How To Choose The Right Garage Door Springs For Your Home

Garage door springs are one of if not the most essential mechanisms working to open and close your garage door on command.  

Many people credit the garage door opener for the operation of opening and closing the garage door, while it plays a role in the operation, the springs are the components actually raising and lowering the garage door.

Garage door openers are responsible for starting and regulating the motion of the garage door, the springs are the counterbalance allowing the door to open and close.

Basically, without garage door springs, openers would be useless.

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about garage door springs including what they are, how they operate, styles, how to choose garage door springs, and much more. Let’s get started. 

What Are Garage Door Springs 

Garage door springs, what are they? 

Garage door springs are long metal coils that are either tightly wound or extended to counteract the weight of the garage door, allowing the door to be opened and closed on command. There are two common types of garage door springs:

  • Torsion Springs
  • Extension Spring

With such distinct operations, it is important to understand each system and how they work to determine which spring system is best suited for your garage door operating system.

The difference between the two types of garage door springs is pretty simple:

  • One is placed above the garage door opening and works by twisting
  • The other is placed on each side of the garage door opening and works by expanding and compressing. 

How Do Garage Door Springs Work?

As garage doors close, it pulls on cables that are connected to tightly wound garage door springs. These springs are coiled so tightly that they create a buildup of tension and energy.

As the door opens, the tension and energy stored in the garage door springs are released creating force and acting as a counterbalance to the heavy garage door resulting in the door being raised. 

Types of Garage Door Springs 

Torsion Springs

Garage door spring repair moore
Torsion Spring Replacement

Identifying what type of garage door springs your overhead door has come down to simply locating where the springs are. The most common of the two are torsion springs, typically placed horizontally above the garage door opening.

Torsion springs are stiff metal coils that are often manufactured from beryllium copper, titanium or carbon, and stainless steel. These materials are chosen as they have a high capacity to store energy which is important as torsion springs utilize stored energy to raise and lower doors. 

How Do Torsion Springs Work

Torsion springs are mounted above the garage door opening to a metal rod – known as the shaft. Torsion springs work by collecting and storing energy caused by the coiling and uncoiling of the metal springs.

Torsion springs are able to store energy by winding and unwinding as the door opens and closes. Doing so creates power and relieves weight from the garage door opener allowing the garage door to open and close smoothly. 

Although seemingly simple, understanding the extreme risk associated with torsion spring repair and replacement is extremely important. That is why it is highly recommended to hire a trained garage door specialist for all torsion spring replacements and repairs.

Extension Springs

Garage door extension spring 1

If you don’t see a long horizontal spring at the top of your garage door opening it is likely that you have extension springs. These springs are typically found perpendicular to the door and a few inches from the garage door track. 

Extension springs are lightweight, long springs mounted horizontally on each side of the garage door opening and as their name suggests, work by extending as the garage door closes. This extension produces enough energy to be stored and then released to open the garage door. 

Extension springs are attached to a cable and pulley system connected to the bottom of the door. As garage doors open on an extension spring system, the weight of the garage door shifts from the tracks to the springs and increases tension to control the lowering speed of the garage door. 

As the door opens, the horizontal tracks bare the majority of door weight, allowing the door to stay open without extra support. Similar to Torsion Springs, Extension Springs are under extreme tension, if handled incorrectly they can cause serious injury.

How To Choose Garage Door Springs

For both extension and torsion springs, it is important to note that the spring weight must match the weight of the garage door. Ensuring your garage door springs can support the weight of your garage door will ensure that the door stays balanced, and you will maximize the lifespan of your springs if maintained properly.

The type of garage door spring needed for a replacement is typically very simple to determine. If your current garage door springs are above the opening of the garage door, you require a torsion spring system.

 If your springs are set on each side of the garage door opening, you need extension springs. Now that we know what type of springs are needed let’s dive deeper into other factors that determine the specific spring needed.

Garage Door Spring Color Coding System

Dasma spring color coding guide for torsion springs in inches 1
Dasma spring color coding guide for extension springs

Garage door springs all sport a different color. These colors are meant to identify different information about garage door springs. These standards by DASMA were created to help people quickly understand these properties.

To know what the color code means, you must first identify what type of garage door spring you are working with. Once identified you can then study the standards for the spring you are needing. 

Torsion Spring Color Coding System

The torsion spring color coding system is significantly different from extension springs as this color coding system includes two colors per spring. One color on the torsion spring signifies the wind direction of the spring, while the other color represents the wire gauge. 

225 red

Springs with red cones are right-wound springs that are installed on the left side of the garage door while springs with black cones are left-wound springs – to be installed on the right side of the garage door.

The torsion spring wire gauge color system is as follows:

Orange:  .120/.192/.273/.363/.485 Inches

218 torsion spring

Light Blue:  .125/.200/.283/.375/.490 Inches

Yellow:  .135/.207/.289/.394/.500 Inches

White:  .139/.218/.295/.406/.531 Inches

Red:  .143/.225/.297/.422/.563 Inches

0c5dcdf3 6ca4 466c 8da8 1a612046581e

Brown:  .148/.234/.307/.431/.625 Inches

Tan: .156/.238/.313.438 Inches

Green: .162/.244/.319/.453 Inches

Gold:  .177/.250.331.462 Inches

Purple: .182/ .257/ .594 Inches

Blue: .188/.263/.344/ .469 Inches

Extension Spring Color Coding System

Extension spring color coding systems refer directly to the weight of the garage door the spring can handle. The extension spring color coding system is as follows:

White: 10/110/210 LBS

Green: 20/120/220 LBS

Yellow: 30/130/230 LBS

Blue: 40/140/240 LBS

Red: 50/150/250 LBS

Brown: 60/160/260 LBS

Orange: 70/170/270 LBS

Gold: 80/180/280 LBS

Light Blue: 90/190/290 LBS

Tan: 100/200/300 LBS

How To Choose Torsions Springs For Your Garage Door

It should be noted that measuring garage door springs can be a very dangerous and difficult task and should be performed by professionals. Attempting to weigh or repair a garage door should never be done alone unless by an experienced professional. 

Garage door torsion springs are not a one size fits all solution. Determining the appropriate torsion spring for your garage door system is based on a few factors that include:

  • Wire Size
  • Inside Diameter
  • Overall length
  • Wind Direction 
  • Weight of Garage Door

Now that we have discovered what you need to choose the right torsion spring, let’s take a deeper look at how to determine these factors.

How To Measure Torsion Springs

Torsion springs require multiple measurements in order to determine what spring will best fit your garage door needs. These include the wire diameter, inside diameter, and length of the spring. 

Measure The Diameter
How to measure garage door spring

The first step in determining which torsion spring is needed is to measure your broken spring. To do so, count out 20 coils and use a measuring tape to measure the distance from the beginning of the spring to the 20th coil. From here you will take the measurement and divide it by 20. This determines the diameter of the spring.

Most torsion spring coils fall somewhere near 5 inches, it is however very important that the measurement be precise. Being off even a fraction can throw off the accuracy and cause the wrong spring to be ordered. 

The inside diameter is a much easier measurement to accomplish. This measurement is often found written on the winding cone or stationary cone attached to the spring. The measurement will be a letter followed by a number such as p-200. This identified the spring as a two-inch diameter. It can also be found in traditional measurements such as 1 ½”. 

Measure Overall Length

Now that we have the diameter, we need to identify the overall length of the torsion spring. To measure the overall length of the spring, one must first remove the spring from the garage door system.

From here take a tape measurer and measure end to end of the garage door spring. Although accurate measurements are important, this measurement is one that can be slightly off and still be okay.

However, we should note that any more than ¾ of an inch off may result in ordering a garage door spring that is not the appropriate size. 

Check Wind Direction  

The next step in determining what size garage door torsion spring you need is to identify if your torsion spring is a left or right-hand wind. To do so look down on your torsion spring, does the coil run counterclockwise? If so you have a left-hand wind. If it is running clockwise, you will need a right-hand wind. 

How To Measure Extension Springs

It should be noted that measuring garage door springs can be a very dangerous and difficult task and should be performed by professionals. Attempting to weigh or repair a garage door should never be done alone unless by an experienced professional. 

Identifying the size of the extension spring needed is a much simpler task than its counterpart. All you need to identify what type/size of extension spring is needed is the length of the spring and the weight of the garage door it will be lifting. 

Similar to torsion springs, extension springs must not be expanded during measurement. To measure the extension spring close your garage door and use a measuring tape to measure the extension spring end to end. 

If you have a traditional garage door, it is likely a 7-foot door and will require a 25-inch spring. 

The next step in identifying the size of extension spring needed is to measure the weight of your garage door. To do so you must first disconnect the power to the garage door opener. Secondly, disconnect the operator’s arm from the garage door. 

Next, disengage the pin from the operator. From here both extension springs will need to be uninstalled. Once the garage door is safely lowered to the ground, slide a scale under the middle of the garage door and take multiple readings to identify the proper weight. 

Recording accurate weight is important in determining the size of the garage door spring needed. A 110-pound spring installed on a 150-pound garage door will stretch beyond repair and eventually snap putting the people and property around it at great risk of damage and injury. 

What Garage Door Spring Is Best?

Extension springs were once the more popular of the two spring systems, however over time, torsion springs have grown in popularity. 

Only on special occasions are extension springs installed for a new door. An example of this may include the low headroom of a garage door that will not allow a torsion spring to be installed.

So why have torsion springs grown in popularity?

Simply, torsion springs are often a better investment as they have a longer lifespan due to their durability. Although the upfront cost is a little higher, torsion springs tend to last up to 20,000 cycles whereas extension springs typically only last around 10,000. 

Torsion springs often result in smoother operation due to them being more controlled. Unlike torsion springs, extension springs have less control during operation and may experience a jolt or jerk when opening.

A garage door that does not operate smoothly may result in needing more adjustments to ensure the door is balanced during operation. 

Extension spring systems require more moving parts than torsion springs leading to the possibility of needing more maintenance and costly repairs. Torsion springs are easier on the garage door opener resulting in less wear and tear resulting in maximizing the longevity of your opener. 

At OGD® we almost always recommend installing a torsion spring system on your garage door. In the event your garage door was operating on an extension spring system not to worry, we will happily repair or replace your existing system. 

In the event, you are looking to change your extension system to a torsion system garage door spring conversion services are available. 

Signs Your Garage Door Springs Need Attention

Although manufacturers recommend checking your garage door system monthly and having it maintained at least twice a year, it is understood that this is not common practice in most households. Unfortunately by not practicing routine maintenance and system checks people are often left dealing with broken garage doors at the most inconvenient times. 

Broken garage door spring vincent
Broken Torsion Spring

Sadly, this is typically the only time we tend to pay any attention to our garage door operating system. Of the common problems associated with a broken garage door, worn-out or broken garage door springs tend to find themselves at the top of the list. 

Identifying a broken garage door spring is fairly simple. For torsion springs, you may find that the spring has broken completely in half leaving space between the coils and disconnecting them altogether.

While extension springs can also break in half, it is more common that the springs have been stretched out and can no longer coil properly. When this occurs, other mechanisms of your garage door operating system may become compromised such as in the picture on the right. You will see the cables have come to lose and are damaged, resulting in the garage door no longer being able to automatically raise and lower on command.

Broken garage door extension spring before glaze

Broken Extension Spring

If this has occurred with one of your garage door springs it is best to reach out to a garage door specialist to repair and replace your garage door springs.

Although articles on “how to install garage door springs” make it seem simple it is highly recommended that you reach out to a garage door repair specialist to repair and replace your garage door torsion and extension springs. 

How Long Should My Garage Door Springs Last?

Standard garage door springs have a life expectancy between 7-10 years or about 10,000 cycles, this of course is based on how often the garage door is used and how well the garage door springs are maintained. 

Over time, regardless of routine maintenance, wear and tear will occur and repairs and replacements will be needed. Understanding the signs that your garage door

needs attention is essential. 

Catching an issue early could be the difference between a small inexpensive repair or a full garage door replacement. 

A few signs that point to your garage door springs needing attention include:

  • Opening and closing unevenly
  • Garage door won’t open all the way
  • Garage door closing too quickly 
  • Loud noise or squeaking when opening and closing
  • Garage door opener straining to open door

Worn and damaged garage door springs can break suddenly causing an extreme threat to the people and objects around it. It is important to contact your Fort Worth Garage Door specialists at the first sign of failure. 

How Much Do Garage Door Springs Cost

Broken garage door springs needing replacement are one of the most common services requested by professionals due to the high risk of damage and injury. Determining the cost of a garage door spring repair requires many factors to be considered. Some of these factors include:

  • Labor Costs
  • Materials
  • Number of Garage Doors
  • Type of Garage Door 

The average cost of a garage door spring repair can range between $460- $1300 but can run much higher depending on the factors listed above.

It is important to note that many companies with price out each individual part including labor whereas some companies include parts and labor in the cost. Asking the company if labor and parts are included in your quote will ensure a more accurate estimate.

So what are the determining factors in the cost?


Due to the risks associated with repairing or replacing your garage door springs, reaching out to a professional with the training and experience is highly encouraged.  In doing so expect to pay a labor rate for most companies. Average labor costs run anywhere between $75 to $150 per hour with most garage door spring replacements needing a minimum of two hours. 


Replacing a garage door spring system requires replacing multiple components on your garage door including springs, brackets, and hardware. The cost of these materials can range from $300 – $1600 for a set of garage door springs required for a double garage door. Single garage door spring replacements on average cost $150-$1600. 

Number of Garage Doors

Garage doors that were installed around the same time often require replacement around the same time. Save the cost of a service fee by having all of your garage door springs replaced at the same time. 

Type of Garage Door

The type of garage door you have may be a factor in determining the cost of replacing garage door springs as the cost is calculated by the type of springs needed. The heavier the door the more expensive the springs will be. 

Type Of Springs

Extension springs are less expensive to replace with the average extension spring replacement falling between $350-$700.

Due to the complex nature and risk of danger, torsion spring replacements tend to be more expensive than torsion springs with a full replacement cost of between $460 – $1600, based on labor and materials. 

Why Garage Door Spring Repair and Installation Should Be Left To the Professionals

Risk of Damage & Injury

Garage door springs operate under immense pressure that can result in extreme damage, injury, and even death if not done properly. It is best to work with garage door professionals on any garage door spring repair or replacement as they have the training, tools, and experience to perform them safely.

Time Consuming

Garage door spring repair and replacement is a very time-consuming job. Luckily garage door specialists have the experience to perform them quickly, getting your door back on track in no time. 


Similar to other home appliances, garage doors and springs are often under manufacturer warranty. Unfortunately, many DIY repairs and replacements void these warranties. 

Work With OGD®

Garage door springs are not something to try and fix yourself, work with reputable technicians to provide high-quality work and that it is all completed safely and in a timely fashion. When the time comes to repair or replace your garage door springs, call us or fill out one of our online forms to schedule an appointment.

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