Differences and Benefits of Oil-Tempered Springs vs. Galvanized Springs vs. Coated Springs

Garage door springs handle tremendous pressure on a daily basis. As such, springs must have the tension necessary to allow the up and down movements of a garage door. Otherwise, mishaps could occur with the door itself, and this can be dangerous when there are children, pets or even vehicles underneath.

On a residential garage door, the smoothness and reliability of the door's functions will fully depend on torsion springs. From the moment a door is raised and throughout the time it stays suspended overhead, a torsion spring is responsible. Simply put, garage doors are heavy, and torsion springs perform a household function that would otherwise be physically out of range for most people.

What Are Torsion Springs?

A torsion spring is a spring that stores mechanical energy. When the spring twists, torque is applied in the opposite direction. Torsion springs are used in everything from automobile engines to balance springs. On garage doors, torsion springs are responsible for the slow opening and closing function. Torsion springs come in three main types: oil-tempered, galvanized and coated oil-tempered.

Without torsion springs, garage doors would be a whole lot harder for most homeowners to operate. For starters, doors would have to be lifted manually, which would be excruciating for anyone who lacks the physical strength to lift, let alone support, a garage door. Secondly, the door would have to be held up and finally lowered by hand. Furthermore, someone would have to jump out of your car to hold up the door as you drive your vehicle inside.

For obvious reasons, torsion springs are a vital piece to any garage door. The following article explores the benefits on each of the three torsion spring types.

Oil-Tempered Wire Spring

On residential garage doors, the most commonly used torsion spring is the oil-tempered kind. Oil-tempered springs are known to be strong and reliable, and they seldom experience premature wear.

Due to their blackish shade, oil-tempered wire springs are easy to tell apart from other torsion springs. While some homeowners favor the silvery look of galvanized and coated metals, others remain content with the tried-and-true performance of oil-tempered wire springs.

What Is an Oil-Tempered Spring?

Oil-tempered springs are made of high carbon steel wires, which are filtered through a sequence of dies until the proper thickness and shape is achieved. The spring is then run through a series of heating cycles that are tempered with oil until the desired tension is reached. The end result is a spring that's strong, flexible and durable.

Due to the way they're made, oil-tempered springs can give off a greasy feel. For some people, this can be off-putting, and it's one of the reasons why modern homeowners often prefer other types of torsion springs. Nonetheless, oil-tempered springs have been around the longest of all garage-door spring types and have proven to be the least maintenance-prone and the most durable.

Benefits of Using an Oil-Tempered Wire Spring

Homeowners opt for durability when it comes to garage door parts. Therefore, oil-tempered springs remain the most ubiquitous type of torsion spring for the following reasons:

Long lasting

  • The foremost reason that so many homeowners prefer oil-tempered springs is durability. Simply put, oiled torsion springs can last the full duration of a residential occupancy. The long life is due to the lubricating qualities of the oil, which helps maintain the coiling action.

Rarely needs adjustments

  • One of the most costly issues homeowners often face with garage doors is worn torsion springs and the adjustment work they require. When a garage door spring has to be adjusted every six months, the cost can be burdensome. Worst of all, frequent adjustments wear down torsion springs, and thus gradually defeat the purpose of such maintenance. Fortunately, this problem is rare with oil-tempered springs.

Quiet

  • Unlike other types of torsion springs, oil-tempered springs don't make creaking noises. For many homeowners, this is an essential benefit, especially among people who are irritable toward spring-metal sounds.

Even though newer types of torsion springs have put up heavy competition since the 1980s, oil-tempered springs remain popular among home builders and homeowners who wish for optimal performance and durability in garage door parts.

Coated Oli-Tempered Wire Spring

When it comes to torsion springs, zinc is not the only way to seal off steel from the elements.

As the youngest of garage spring options, oil-tempered coated wire springs are sometimes seen in homes that have either been built — or at least had new garages installed — within the last 20 years. Many homeowners like the coated torsion spring for its visual appeal, strength and clean surface.

What Is a Coated Oil-Tempered Wire Spring?

Oil-tempered coated wire springs are similar to galvanized springs in that both were conceived toward the end of the 20th century as alternatives to oil-tempered springs. As with galvanized wire springs, oil-tempered coated torsion springs have an attractive silver tone. Made from the same torsion spring steel as the two other leading styles, the production of oil-tempered coated springs involves a unique process, wherein paint is used to coat the wires, and the electrical bonding seals the coat.

A oil-tempered coated torsion spring will generally look good in any home, though the style is more often used in homes built within the past few decades. Even if the coating isn't completely foolproof, springs of this type can be expected to last for a reasonable span of time.

Benefits of Using Coated Wire Springs

As the third-most popular type of garage door spring, homeowners often choose the oil-tempered coated torsion spring because they want visually appealing springs that can withstand the elements for considerable lengths of time. As any coated wire spring manufacturer would say, the oil-tempered coated spring is popular for the following reasons:

Attractive

  • As with galvanized wire springs, oil-tempered coated springs are often considered more attractive than old-fashioned oil-tempered springs. Once again, the opinion comes down to the preference among many modern homeowners for the silvery look of steel over the blackened look that oil causes on tempered springs.

Resilient

  • OIl-tempered coated wire springs are mostly resistant to moisture, so they are seldom prone to rust. As such, an oil-tempered coated torsion spring can be counted on to maintain its clean steel look for as long as it's in use on a residential garage.

Not oily

  • Since there's no oil involved in the finished makeup of oil-tempered coated wire springs, they don't leave the oily residue of oil-tempered springs. This can be a plus during installations, where the application of coated torsion springs is generally a clean and grease-free undertaking.

While there's seldom an oil-tempered coated spring manufacturer who expects this option to overtake oil-tempered or galvanized wire springs in the garage door marketplace, coated wire springs remain a good choice for many of today's homeowners.

Galvanized Wire Spring

During the early 1990s, home builders and homeowners sought alternatives to the oil-tempered spring. Enter the galvanized spring, which on the surface looks like a silvery version of the blackish oil-tempered wire spring, but it is actually produced through a different process.

For a time, it was believed that galvanized wire springs would render oil-tempered springs obsolete. While trends haven't played out according to that plan, galvanized wire springs have nonetheless claimed a fair share of the torsion spring market. However, most galvanized springs need routine adjustments every six to 12 months.

What Is a Galvanized Wire Spring?

Galvanized wire springs are made from the same steel wire as oil-tempered springs. As with the latter, the galvanized wire spring is first sent through a series of dies, and once the desired length and thickness is reached, the wire is dipped in hot zinc. This gives the wire a protective layer that makes it resistant to rust or moisture.

Galvanized wire spring is a suitable option for newer homes, where the natural look of steel is more in line with the modernist aesthetic that so many of today’s young homeowners favor. Additionally, if people don’t like oily textures on garage parts, they would likely opt for the galvanized spring.

Benefits of Using Galvanized Wire Springs

Homeowners who prefer the look of clean silver when it comes to garage door components often opt for galvanized wire springs. As many galvanized wire spring manufacturers will attest, torsion springs of this type are valued for the following reasons:

Attractive

  • According to a lot of homeowners, galvanized wire springs are more attractive than oil-tempered wire springs because you can see the actual silvery steel.

Not greasy

  • Oil is not used in the production of galvanized wire springs. As such, there's no oily residue along the coils. This stands in contrast to oil-tempered wires, where the oily texture sometimes rubs onto adjacent parts on newly built garages.

Don't rust

  • Thanks to the zinc coating, galvanized wire springs are relatively impervious to corrosion. This is another advantage over oil-tempered springs, which can get rusty over time. Additionally, the zinc protection of galvanized wires seals them off from moisture, unlike with coated springs.
 

Even though oil-tempered springs remain the most popular, galvanized wire springs still have benefits to consumers who choose to use them.

How to Choose the Right Spring for Your Needs

With three main options to choose from, a torsion spring is one of the less confining choices you can make regarding home improvement. When shopping for a new torsion spring, the first qualities that come to mind might be the appearance and price of a spring, but it's wisest to consider all of the following factors before making your decision on a particular spring type:

Durability

  • If you're foremost concerned with the lifespan of a given torsion spring, the oil-tempered wire spring would be the best option. As the oldest of the styles discussed in this article, the oil-tempered spring has proven more durable than its younger rivals.

Appearance

  • Aesthetics are a subjective matter, so a judgment regarding the most attractive torsion spring type is really up to you. If you like the blackish shade of the oil-tempered spring, consider that option. If you favor the silvery look of steel, consider a galvanized or coated wire spring.

Resilience

  • Rust is the enemy of steel. Therefore, rust resistance is an important quality for a torsion spring. In this regard, galvanized wire springs have the others beat. Whereas oil-tempered springs can sometimes rust, galvanized springs seldom have this problem. Moreover, unlike coated springs, galvanized springs don't have vulnerable spots where moisture can impact the steel.

Maintenance

  • People rarely factor future maintenance costs when choosing between different types of torsion springs. This can be faulty if you're on a budget because some spring types are more liable than others to need periodic maintenance. Simply put, a galvanized wire spring might need an annual or biannual readjustment, whereas an oil-tempered spring will seldom need any maintenance.

Cleanliness

  • Some homeowners complain about the oily residue that gets inadvertently smeared on nearby garage door parts when oil-tempered springs are installed. While such problems are often merely the result of a hasty installation, some people opt for galvanized or coated wire springs simply because there's no oil involved in the wire finishing process.

Budget

  • The amount of money you're looking to spend on a torsion spring could also influence your choice. Compare prices between oil-tempered springs, galvanized wire springs and coated torsion springs to determine your best option.

Whether you select an oil-tempered wire spring supplier or a coated spring manufacturer for a solution to the torsion problems in your garage, you're bound to wind up happiest with your selection once you've fully understood your needs as a homeowner the moment you go into a purchase.

Get a New Torsion Spring From Industrial Spring

The torsion spring for your garage is responsible for the most critical function of your house. As the largest and heaviest opening into your house, the door itself must be equipped for proper speeds and motions. If any of these relied-upon functions were to fail, the consequences could be of danger to children, pets, vehicles and adults. Therefore, it's crucial for the torsion spring to be strong, properly adjusted and rust free.

Today, oil-tempered wire spring manufacturers are responsible for larger numbers of happy homeowners than ever before. Fact is, a properly adjusted, smooth running garage door makes the functions of a house feel far more secure. At Industrial Spring, we carry torsion springs in a variety of types. To learn more about the products we carry, contact us today.