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Garage Door Parts Highlight: Torsion Springs

A garage door is made up of various components that work together in harmony to ensure it opens and closes without a hitch. One of the most important parts in any overhead door operation is a garage door torsion spring. Garage door torsion springs are used alongside garage door openers to lift and lower heavy overhead garage doors in a safe and smooth manner.

What are torsion springs and how they work?

A torsion spring can be referred to as a counterbalance system that uses tightly wound springs to coil and uncoil hence storing or releasing energy to a garage door’s operation mechanism. A torsion spring operates by storing energy in itself when it coils. When it is released, the spring releases that energy into the operating mechanism hence enabling the lifting or lowering of a heavy garage door.

Torsion springs are placed on a steel shaft and have cable drums on each end. They are installed at the header wall just above the garage door and have a stationary cone on one end and a winding cone on the other end. When the door is opened (lifted), the springs unwind and release their stored tension. This tension turns the torsion spring’s shaft, which in turn causes the cable drums on each end to rotate and lift the door. When the door is closed, the torsion springs return to their tension mode and in the process turn their shaft, which in turn causes the cable drums to rotate in the reverse direction.

How is a torsion spring and garage door extension spring different?

Unlike torsion springs which work by winding and unwinding, heavy-duty extension springs work by expanding and contracting when the garage door is lowered or raised. They are generally cheaper than a high torque torsion spring, but the latter has more benefits compared to extension springs.

Torsion springs are sturdier and last longer than extension springs. On average, torsion springs last up to 20,000 cycles while extension springs only last to around 10,000 cycles. Torsion springs allow for a controlled motion while extension springs can often result in a jerking motion. Torsion springs keep a stable, smooth, and steady motion as the door opens and closes. Torsion springs are also safer, especially when they break, compared to extension springs. Extension springs may fly when they break, causing serious injuries and damage to you and your property.

What causes torsion springs to break or malfunction?

Even though manufacturers construct torsion springs to be able to withstand the toughest wear and tear, there are several factors that can lead to a torsion spring breaking down or malfunctioning. They include:

  • Old age
  • Poor garage door maintenance as advised by professionals or manufacturers
  • Loose tracks
  • Insufficient lubrication on hinges, bearings and cables
  • Grease and dirt build-up on the garage door tracks
  • Improper installation
  • Imbalance of the torsion springs

If you notice that your garage door is not opening or closing seamlessly, there is a high chance that its torsion springs are not working as required. You can test if the springs are balanced by lifting the door up manually until it’s open halfway. If it moves down when you release it at this position, the springs are imbalanced and need to be inspected by a professional garage door repairman.

Remember, the repair of garage door springs is better left to the professionals. Fixing them is extremely dangerous and requires special tools and skills. You also want to make sure that you get quality garage door replacement parts and only professionals can provide that!

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