Your garage door springs should survive 10,000-20,000 cycles before they wear down and break, but when a garage door is “on the fritz,” it’s usually a spring’s fault. Attempting to repair or replace garage door springs can be a dangerous job, and it’s usually not worth the risk of DIY-ing. As designs have improved, however, springs have been modified to be a bit more safe.
The two kinds of garage door springs are “extension” and “torsion,” with extension being the old version, and torsion being the new. Extension springs are typically found in older Sacramento homes and are dangerous because of the possibility they could snap free and fly apart (being under so much tension), when you attempt to remove or repair. If a torsion spring breaks, it stays attached to its torsion tube, making it more safe, and it’s easier to balance as well.
Different Springs for Different Things
It’s important to choose the right garage door spring for your specific garage door — the heavier the door, the heavier duty the spring must be. But there are also factors like resilience, cleanliness and maintenance to factor in. Three main options are: oil-tempered springs, galvanized springs, and powder-coated springs.
If your goal is to avoid frequent maintenance and repairs, an oil-tempered spring is the way to go. They are the longest lasting because of the lubricating qualities of oil, and they are quieter than galvanized and powder-coated springs. They are made of high-carbon steel wires. After they are filtered through a series of dies to achieve desired thickness and shape, the springs are sent through several heating cycles until they develop the ideal tension. Oil-tempered springs can give off a greasy feel, which some find to be messy-looking and undesirable, but it’s that natural lubrication that leads to their longevity and quiet performance. It remains the most durable option of the three.
Galvanized wire springs came along in the 90s to offer homeowners a shinier, less-sloppy option than oil-tempered springs. They are made with the same steel-wire base as oil-tempered springs, but are polished off with a hot-zinc dip, making them rust and moisture resistant. While their modern aesthetic and rust-resistance give galvanized springs a clear advantage, they do need maintenance more often than oil-tempered.
Powder-coated springs start with the same base as oil-tempered and galvanized, but are powder-coated instead of sealed with zinc. This type also came along in the past few decades as an alternative to oil-tempered springs. Many people prefer the clean look and resilience of powder-coating, and you’ll see them in many modern homes. These springs aren’t quite as rust-resistant as galvanized, however.