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All About Garage Door Springs: Torsion vs Extension


Believe it or not, your automatic garage door opener – the thing with the motor that runs the belts, tracks and trolley? – Yeah, it doesn’t actually work that hard. The garage door part that your door simply cannot function without is the springs. Whether you have extension springs or torsion springs on your garage door, these guys are the ones carrying the weight of the door up as it opens and suspending that weight as it closes so it lowers at a safe speed. 

What are torsion vs extension springs for garage doors? And what’s the difference between the two? Here’s a little insight into this all too little-appreciated garage door part:

Garage Door Torsion Springs Are the New Standard

Torsion springs use torque to help the garage door opener lift and lower the door. The spring is placed and attached to the garage door’s infrastructure right above the door on the inner side. It’s never fully extended; instead, it tightens (read: coils tighter) and loosens (uncoils slightly) when lifting and lowering the door. 

This garage door spring is the most common on modern garage doors because it’s powerful, durable, lasts a long time, and allows for smooth movement on the door, limiting wear and tear of the other garage door parts.

Garage Door Extension Springs Are Still a Classic

Extension springs are more common on older garage doors. Think of those historic homes with the 2-panel doors that fold inward to raise. They’ve likely got extension springs – one on each side of the garage door. This type of garage door spring stretches and contracts, is less expensive than torsion springs and some might even prefer them in small garages. 

Extension springs tend to have about half the life of torsion springs, and they require more moving garage door parts than torsion springs – meaning more things can go wrong. Another common complaint about extension springs is the door can move in a jerky manner, which causes more wear and tear on all the other garage door parts.

The Specs: A Quick Comparison of Torsion & Extension Springs

Let’s break it down:

  • Torsion springs last up to 20000 cycles. Extension last up to 10000.
  • Torsion springs control speed and motion of door. Extension springs move irregularly.
  • Torsion springs use less power due to their smooth, controlled motion.
  • Torsion springs put less wear and tear on your garage door parts and opener.
  • A torsion spring is much less dangerous than an extension spring when it breaks.
  • Torsion springs cost ~$90-$200. Extension springs cost ~$30-$90.

If you’ve got an old manual fold or tilt-up door, torsion springs may not be worth it – especially so if you’re planning on replacing your garage door(s) with modern ones anyway. However, the vast majority of the time, torsion springs outdo extension springs in pretty much every way; the cost:benefit ratio evens out and even surpasses extension springs over time.

The good news is, if your garage doors are in good condition but currently set with extension springs, we can likely convert them to torsion springs without having to replace the whole garage door.

How to Know Your Garage Door Springs are Nearing End of Life

Besides simply wanting to upgrade your garage door’s springs from extension to torsion, how do you know when it’s time to replace your garage door’s springs?

  • Garage door won’t open. 
  • Garage door closes way too fast.
  • Garage door has trouble lifting and/or is jerky.
  • The springs are corroded.
  • The springs have visible deformations.
  • The garage door has become noisy.
  • The garage door opener’s motor keeps burning out.

What to Do When You Need a Garage Door Spring Fixed or Nixed

Whenever you need a garage door spring repaired, you should call a professional. If you have extension springs and you’re noticing corrosion or stretched sections, call a garage door maintenance and repair company right away. If an extension spring snaps, it could go in any direction and can hurt people and/or property. 

If your garage door’s torsion spring is corroded or behaving erratically, this is also a time to call in the professionals. Torsion springs are under such intense tension that if you’re not skilled at replacing them you could severely injure yourself. Some things are best left to the pros. Whether you want your garage door springs inspected, replaced, or your door converted from extension to torsion, we’ve got you covered. With 24/7 emergency garage door repair services, anyone in the Greater Sacramento area, including Rocklin and Folsom, can count on SACS for the best in garage door spring service.

Why Paying for Regular Overhead Door Maintenance Actually Saves You Money

Your home’s overhead garage door is a big installation that you rely on every day. It’s necessary for safety of your home and your car, and it helps your garage keep clean and cool. But often we don’t take very good care of our garage doors. Yearly maintenance and inspections are a small cost in time and convenience, but they stop you from repeatedly calling in a professional to your home to fix something that could have been avoided with a little garage door TLC. Over time, the cost of garage door repairs and even replacements will far outweigh the cost of having a garage door maintenance professional inspect and tune it up each year.