Garage door springs can break at any given moment, but they're more likely to break during cold weather. With winter in full swing, it pays to be extra vigilant when it comes to your garage door springs, especially if you haven't been as diligent as you should have been when it comes to maintenance.

So, what exactly makes garage door springs more failure-prone during the winter?

Deep Chill Equals Brittle Metal

Given the task of counterbalancing a tremendous amount of weight, garage door springs are designed to be as resilient as possible. Every time you open or close your garage door, the metal spring expands and contracts in response, providing enough stored energy to support the bulk of the garage door's weight.

Metal is resilient at normal temperatures, but those characteristics change the closer the material gets to freezing temperatures. As temperatures drop, changes in the material's underlying structure cause it to turn brittle, making it less elastic and more likely to break apart when placed under stress. For instance, metals soaked in liquid nitrogen can easily be crushed and crumbled apart due to extreme temperature-induced brittleness.

Fortunately, you don't have to worry about your garage door spring suddenly crumbling apart under freezing temperatures. However, the metal coil still lacks the elasticity it usually has at warmer temperatures, making it more likely to snap when placed under the typical stresses of opening and closing the garage door.

Cold Can Make Ailing Springs Fail Earlier

Most garage door springs are designed to last for around 10,000 cycles or roughly seven years if you use your garage door four times a day. Towards the end of their lifespan, the cumulative effects of metal fatigue can leave those springs more vulnerable to unexpected damage and potential failure. Unfortunately, cold weather can speed up this process, turning your already vulnerable garage door springs into a ticking time bomb.

When cold weather turns fatigued metal brittle, the results can prove potentially catastrophic. Chilly temperatures can also damage rusty garage door springs further, placing those springs at greater risk of sudden failure. If your springs do break, you'll need to contact a company that offers garage door spring repair services for assistance.

Ways to Protect Your Garage Door Springs

A few preventive steps are in order if you don't want your garage door springs to get the cold shoulder. Reducing temperature differences within your garage via insulation and good weatherstripping can help prevent brittle springs from becoming a serious problem. Regularly scheduled tune-ups and inspections can also help catch potential problems that eventually lead to broken garage door springs.

Lubrication also plays a crucial role, since keeping up with this important practice helps your garage door springs stay mobile while keeping rust and corrosion at bay. With these measures in place, your garage door springs are less likely to snap unceremoniously under cold temperatures.