Garage doors are heavy but can still be opened and closed with ease. Many people take that at face value but lack an understanding of what actually goes into making such a heavy piece of machinery function so effortlessly. A common misconception is that the motor is the only part needed for a garage door to work, but the truth is there’s another integral part of the garage door’s movement – the springs.

Without springs present and properly installed, your garage door will not budge. There are two different types of springs that garage doors rely on to operate, each of which has characteristics that fit with different applications. Keep reading to learn more about extension and torsion springs and the situations in which each are used.

Extension Springs

This type of spring is normally used on smaller, single car sized openings up to 9’ wide by 8’ tall in dimension. Extension springs attach to the sides of the door and hook to the hangers in the back of the track. They fully extend and contract on each side of the door when it is in operation.


  • More economical spring type
  • Easier to work on without special tools
  • Prevents cables from being thrown off the door during operation


  • Functionality is usually limited to around 10,000 cycle limit
  • When the cycle limit is reached, extension springs will break and require replacement

Torsion Springs

Normally used on larger doors, torsion springs are located on the shaft that crosses the top of a door where typically, 2 springs are present. These springs wind up when the door is opened and closed, as opposed to full extending and contracting.


  • When a torsion spring breaks, the spring is contained on the shaft to prevent any injury or damage
  • Capable of 20,000 to 40,000 cycles without too much trouble or changes to hardware
  • Higher cycle options with longer lifespans available


  • Requires special tools to work on
  • Highly dangerous to handle if you do not have prior experience or training

While springs typically last around 10 years on an average garage door, the lifespan can vary based on usage and cycle limitations. If you’re using your door a lot and find that you are replacing your springs more often than you should be, you can consider opting for a higher cycle option with a longer lifespan.

At the end of the day, your door should always be handled with caution, no matter the type of spring that’s in use. Leave it to the professionals to take care of spring replacements and any other garage door service to ensure the work is done correctly and safely.

Contact Omaha Door & Window immediately if you have concerns about your garage door springs, or if you notice your door seems unbalanced when opening and closing as it could be a sign of a failing spring or a spring that needs an adjustment. We offer 24-hour emergency repair service to help ensure your door is in proper working order when you need it to be. Visit our website to learn more about our garage door services and more.