The Difference in Garage Door Extension Springs and Torsion Springs

Your garage door and opener system are made up of lots of different parts to help them operate properly. One of these parts is the garage door spring that helps to lift and lower your garage door safely. Garage doors are fitted with either a torsion spring or an extension spring. Torsion springs are more commonly used, so it’s likely that this is what’s fitted to your garage door.

But what are the differences between these two types of springs, and which one is best for your garage door? Let’s take a look at some of the key differences…

Location and appearance

You should be able to tell whether you have an extension spring or torsion spring on your garage door. A torsion spring is a large spring that sits above your garage door, while extension springs are smaller and are connected to the side of the door. The size of your garage door will determine how many springs are needed, but most residential garage doors only require one.

How they operate

To operate your garage door, extension springs expand and contract to produce the force required to lift your door. Conversely, torsion springs rotate to produce the same effect. When opening and closing the door, the action of the torsion spring tends to move the door more smoothly, while extension springs can cause a jerking effect.

Their longevity

Thanks to the action of expanding and contracting repeatedly, extension springs tend to wear down quicker than torsion springs. This means they will need replacing more frequently than torsion springs. On average, extension springs can last up to 10,000 uses, while torsion springs can keep going for 15,000 – 20,000.

Maintenance required

As well as requiring more frequent repair and replacement, extension springs can also be more difficult for the owner to maintain. Garage door springs require lubrication to keep them in good condition. Because extension springs are more intricate and contain more parts, they can be more difficult to properly lubricate compared to torsion springs.

Safety impact

A damaged or broken garage door spring can be a real hazard. When comparing the two, a broken extension spring is much more dangerous than a broken torsion spring. When it snaps, an extension spring can shoot off in any direction, seriously injuring anyone it hits or damaging things like car windshields nearby. Torsion springs, however, will stay intact, making them safer. However, beware around garage doors with a broken spring in either case as an open door could suddenly fall and injure someone.


Extension springs are cheaper to buy than torsion springs, but they will require more maintenance and more frequent replacement. So, weigh up the costs of the two based on how long you intend to stay in your home or keep your garage door as it is.

If you need maintenance or repair for your garage door springs around Savannah, Georgia, get in touch with Action Overhead Door for our expertise.

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