Extension vs Torsion: Know your garage door springs

Extension vs Torsion: Know your garage door springs

Do you know the difference between torsion springs and extension springs? It’s not exactly a ‘need to know’ topic, but the fact is if your garage door has extension springs it’s likely an old model and should be carefully maintained to avoid accidents and door failure. On the other hand, if your garage door works with torsion springs, it’s important to know that you should not attempt to adjust the springs yourself. Torsion springs are under high tension and require adjusting by a trained professional only.

Below we take a brief look at the two types of garage door springs and how they differ.


Torsion springs sit above the door and extension springs sit at the sides - both shown on one image for illustration purposes only.

The purpose of springs is to provide a counterbalance to the garage door while it opens and closes. Simply put, extension springs stretch to counterbalance the weight of the door whereas torsion springs wind around a shaft to create torque on the shaft which then creates a counterbalancing effect.

Torsion Springs

Torsion springs are typically mounted on a shaft across the top of the garage door. This shaft has a cable drum on each end with a cable attached to the bottom corner of the door and the drum on each side of the door. The spring is then wound around the shaft to a predetermined tension. On operation, the spring either winds if the door is being closed or unwinds if the door is being opened. As the door weight is transferred to the horizontal portion of the track assembly the tension is reduced by the unwinding action, which keeps the door balanced throughout its travel. 

Torsion springs tend to be stronger and more durable than extension springs. 

Although they are more expensive, torsion springs last longer than extension springs, at least 15,000 to 20,000 cycles. They also offer greater balance and show more control when moving, not jerking as the door moves.


Garador Garage Doors feature torsion springs for counterbalance. Above, Garador Sierra

Extension Springs

Extension Springs attach at both ends to the garage door counterbalance assembly, usually being a rear track hanger, pulleys and cables. When these components move apart, the extension spring will pull them together again. The spring attaches to the bottom of the door and the upper or horizontal door track. As the door closes, the cable pulls or extends the spring at a constant rate, counterbalancing the weight of the door. As the door is opened, the spring retracts at a constant rate balancing only the portion of the door that remains vertical or ‘hanging’ in the opening. This allows the door to be easily operated either manually or via an automatic electric opener system.

Extension springs last for around 10,000 cycles. For this reason, if you have a garage door with extension springs and you’re not sure how old it is, there could be a risk of failure if the springs are not properly maintained.

Here at Garador, we use torsion springs in the manufacture of our garage doors for the sake of efficiency, longevity and ultimately, safety. Hence we are able to offer a Door & Opener Package with a 10-year Reliability Warranty.
WARNING: The spring unit is under tension at all times and should never be adjusted, except by approved, trained Garador dealers. 


Smooth and stylish Aspen.

No matter which type of springs your garage door uses, checking and regularly servicing your garage door is imperative. Garador recommends that new garage doors are serviced by a professional 12 months after installation and then every two years thereafter. In fact, the maintenance schedule is a term of our extensive warranties. You can book a service right here.

Worried about the state of your garage door springs? Phone 0800 000 661 to contact your local Garador service agent for advice.

If it’s time to upgrade your older extension spring garage door, contact a Garador Dealer near you for a free measure and quote, expert advice and ongoing support.

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