt and are released by turning the bolt counterclockwise using an adjustable wrench.

  5. Lift the cone winding bar upward and insert the matching cone winding bar into the next lowest accessible hole in the spring cone. Hold the lower cone winding bar firmly and remove the upper cone winding bar.

  6. Repeat Step 5 to increase tension on the door spring. When the desired tension is reached, hold the cone winding bar in place and retighten the set screw or hex bolt, whichever is applicable.

  7. Repeat Steps 3 through 6 to adjust the left-side tension spring for double-spring doors.

  8. Pull the emergency release latch’s rope to re-engage the latch into the door opener’s drive track.

  9. Restore power to the door opener.

  10. Tip

    Overhead door spring cone winding bars are available in a range of sizes from garage door suppliers and home improvement centers.


    The winding bar size must match the spring cone holes for safe completion of the spring adjustments.