How Does A Garage Door Torsion Spring Work?

Learn what a garage door spring is, how it helps your garage function, and more.

Several parts keep your garage doors functioning. Of these parts, the garage door spring carries the weight of the door—literally. Knowing about garage door springs and how they help you gives you the knowledge to check on them, make sure they are in good condition, and know when it’s time to call the pros for spring repair.

What you will learn in this article:

  •       Why a Garage Door Needs Springs
  •       The Function of the Torsion Spring
  •       If All Garage Doors Have Torsion Springs
  •       What Size Garage Door Spring You Need
  •       How Many Turns a Garage Door Spring Can Make
  •       How to Prevent Garage Door Spring Injury

Why Does a Garage Door Need Springs?

Most garage doors weigh anywhere between 79 pounds to 250 pounds. The garage door system uses springs to offset the weight of the door to open and close it. Heavier doors require stronger, thicker springs, which store more energy. Without springs, your garage door couldn’t open!

What is the Torsion Spring Function?

The garage door springs help open the garage by providing force. A garage door spring creates this force by being under constant tension. When you press the garage door opener, the torsion springs rotate and use the mechanical energy stored in the spring, along with cables, to lift the door.

If the garage door is open without springs, the garage door opener cannot prevent it from slamming closed. The springs provide power and safety.

Do All Garage Doors Have Torsion Springs?

No, all garage doors do not have torsion springs. There are two types of springs.

Torsion Springs

A single torsion spring attaches right above the door and winds up under pressure while the door is closed. The spring does not unwind completely, but it does loosen the tension when the door opens.

Extension Springs

Two extension springs provide power by stretching at the sides of the door while the door is closed. When the door is open, the coils pull back into their unstretched shape.

Both kinds of springs should have safety cables in the middle. These cables keep the springs from flopping wildly in case they break. Because of the amount of tension the springs are under, allowing them to move freely upon breaking could cause damage or severe injury.

What Size Garage Door Spring Do I Need?

The size of the garage door spring needed depends on several factors, including:

  •       The length of the spring
  •       The thickness of the spring wire
  •       The inside diameter of the spring
  •       How much the spring is wound


For example, you can obtain the inside diameter of the spring wire measurement by looking at the open end of the spring. These calculations can be done at home, though you can also leave it to an installer.

How Many Turns Can a Garage Door Spring Make?

The biggest difference between torsion and extension springs is in the materials used and how much they can be used. Each time a garage door opens and closes, that is two turns. We will count this as a day.

Extension springs can usually make up to 10,000 turns, or 5,000 days of use. These springs are often cheaper because they are made of weaker material to allow them to extend.

Torsion springs can usually make up to 20,000 turns, or 10,000 days of use. These springs are more expensive because of the heavy-weight metal and how long the springs last.

Garage Door Spring Injury

Keeping a close eye on the torsion spring’s condition can prevent serious injury. Torsion springs support the weight of the garage door. However, they can fail if installed improperly, formed improperly, or used very frequently.

If your garage door uses a certain kind of spring, do not change it to another. Check your torsion spring for rust, corrosion, or unnatural stretching, though do not touch it if you suspect something is wrong. Call a professional installer if your garage door opens lopsidedly or does not open completely.

Looking for Garage Door Spring Repair?

At German Garage Doors, we specialize in garage door spring repair and installations. We serve customers in Houston, Galveston, and cities in between. Customers value our attention to detail, customer service, and same-day emergency repairs.

Call us today to schedule an appointment or click our ‘Get A Quote’ button for a free quote!


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