Oil tempered garage door springs have been around for a long time, pretty much since the day the family car moved from the carriage stable into an actual garage. They’re probably the most common garage door spring. They work pretty well, but their Achilles tendon is they rust, especially during the rainy winters we get in Sacramento. The beauty of oil tempered springs is they tend to keep their tension pretty well. They rarely need to be tightened and are pretty much hassle free.
That’s good because you really shouldn’t tighten your torsion springs at all. Every spring has a limit to how much it can be adjusted, known as its cycle life. Any adjusting you do takes away its cycle life, literally degrading the life of a spring.
Zinc galvanized springs are much sleeker and prettier looking, mostly because they don’t rust. But they also don’t last as long. Zinc springs also tend to be pretty noisy.
What’s the Difference Between Torsion & Extension Garage Door Springs?
Torsion springs do not extend all the way — unlike extension springs which fully extend. Instead, torsion springs turn. We consider torsion springs to be a better investment because they’re sturdier and tend to last longer. You can usually get between 15,000 to 20,000 life cycles on a torsion spring, where most extension springs only have about 10,000. Torsion springs also allow for a smoother motion when you open a garage door, whereas extension springs tend to have a jerky movement. Extension springs not only tend to be noisier because of this jerky movement, but they tend to lead to alignment and balance problems in your door overtime.
Torsion springs also have fewer parts and generally result in less wear and tear on the motor of your garage door opener. If your door has torsion springs, the opener will last longer and require fewer opener repairs or the need for a new garage door opener.
What Life-cycle is Best?
You should aim to buy a spring that has at least 20,000 cycles of life predictability in it. What’s important to remember is that as cycle life goes up, so does the wire thickness of the spring. So a super high life cycle also tends to be an expensive spring. There’s just more metal. And considering the cost of metal materials these days, that difference can be significant.
Don’t Forget Other Garage Door Components
Garage door springs aren’t the only parts of your garage door that have a limited lifespan you should be aware of. If you’re buying new springs, you should also invest in new bearings and cables. The bearings and cables tend to have a shorter lifespan, but you might as well kill two birds with one stone. That way your garage will be repaired and in top running condition so you don’t have to worry about it for a while.
Always Hire a Professional Garage Door Repairman for Springs & Cables
That being said, a word of caution: Always hire a professional when it comes to springs and cables. These parts are under an incredible amount of tension and can cause serious bodily injury if they snap. This can result in permanent injury, even death. While we do encourage a DIY attitude when it comes to garage door repair, springs and cables are the exception. They require the expertise and safety tools of a professional.