Recently I had a garage door repaired with new springs. These are
the kind that are in the front or above the door with a bar thru the
springs (vs the old style of springs along the tracks). Anyway I've
talked to 3 or 4 outfits and all but one tell me there are standard
springs and upgraded springs available. I recall one said the
upgraded ones had a better warrantee rated for more garage door
openings. Another outfit told me that's just bull saying that the
upgraded one is just an oversized spring (strength or k constant) and
a way to charge you more money. He recommened just using the standard
spring. Anyone know the truth ?
To the OP, Oren is right on the money, as always.
Here is a picture, taken just now, of my 'upgraded' torsion spring:
When I get a chance, I'll post the two springs side by side (as I'm
replacing my old thinner spring with this new thicker spring).
Neither Oren nor I, are trying to sell you anything - so consider that we
speak from the heart, if I'm too blunt for you below.,
First off, you have 'torsion' springs (not newer or older springs).
The only 'upgrade' you should consider for torsion springs is thicker
gauge steel. What that buys you is duty cycles.
Duty cycles are the ONLY practical upgrade you should consider.
A 'cycle' is one open and one close of the garage door.
A 'duty cycle' is a calculated number of those, before the spring breaks.
A thicker spring has more duty cycles. Nothing else matters to you.
The COST of a thicker spring is negligible. The spring in that picture
above is 0.250" thick whereas my original spring is 0.234" thick. The
difference in money, IIRC, was about ten dollars on a 40-dollar spring.
Sure that's a high percentage in cost, yet, the difference in duty cycles
was even higher. The duty cycle rating of my 'upgraded' spring was, IIRC,
more than double (something like 12,000 cycles to 35,000 cycles).
Now let's get to the cost of installed springs. Out here (California),
the cost was about $150 to $200 for a garage door spring repair. It
should be noted that, at least out here, the cost is the same whether you
have two springs or whether you have one spring. (We all know the reason
why... which is the spring itself isn't what's costing you money).
And, when I asked for thicker springs (i.e., upgraded springs), some
shops told me they wouldn't countenance the thought - while others tacked
on an addition $50 or so.
Point is, when someone else does the install, the springs are (again) not
what is changing the cost.
Knowing that, your main takeaway is don't let them cloud your judgment
1. Do NOT base your torsion spring choice on the warranty!
2. Do NOT base your torsion spring choice on galvanization promises!
3. Do base your torsion spring cost on the duty cycle rating.
Anyway, let me answer your questions directly:
Hmmm... what they're really saying is that they assume the person who put
your initial springs on did it the cheapest way possible keeping within
the industry standard. That is simply the cheapest (i.e., thinnest)
spring which gives you a duty cycle of 10,000.
They could have put on any spring - but let's presume they cheaped out on
you, so that spring is the 'standard spring'. Of course, YOU can
calculate the 10,000-cycle standard spring based on the weight of the
door and the lift and the track radius and the drum diameter, etc., but
we can safely assume human nature is such that the original installer
cheaped out on you by installing the 'standard' 10,000 cycle spring.
A warranty is simply a way for the installer to get your business the day
the spring breaks (it only covers the spring cost - which - we all agree
- is negligible).
So, forget the word warranty. What he means is the thicker spring will
last more duty cycles. Yes. That's true. The thickness of the spring is
your only criteria (although there are limits so don't go bonkers on
thickness as length increases with thickess and you only have so much
room across your door).
Yup. It's not 'over' size - it's just thicker (and longer because it's
thicker) than what you have now - therefore - it will last more cycles.
Read the article by Richard Kinch for the math - but the net will be the
same. A thicker spring will last longer. Try it with a thin and thick
paperclip and count the bends before breaking (assuming similar metal).
Yup. The cost of a single thinner spring is, oh, about $30 to you and me
(probably a LOT less to the installer). And, the cost of a single thicker
spring is about $10 more. So, the additional cost of the thicker spring
is a small percentage (5% to 7%) in comparison to the cost of a $150 to
Are you happy with the duty cycle of the original spring?
If yes, then go for it.
Do you want a longer-lasting spring?
If yes, then install a thicker spring (within reason).
We can do some math, if we like.
Let's assume 2 springs, each $30 on day 1 have a standard duty cycle.
We buy our house at 30 years of age, and we live to 80 years of age.
We use the door 3 times a day, on average.
10,000 cycles happens at roughly 9 years.
So, one spring of the pair breaks at 9 years.
That's 3 breaks in your homeowner lifetime of 50 years.
At $200 a break, that's $600 dollars for the repair.
If you DIY, that's $30x2x3=$180 +$20 tools = $200 in lifetime repairs.
Now, let's contrast that same math with an upgraded (thicker) set.
Given your garage door setup, assume 35000 cycle springs.
These cost $10 each more - so you're in the hole for $20 over the
However, 35,000 cycles happens at roughly 32 years.
So, you're dead before those 'upgraded' thicker springs need to be
Maybe you'll live that extra 2 years to cost you the $200 repair?
On Sat, 17 Nov 2012 17:36:16 +0000, Danny D. wrote:
OOops. My match was off ... but the concept remains.
The only upgrade is a thicker spring and the only practical difference
between a thicker and thinner spring is the duty cycle (and the length
and weight of the spring itself).
BTW, you could upgrade your duty cycles by increasing the diameter of the
original spring also - but most of us seem to go with thicker springs
I'm no expert. I only know that mine broke, and I asked here for advice,
and I read everything that anyone referred me to.
On Sat, 17 Nov 2012 17:46:20 +0000, Danny D. wrote:
Well, I should again correct myself.
There are 'other' upgrades - and I realize this ad-hoc answering may be
confusing you so I apologize. There is so much in that thread that Oren
pointed you to that I am not summarizing as I'm in my garage doing my own
spring as we speak - so I'm distracted a bit.
Suffice to say, the main 'upgrade' is all about duty cycles.
a) A thicker spring lasts more cycles
b) A larger diameter spring lasts more duty cycles
Also, you can 'upgrade' from one spring to two springs.
a) How long it lasts depends on the thickness of the thinnest spring
b) The upgrade here is not in duty cycle - but in safety (IIRC).
I didn't even consider an upgrade from one spring to two springs, so, I
won't delve into the differences. Go to DDM doors which has an entire
online calculator on the subject.
Let's see. What other 'upgrade' did they try to sell me?
a) I was told about warrantees - and all I needed to know was that they
only covered the spring - for me to dismiss them entirely.
b) I was also told about galvanized - but Richard Kinch and Dan at DDM
Doors was clear - the only advantage in a home environment (i.e., non
corrosive) is that galvanized springs are prettier.
Good luck. I hope to report back my spring is installed once I get off
this darn computer!
On Sat, 17 Nov 2012 17:36:16 +0000, Danny D. wrote:
I just noticed something when I annotated this picture for you:
Both springs are relaxed - as shown by the straight paint line
on the new spring. But, if both are relaxed, WHY does the
old spring STILL show the 8 spirals of paint?
I mean, those 8 spirals are from the winding, as shown in
this picture of the new spring, wound 8 times:
Q: Why does the OLD spring still show that it is wound 8 times
(when it can't possibly be wound even once)?
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