Garage Door Spring Types: Torsion vs. Extension Springs

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Garage doors may seem simple, but they rely on a complex system of springs to function properly. The springs bear the weight of the garage door, making it easy to open and close. Two common types of garage door springs are torsion springs and extension springs.

Torsion Springs

How Torsion Springs Work

Torsion springs are mounted horizontally above the garage door opening and secured to a metal shaft. When the door is closed, the springs store mechanical energy by twisting or coiling tightly. When you open the door, the springs unwind, releasing the stored energy to lift the door. This counterbalancing action makes the garage door feel lighter and allows for smooth operation.

Advantages of Torsion Springs

  • Durability: Torsion springs are known for their durability and longevity. They are typically made of high-quality steel and can withstand frequent use without losing their effectiveness.
  • Safety: Torsion springs are installed above the door, out of reach of anyone standing below. This positioning enhances safety by minimizing the risk of accidents or injuries.
  • Smooth Operation: Torsion springs provide a more controlled and even lifting motion, resulting in a smoother and quieter operation of the garage door.
  • Space-saving: As they are mounted horizontally, torsion springs take up less space in the garage, allowing for more overhead clearance.

Extension Springs

How Extension Springs Work

Extension springs, as the name suggests, extend or stretch when the garage door is closed. They are installed on either side of the door, parallel to the horizontal tracks. When you open the door, the extension springs stretch to create tension, which helps lift the door. When the door is closed, the springs return to their original position.

Advantages of Extension Springs

  • Cost-effective: Extension springs are generally more budget-friendly than torsion springs, making them a popular choice for homeowners on a budget.
  • Easy Replacement: If an extension spring breaks, it can be replaced individually, whereas a broken torsion spring usually requires the replacement of the entire system.
  • Less Stress on Garage Door Opener: Extension springs place less stress on the garage door opener as they only provide support during the door’s lifting and closing.

Considerations and Maintenance

Safety Considerations

Both torsion and extension springs are under immense tension when the garage door is closed. Attempting to replace or adjust these springs without proper knowledge and tools can be dangerous and may result in severe injuries. It is best to leave spring repair and adjustment to professional garage door technicians.

Maintenance and Lifespan

Regular maintenance is crucial to ensure the longevity and smooth operation of both types of springs. Lubricating the springs, inspecting for signs of wear, and addressing any issues promptly can extend their lifespan and prevent unexpected failures.

Choosing the Right Springs

The choice between torsion and extension springs depends on various factors, including the garage door’s size, weight, and design. It’s essential to consult a garage door professional to determine the appropriate spring type for your specific door.


In conclusion, garage door springs play a critical role in the smooth and safe operation of your garage door. Torsion springs offer durability, safety, and smooth operation, making them a popular choice for many homeowners. On the other hand, extension springs are a cost-effective option and provide adequate support for lighter garage doors. Whichever type of spring you choose, regular maintenance and professional care are essential to ensure the springs function optimally and contribute to the overall efficiency of your garage door system.

Whether you opt for torsion or extension springs, understanding their differences and benefits will help you make an informed decision when it’s time to replace or repair your garage door springs.

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