By Balanced Garage Doors
When owning a car, we are accustomed to replacing the tires after driving 30,000 to 40,000 miles. Opening and closing a garage door imparts wear and tear on the garage spring system, just like driving on a highway creates wear and tear on an automobile tire. After an extended period of use, your garage door springs will need to be replaced. Since replacement will be required on a cyclical basis, being better informed on how to control and minimize garage spring repair costs will be of interest to many homeowners. An insider's view may help.
Garage Door Spring Replacement Choices are often limited
Unlike a tire center, which carries many brands, models, and sizes to provide customers with a comprehensive selection, a typical garage door repair company has limited space on their service trucks to carry replacement parts. In general, a service truck is stocked with a single manufacturer’s brand of garage springs with a standard coil diameter in various length and wire gauge thickness configurations required to properly match with the multitude of garage door sizes and weights that exist. The number of choices that must be stocked is further multiplied by your garage door set up, requiring either a right or left-side winding pattern for torsion springs and a separate inventory of springs to repair extension spring systems.
Based on your particular door’s weight, there will, more than likely, be only one spring size on a technician’s truck that will precisely replace your broken garage door spring. Thus, a customer needing a new garage door spring will not be directly choosing a replacement spring from a large selection of brands like they would a new set of tires. But instead, the quality of spring used in their repair will be determined by their choice of a garage door repair company and the quality and range of sizes of garage replacement springs they carry or have on their service truck when making the repair call.
Like most products, there are garage door springs that are of higher quality than others. The manufacturing method and grade of metal used as well as the end cone style, coil diameter, number of coil winds, wire gauge thickness, and an assortment of coatings and finishes all impact the quality and life expectancy of a spring. National garage door repair companies generally sell their private brand of springs, openers, and doors, which are not widely reviewed.
When homeowners schedule a garage spring repair, the above technical specifications determining the quality and performance of a garage door spring will most likely be unknown to them. So, how can a homeowner assess the quality and performance of the replacement spring proposed by a garage door repair company?
Do You Need a High-Performance Garage Door Spring?
A good starting point is to estimate the number of times you open and close your garage door on average, including going to the mailbox, doing chores around the yard, and your children coming and going. For example, if your average is six opening/closing cycles a day, a very reasonable estimate, a garage spring rated at 10,000+ cycles should last between 4.5 and 5 years.
If you plan to stay in your home another five years or longer and your garage door spring repair cycle is estimated to be less than six years, you should consider a higher quality replacement spring to replace your broken garage door spring. The incremental cost will pay for itself many times over by the significant increase in spring cycle performance.
Buying an extended parts warranty or even a lifetime parts warranty on a 10,000+ cycle spring is not the same as buying a higher quality spring because the majority of these types of warranties come with additional labor installation costs that are not specified. Replacing a garage door spring covered by a lifetime warranty that breaks every six years while paying additional installation costs each time is not a cost-effective option and may prove more expensive in the long run. Besides, you might not want the same brand of replacement spring carried by the garage door repair company installed again if it did not meet your performance expectations.
A 10,000+ cycle rating has become the generic standard cycle rating for garage torsion and extension spring replacements. Since all 10,000+ cycle rated springs are not created equally, finding the optimum performance value for a replacement spring with a 10,000+ cycle rating will require a little more scrutiny on the part of a homeowner. Being better informed can help homeowners manage their garage door repair costs even in emergency situations.
Factors to consider when choosing a garage Spring replacement
Rather than automatically dialing the phone number on your old garage door sticker to make your garage spring repair, you may want to engage two or more garage door companies to have more than one option for a replacement spring. A homeowner should take into account the following considerations when attempting to evaluate a garage door spring replacement:
- Where Made - Is the spring replacement made in the USA or China? Chinese steel does not always conform to the highest standards for heat-treated steel like American steel. Therefore, garage springs made out of Chinese steel are subject to a higher failure rate due to having less elasticity than those made in the USA. Since garage door springs made in China are not stamped made in China, only your garage door repair company knows for sure.
- How Made - Another factor is the spring’s manufacturing process. Local garage door repair companies either install oil tempered carbon steel manufactured springs (hot process) or galvanized coated springs (cold process), which are secondary processes used to treat steel wire to enhance garage spring performance. There are arguments as to which is more durable. Balanced Garage Doors comes down on the side of the most widely installed spring, the black-coated oil-tempered version, which we consider the affordable sweet spot for high performance in the spectrum of garage door springs.
- Length - Wire gauge thickness and number of coils determine the length of a torsion spring and impact its long-term cycle performance. A longer torsion spring with the same strength rating (IPPT) as a shorter spring generally has more durability. For torsion springs, a 1¾ inch torsion spring with the same wire gauge and IPPT rating as a 2-inch spring will be longer and have more coils resulting in enhanced cycle performance.
- End Connections - In the case of extension springs, finding a spring with a more durable end connection such as double looped or clipped ends versus open ends will increase durability and enhance its performance. Garage door spring manufacturers apply a standard color system to the ends of their extension springs to identify each spring’s pull weight in 10-pound increments. The colored spring ends help the garage technician identify the proper replacement spring compatible with the homeowner’s door weight. For example, a 7-foot garage door weighing 120 pounds requires a 25"x42"x120 pounds extension spring configuration whose end connection is painted green. You can find the "Official Color Codes for Torsion and Extension Springs" by clicking on the following link.
- Coatings/Finishes - In addition to steel's elasticity factor and manufacturing process, science tells us that there are other performance differences between replacement garage springs based on coatings and finishes. There are higher-end springs with specialized coatings such as powder coated and with finishes such as shot-peening that can be purchased. However, they are generally not stocked on a technician's service truck and can significantly increase the spring repair cost because they have limited demand.
- Warranties - When you hire a garage door repair company to replace a broken spring, you will discover that the garage spring repair comes with two limited time-based warranties, one for the spring part and the other for the installation. The typical basic replacement spring warranty can range from 90-days up to 5-years, while the labor warranty ranges from 30-days up to 1-year regardless of the garage spring 's cycle rating and parts warranty.
Garage door repair companies in your area may carry torsion springs with different diameters, wire gauges, lengths, and coatings determined by the brand and quality of the replacement spring they install with the same IPPT rating for your particular garage door weight. They may carry different brands of extension springs with varying end connections and coatings as well.
In addition, they offer different parts and labor/installation warranties. These differences can help a homeowner differentiate the quality of replacement garage door springs in relation to the cost of the repair between two or more garage door repair companies.
An Insider's Opinion
In our opinion, controlling long-term garage door spring repair costs is more effectively done by spending money on a higher quality replacement spring than paying extra for an extended warranty. In general, garage door repair companies that install higher quality replacement springs usually provide extended duration parts and labor warranties without additional charge.
Keep in mind that scheduling a routine maintenance for your garage every 1 to 2 years will help prevent unnecessary wear and tear on all components of a garage system, which can save repair costs in the long run. Loose cables, among other issues, contribute to the premature weakening of a garage door spring.
In most local communities, a garage door repair company's service area ranges from 20 miles to 60 miles. As a result, you should find a wide selection of repair companies you can choose between to find the best value for your garage repair.