What’s The Difference Between Torsion Spring & Extension Springs?

Of all the parts of a garage door, it is the springs that carry its entire weight. These springs weigh only 10-20 pounds, but they carry a garage door weight of nearly 200-500 pounds.

Garage door springs balance the weight and help the door to lift up and down. Whatever the type of garage door may be, these springs are a must and can be of 2 types. These 2 types are torsion and extension-type springs.

Let us understand the difference between the springs and where they are used in a garage door spring system courtesy of our Raleigh garage door repair expert.

Torsion Springs

On top of the garage door is a spring bar. This spring bar is a shaft or metal tube also called the torsion tube. It is mounted on a header that is located at the opening of the door. The spring bar has the torsion springs mounted on it. A center bracket holds the springs in place.

This spring bar also has 2 cable drums mounted at each end. These cable drums are attached to each side of the garage door by brackets.

The garage door cables run up throughout the height of the door, over the drums. When the door opens, the springs wind up and store potential energy. When the door closes, the springs unwind and release energy. The torsion springs create a torque to help the cables and drums in lifting or lowering the door. Without this torque, it is difficult to lift the dead weight of the door.

The size of the torsion spring depends on the entire weight of the door. The rating of the torsion springs also depends on their life cycle. This life cycle depends on the gauge of the spring coil material. It is often the garage door spring manufacturer who decides the spring rating. Usually, the life cycle of the torsion spring ranges between 10,000 to 30,000 cycles.

The length of the springs depends on the weight they can carry. The number of springs also depends on the weight of the door. Small garage doors or single-car garage doors usually have a single spring. However, it is recommended to use 2 springs to counterbalance the weight of the door.

Extension springs

Extension springs are mounted on either side of the door. They are attached to the track support and horizontal tracks on either side by cables.

In this type of spring system, the cable attaches to the bottom bracket. It then uses pulleys to attach to the springs and then to the track using adjustment clips.

Extension springs go by the other name being called “stretch springs. To open the door, they stretch or loosen, and to close, they tighten.

Usually, extension springs come with a second set of cables called safety cables. On either side, the safety cable attached to the track runs over the center of the extension spring and connects to the track support. These safety cables prevent the spring from flying out if they break.

Comparing Torsion springs with extension springs

Operating mechanism

Torsion springs turn or wind and unwind to operate. On the contrary, extension springs extend or expand and contract.

Life cycle

Torsion springs last longer than the extension ones. torsion springs have a lifecycle of 15,000 to 50,000 cycles. On the other hand, extension springs last at best for 10,000 cycles.

Torsion springs can last for 7 years at least even if you use the door 4 times a day.

Controlled motion

You can control the movement of the door better with torsion springs but not with extension springs.

While torsion springs allow a steady motion, with extension springs, the movement is jerky.

When you use extension springs, you can feel the tension in them when the door opens first. Later, with continuous use, the tension reduces and causes the door to fly open suddenly.

Such safety hazards do not happen much with torsion springs. When your extension springs cause jerky motion to the door, they need winding. Call a garage door repair specialist in Raleigh at once to wind the springs.

More parts

Extension springs have more components associated with them. They need safety cables, sheaves, etc. These parts are additional parts not used with torsion springs.


Since extension springs have more parts, they need frequent or regular maintenance. Secondly, extension springs undergo additional wear and tear as they are not as sturdy as torsion springs. So, they need more routine maintenance than torsion springs.

More strain on the garage door opener

When you use torsion springs, the burden on the garage door opener is less. The opener does not undergo unnecessary wear and tear while using these torsion springs. So, using torsion springs protects the opener from extreme damage.

Risk of damage

Broken springs can always cause problems. But, extension-type springs cause more damage to vehicles or even property damage. These springs lose tension quickly and can cause the door to crash suddenly. so, there is a high risk of damage to persons with extension springs.

Garage door springs are of several types, sizes, and dimensions. they can be left wound springs or right wound springs. They even have a color code. So, garage springs need proper calibration and installation

Always call garage door professionals for garage door spring repair and maintenance. Consult an expert garage door technician in Raleigh from Tip Top Garage Doors at (919) 701-3003 to decide the direction of winding, size, and coding.