How to Adjust Self-closing Door Hinges

A decorative storm door outside the front of a home.
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-30
What You'll Need
Nail set
What You'll Need
Nail set

Self-closing door hinges work via an internal spring attached to the door and a door frame. The hinges use the spring's tension to automatically close doors instead of relying on the user to do so manually. You will see these hinges most often on screen or storm doors, installed in conjunction with a regular front or back door. The tension of the spring hinges should be just about right for smooth and full closing, but if you've noticed your door is having problems closing too slowly, too fast, or not far enough, you'll need to make some adjustments. Below are the materials and instructions for how to correct problems with self-closing door hinges.

Step 1 - Determine the Adjustment

Determine if you need to loosen or tighten the hinge spring tension by opening the door fully and allowing it to close. As mentioned previously, the door should close smoothly and fully with little noise. If the door closes fast and with a bang, you need to loosen the hinge spring tension. If the door does not close fully then you need to increase the tension.

Step 2 - Increase the Hinge Tension

In order to tighten the hinge spring, first close the door. Insert a nail set on a hole located beside the locking pin of the hinge adjustment spring. This hole is normally located either at the top or the bottom of the hinge’s housing. Remove the locking pin by rotating the adjustment in the direction of the jamb. Place the locking pin nearer to the door and release the spring pressure. Test the door at this time to see if it closes smoothly and fully. If it is still not tight enough, simply start over and move the locking pin even further in.

Step 3 - Decrease the Hinge Tension

To decrease the tension, just follow the same procedures in the previous step but instead of relocating the lock pin to a hole nearer to the door, place it one hole away from the door instead.

Step 4 - Lubricate

These adjustments to the spring's tension should fix the problems you have with the speed and completion of the door's closing mechanism, but if you are having problems with noise still, you might consider lubrication. Take a can of WD-40 and go in close to the door's metal workings. Have someone open and close the door slowly to see which parts are making any scraping or squeaking sounds and spray them with the lubricant.

Step 5 - Replace the Hinge Spring

In the event that adjusting the tension and lubricating the mechanisms didn't solve your problems, you might consider replacing the spring altogether. This is an especially good idea if you notice excessive rust or corrosion on the spring.