Garage door springs have long been made using oil tempered steel. Oil tempered garage door springs
are coated with oil when they are manufactured and have an oily film present when installed. This can
be troublesome if the installer does not take the time to wipe off oily hand prints from the garage door
panels and other painted surfaces after installation.
In the 1980’s manufacturers began the process of galvanizing garage door torsion springs. Galvanizing
garage door springs attempted to serve two purposes. the first was to attempt to improve the life of the
spring, and the second was to provide a cleaner spring.(without the oily coating) To galvanize the spring,
they started with the oil tempered steel spring and coated it with zinc. In most cases this was done by
dipping the steel spring into a hot bath of zinc allowing the zinc to coat the steel. It has been seen that
galvanizing the steel spring weakens the spring. Galvanized springs seem to need more adjustment over
the life of the spring than do the oil tempered steel springs. These adjustments require adding tension
to the springs which in turn shortens the life cycles of the springs.
Another alternative tried is coating oil tempered springs. This process involves using a paint like
substance to coat the spring and an electrical bonding to finish it. The problem here is in the finish, if
spots do not get bonded then moisture can penetrate the spring in those areas causing premature
breakage due to rust. Each of these processes is an attempt to prevent rust from developing on the
springs, rust will cause premature spring breakage in any spring.
The difference between galvanized and coated springs is the process of each. Galvanizing involves
dipping the steel spring into hot zinc and coating involves spraying the springs and using an electrical
bonding process. Each process is an attempt to seal the spring and prevent rusting from occurring. Each
process has its own different weakness.
In my opinion oil tempered springs are still the best thing on the market today. The process of
galvanizing steel springs weakens the steel and coating the steel springs leaves possible room for
moisture to penetrate the metal and cause rusting. The best answer to me is still to make it a practice of
oiling your spring with a quality garage door lubricant 2-3 times per year. Lubrication is the key to
prolonging the life of your garage door spring be it oil tempered, galvanized or coated. Oil will prevent
rust from forming and thus help to prolong the life of your garage door springs. The opinions here are
based on my experience with different springs and talking with other technicians.
As technology improves, there may be a better product, but as of now I do not see any benefit to either
the galvanized or coated springs over oil tempered springs. In fact I see distinct weaknesses to each
compared to oil tempered springs. Talk to your garage door technician about the differences and then
make the best choice for yourself.