What’s the Difference Between Oil-Tempered and Zinc-Galvanized Torsion Springs?

Written by AAA Garage on . Posted in Uncategorized

garagedoorwithspringsIf you ever need a torsion spring replacement for your garage door, there’s plenty you’ll need to consider as you choose among the many options available to you. In addition to choosing the right length, wire size, and weight, you’ll also have to decide whether you should use an oil-tempered torsion spring or opt for its zinc-galvanized counterpart.

Both oil-tempered and zinc-galvanized torsion springs offer their own unique sets of advantages and drawbacks. The following takes an in-depth look at both types of garage-door torsion springs so you can decide which option works best for your particular garage door.

Oil-Tempered Torsion Springs

So you’re probably wondering what the term “oil-tempered” means when it comes to an oil-tempered torsion spring. The term refers to the oil-tempering process that these particular garage-door torsion springs undergo in order to increase their overall strength.

The process itself involves heating the cold-drawn spring wire that’s destined to become a torsion spring. Once the wire is sufficiently hot, the torsion spring is rapidly quenched in a vat of oil. Afterward, the spring is reheated to a slightly lower temperature, which effectively tempers the metal so it offers improved tensile strength and better resistance to deformation.

The vast majority of garage doors that rely on torsion springs use oil-tempered torsion springs by default, largely due to their cost and abundant availability.

Pros and Cons

Oil-tempered torsion springs offer several unique advantages:

  • High durability—Oil-tempered torsion springs are well known for their exceptional durability. It’s not uncommon for an oil-tempered spring under heavy, constant use to outlast its zinc-galvanized counterpart by a considerable margin.
  • Affordability—Oil-tempered torsion springs typically cost less than their zinc-galvanized counterparts due to lower material costs and a simpler manufacturing process.
  • No need for adjustment—Another benefit of an oil-tempered torsion spring is that it’s able to maintain its tensile strength longer than a typical zinc-galvanized torsion spring. As a result, oil-tempered springs rarely need adjustment unless the spring is significantly aged or has a manufacturing defect.

However, there are a few downsides to consider:

  • Poor rust protection—Oil-tempered torsion springs offer little to no natural protection against rust formation. Fortunately, certain types of lubricant can be applied to the spring to protect it against corrosive moisture that could lead to severe rust and premature garage-door spring failure.
  • Poor aesthetics—Many homeowners dislike the flat, black appearance of oil-tempered torsion springs.
  • Messy installation—The oil-tempering process leaves behind a film residue that can make it difficult to keep your hands clean when installing these types of garage-door torsion springs. This makes the use of protective gloves mandatory for anyone who installs oil-tempered torsion springs.

It pays to keep these pros and cons in mind when considering oil-tempered torsion springs for your garage door.

Zinc-Galvanized Torsion Springs

Zinc-galvanized springs are another type of torsion spring used for garage doors, although they’re not as commonly used as their oil-tempered counterparts. These springs rely on a considerably different process to get their strength and durability.

Whereas oil-tempered torsion springs are heated and quenched in oil, zinc-galvanized springs are subjected to the hot-dip galvanization process. This process involves immersing the steel spring in a vat of molten zinc at extremely high temperatures.

Once the spring is removed from the bath, exposure to oxygen transforms the pure zinc into zinc oxide, which then forms zinc carbonate when exposed to carbon dioxide.

Pros and Cons

There are a few advantages that zinc-galvanized torsion springs offer over their oil-tempered counterparts:

  • Rust-resistant—Many people choose zinc-galvanized torsion springs because of their incredible resistance to rust and corrosion, thanks in large part to the hot-dip galvanization process. Free from the constant threat of rust formation, zinc-galvanized springs offer a longer lifespan than most oil-tempered springs.
  • No residue—Unlike oil tempering, the hot-dip galvanization process leaves behind little to no visible residue. This means you’ll be able to keep your hands cleaner when handling zinc-galvanized springs.
  • Better aesthetics—If you’re really concerned with how your garage looks, you may take the shinier appearance of zinc-galvanized torsion springs over darker and duller oil-tempered springs.

Unfortunately, these torsion springs also come with a few downsides:

  • Less tensile strength—Unlike oil-tempered torsion springs, zinc-galvanized springs tend to lose their tensile strength over time. As a result, frequent adjustments are needed to keep your garage door properly balanced.
  • Noisier operation—Zinc-galvanized torsion springs tend to be a bit “chattier” during operation than their oil-tempered counterparts. If you’re expecting quiet garage-door operation, then you may want to stick with oil-tempered torsion springs.
  • Higher cost—On average, zinc-galvanized torsion springs command a higher price tag than their oil-tempered counterparts.  

Zinc-galvanized torsion springs are ideal for garages located in humid or tropical climates where exposure to heavy amounts of moisture or salt-laden air can quickly create heavy rust and corrosion. Otherwise, oil-galvanized torsion springs tend to offer better value and durability.

If it’s time to replace your garage door’s torsion springs, turn to the pros at AAA Garage Door, Inc. Generally, we use oil-tempered torsion springs for nearly every door since we find that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. However, both types are available, and we can help you choose the right torsion spring for your garage door and handle the installation process.