The Difference Between Oil-Tempered And Zinc Galvanized Torsion Springs

When it comes to replacing garage door springs, you probably know the difference between extension springs and torsion springs. But chances are you don't know that there are actually two different types of replacement torsion springs available.

When replacing your torsion springs, you'll have your choice between oil-tempered and zinc galvanized torsion springs. The following explains the differences between the two and the pros and cons each type offers.

Oil-Tempered Torsion Springs: Low Maintenance, But Rust-Prone

Oil-tempered springs have been around for as long as torsion springs were used on garage doors. These springs get their name from the oil tempering process, which involves a heat treatment followed up with a quick quench in oil and a re-heat under more moderate temperatures. This gives oil tempered torsion springs increased strength and hardness without increasing their brittleness.

One advantage of using oil-tempered torsion springs is that they're able to maintain their tensile strength for years on end. As a result, you won't need to readjust the torsion springs as often just to keep your garage door balanced. Adding tension to the torsion springs can also shorten their lifespan, so the fewer adjustments required also means you'll get more use out of your springs.

Unfortunately, oil-tempered torsion springs are susceptible to rust. This makes lubrication exceptionally important, as any lingering moisture that comes in direct contact with the springs could allow rust to form on the surface. Rusty springs can quickly become prone to failing catastrophically and cause serious injuries when they do fail.

Another disadvantage is that oil-tempered torsion springs look dull and dirty when compared to their zinc galvanized counterparts. In addition, oil-tempered springs tend to leave residue on your hands when handling them, making gloves a must if you want to keep your hands clean.

Zinc Galvanized Torsion Springs: Longer Lasting, But Noisier

Zinc galvanized springs differ vastly from their oil-tempered counterparts. Instead of getting their strength and durability from tempering processes, the metal undergoes a galvanization process that gives it a zinc coating. The zinc coating helps protect the underlying metal from rust and corrosion, giving zinc galvanized torsion springs a noticeable advantage over their oil-tempered counterparts.

If you're concerned with your garage door's appearance inside and out, zinc galvanized torsion springs may be preferable to oil-tempered springs. The bright silver color of a typical zinc galvanized spring often looks more appealing to homeowners. In addition, there's no oil residue to worry about, which makes the installation process much cleaner for installers and homeowners alike.

However, there are a couple of noticeable disadvantages to using zinc galvanized torsion springs. For starters, zinc galvanized springs tend to make noise as they rotate and these high-pitched noises can become more pronounced as the torsion springs age. If you pride yourself on having a garage door system that operates quietly, you may want to stick with oil-tempered torsion springs.

The other disadvantage is that zinc galvanized springs require more frequent adjustment than their oil-tempered counterparts. Although zinc galvanized springs are durable, they lose their tensile strength faster than oil-tempered springs. This means they'll need to be adjusted more often to keep the garage door from becoming unbalanced.

Which Should You Choose?

Choosing between oil-tempered and zinc galvanized torsion springs can be a bit difficult given their unique pros and cons. If you're only interested in longevity and low-maintenance operation, oil-tempered springs may offer the best fit for your garage door. If you live in a climate where bare metal is more vulnerable to rust or if you're concerned about your garage's indoor appearance, you may want to choose a set of zinc galvanized springs for your next garage door spring replacement. For more information, consider websites like