Garage Door Springs 101

Garage door operation depends on several crucial components, especially the springs, which work to lift and lower the heavy door. With a limited lifespan, measured in cycles, the springs are the most frequently replaced part on a garage door. Once they reach their breaking point, they will likely snap, rendering the door inoperable until professional repairs have been made. Here is everything you need to know about them.

Spring Type

The two types of garage door springs are torsion and extension.

Torsion: Mounted on metal bar directly above door opening, torsion springs twist and coil, providing force as the door is lifted either manually or via a garage door opener. In this position, they are under tremendous tension; tension that is released as the door closes. The industry standard for torsion springs is 15,000 to 20,000 cycles.

Extension: Suspended above the vertical tracks on a cable pulley system, extension springs expand and contract, counterbalancing the weight of the heavy door as it moves up and down the tracks. All extension springs should be paired with safety cables! The industry standard for extension springs is about 10,000 cycles.

Understanding ‘Cycles’

The industry standard for extension springs is about 10,000 cycles, whereas, you can typically expect anywhere from 15,000 to 20,000 cycles from a torsion spring. Cycles can vary depending on spring material and quality. Opening and closing your garage door counts as one cycle. If you operate your garage door four times a day, which is the national average, you can expect a lifespan of approximately seven years.

Other causes for spring failure include lack of maintenance, rust and corrosion, and extreme weather fluctuations. They can also break due to damage sustained from a vehicle colliding with the door (it happens more often than you’d think!) Because the lifespan of springs varies from one house to the next, high-cycle torsion springs are also available. These springs are rated for 20,000; 30,000; or even 50,000 cycles.

Always Contact a Professional

Garage door springs are under a lot of pull. Once they break, the door cannot operate safely, and should not be used until the springs have been replaced – a job best left to an experienced professional. Professionals have the experience and equipment to do it safely and efficiently. Many companies even offer same-day or 24-hour emergency repair for broken springs.