How to Measure and Order Your Replacement Torsion Springs

Posted on December 5, 2018 by IDC Spring

Updated May 14th, 2020

Providing the correct torsion or extension spring for your application is our number one priority. From standard springs to hard-to-find replacement springs, IDC Spring promises the right spring for your application. Let us match your requirements to the correct IDC Spring solution. The guidelines below help identify the right spring, every time… Easy as 1, 2, 3, 4.

Step 1:

spring wind

Look at the end of the spring to determine the wind direction. If the end of the spring points in the clockwise direction it is a left-wound and if the end of the spring points in the counter-clockwise direction, it is right-wound.

Sometimes this step can cause confusion. If you are not sure about your spring’s wind-direction, contact our team today, and we would be happy to assist you.


Step 2:

Measure the length, in inches, of ten or twenty coil of the spring that needs to be replaced. Then compare that measurement to the chart to determine the correct wire size. Check out our length per coils and wire size chart 


Step 3:

step 3 - measure inside diameter
For torsion springs, measure the inside diameter to the 1/16” of an inch.




Step 4:

step 4 - measure overall length
Measure the overall length of the spring to the nearest quarter inch.

For any additional questions, explore the rest of the in-depth guide below, or contact our team today.

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In-Depth Guide: How to Measure and Order Replacement Torsion Springs: Everything You Need to Know

For pretty much anyone who owns an automatic garage door, garage door springs are a vital part of daily life. Anywhere from two to four times each day, the garage door is activated when heading to and from work, the supermarket or places of leisure. As such, the mechanical parts that activate a garage door are among the most utilized pieces of equipment in a typical household. Consequently, garage torsion springs can wear out during the average length of a residential occupancy.

The overhead torsion spring set is the part of a garage door system that allows the door to move up, down and remain suspended at certain heights. With each activation, the coils are pulled out and wound back up. While torsion springs are made to endure such activity, over time the effects of the constant movement can take their toll on the spring wire. Eventually, the springs need to be adjusted or even changed out entirely.

How to Determine the Wind Direction of a Garage Torsion Spring

Before you contact a garage door torsion spring manufacturer, it’s important to know the direction in which a spring is wound. That way, you’ll know whether you need to replace a left-wound spring, a right-wound spring or both. In some cases, you might find that when one garage door torsion spring is broken — be it the left-wound or the right-wound — the other will be nearing the end of its life cycle as well.

How to Determine

spring wind direction graphic

Out of all the information you’ll need to gather before ordering garage door torsion springs, the easiest to determine is the wind of a given spring. Basically, the order of the springs from left to right should tell you everything you need to know.

From the inside of your garage, you’ll likely see two springs along opposite sides of a bar that hangs above the garage door. On most residential doors, the two springs are divided by a stationary cone. Though this might seem confusing at first, the left-wound spring is located to the right of the cone, while the right-wound spring is located to the left. The exception to this rule is when you’re dealing with a garage door that uses a reverse torsion system.

In most cases, right-wound and left-wound springs are further distinguished by demarcation colors along the winding cones and cable drums located at the far end of each spring. For the right-wound spring, the cone and drum is colored red. For the left-wound spring, the two parts are colored black.

Why Does This Matter?

It’s important to know the direction of each torsion spring because this is integral to the operation of the garage door. To make the door raise, each spring must turn in a certain direction. Likewise, the springs need to turn a certain way for the door to lower safely and steadily to the ground. If a wrong-turning torsion spring is applied on either side, the door just won’t function properly.

When you contact an overhead door torsion spring manufacturer to request replacements, be sure to include info about the wind direction of the spring or set of springs you intend to replace. Note the side of the bar on which the spring appears, as well as the color along the end parts.

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How to Determine the Wire Size on Torsion Springs

When you measure a garage door spring, it’s not enough to simply take a tape measure and record the length from one end to the other. You also need to know the size of the wire itself. While this might seem difficult to comprehend, measuring the wire size is actually as easy as running a tape measure along the distance between 10 and 20 coils. The two measurements are then correlated to a wire size chart.

A lot of people would assume that wire size would more accurately be determined with the use of calipers or micrometers, but this is not the case. For instance, if a coil has a kink, a micrometer will give you an inaccurate reading. Likewise, if the coils are coated with paint along the outside, it could cause a slight swelling in the circumference of the spring, which would also render a caliper measurement inaccurate.

Coil Length to Wire Size Chart

Length of 10 coils (in Inches)Length of 20 Coils (in Inches)Wire Size
1 1/4
2 1/2.125
1 3/82 3/4.135
1 7/162 7/8.142
1 1/23.148
1 9/163 1/8.156
1 5/83 1/4.162
1 1/163 3/8.170
1 3/43 1/2.177
1 7/83 3/4.187
1 15/163 7/8.192
2 1/164 1/8.207
2 3/164 3/8.218
2 1/44 1/2.225
2 5/164 5/8.234
2 7/164 7/8.243
2 1/25.250
2 5/85 1/4.262
2 3/45 1/2.273
2 13/165 5/8.283
2 7/85 3/4.289
2 15/165 7/8.295
3 1/166 1/8.306
3 1/86 1/4.312
3 3/166 3/8.319
3 5/166 5/8.331
3 7/166 7/8.343
3 5/87 1/8.362
3 3/47 1/2.375
3 15/167 7/8.393
4 1/168 1/8.406
4 7/328 7/16.421
4 5/168 5/8.430
4 3/88 3/4.437
4 17/329 1/16.453
4 11/169 3/8.468
4 7/89 3/4.490
510 .500
5 5/1610 5/8.531
5 5/811 1/4.562
6 1/412 1/2.625

How to Measure If the Spring Is Intact

If you’re replacing a garage door torsion spring that’s faulty yet intact, it’s relatively easy to determine the wire size. First, you’ll want to lay the spring down on a table and pull out three scraps of paper. Place one scrap between two random coils, then place a second scrap exactly ten coils down the spring. Measure the distance between the two scraps of paper. Then, place the third scrap exactly ten coils down from the second, and measure the length from first to third scrap, between the 20 coils.

Next, take the 10-coil and 20-coil measurements, and see how they correlate on the wire size chart above. For example, you might get measurements of 1 1/4 inches between the first 10 coils and 2.5 inches between all 20 coils. These numbers will likely correlate to one of the sizes on your manufacturer’s wire chart. If not, round things off to the nearest 16th of an inch.

How to Measure If the Spring Is Broken

When you need to replace a broken overhead door torsion spring, the task of measuring can be a bit trickier. Once again, you’ll need to set things down on a table and pull up three scraps of paper. If one of the spring halves is long enough, you can probably measure both the 10-coil and 20-coil lengths on that half. Follow the same steps as you would with an intact spring: Place three scraps at 10-coil intervals — you’ll have a scrap at coil 1, 10 and 20. Measure distances between the first and second scrap as well as between the first and third scrap.

On the other hand, you might need to pull both halves of the spring together to get an accurate measurement of the two lengths. For example, on EZ-Set springs, gaps exist between the coils. Therefore, you’re unlikely to get a 20-coil measurement from one half of a broken spring. In a situation like this, you’ll want to place the first two scraps on whichever side contains 10 coils, then pull it together with the other half. Then, place the third scrap at the 20th coil and measure both distances.

Other Wire Size Information to Know

Wire size can be hard to determine on rusty coils, which could throw off measurements taken by a caliper or micrometer. The main problem here is that rust can cause wires to expand and then shrink, which results in an altered size from anything on the size chart of the average garage torsion springs manufacturer. When corrosion does occur, however, it tends to be along the outside, rather than in between the winding coils. Therefore, the paper-scrap measuring technique really is the most foolproof method for measuring wire size.

As a standard act of precaution, no coils should be touched while the torsion spring is still on the bars above your garage door. Safely remove the spring or spring halves that need to be replaced, and do all handling on a flat surface. Also, don’t directly touch the set screws or any of the bolts to the stationary cone.

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How to Measure the Inside Diameter (ID) of a Torsion Spring

measure inside spring diameter

Before you contact an overhead door torsion spring manufacturer for replacement springs, you’ll need to know the diameter of the springs that currently need to be replaced. On many garage door spring sets, this is the easiest task of all, because you often don’t have to make any measurements. If you check the winding or stationary cone, you might see a number like 1.75 or 2.0. In the case of the former, the spring would have a 1 3/4-inch diameter. With the latter, the spring would have a two-inch diameter.

If no such number appears to be listed on the spring components, you’ll need to take a simple measurement by hand. With the spring placed down on a flat surface, run a ruler or measuring tape along the inside diameter of the spring. The resulting measurement is the diameter of the spring. For example, if the ruler reads 1 3/4″ across the hole within the coils, the wire has a diameter of 1 3/4 inches.

How to Measure the Overall Length of a Torsion Spring

The most important measurement of all on a torsion spring is the overall length from one end to the other. The length of a torsion spring is integral to its winding capacity. If you have a large garage door, for example, you can’t have an undersized spring and expect to get the needed lifting and lowering ability. Simply put, torsion spring length is one of the key aspects to the unique power of automatic garage doors.

The task of measuring the length of a torsion spring is perhaps the easiest of all the tasks discussed here, because it involves no special tricks or unique understandings. Basically, you run a tape measure along the length of a spring, and take down the number of inches. Therefore, if your tape measure indicates that a torsion spring is 36 inches from one end to the other, that’s a 36-inch — or three foot — torsion spring.

How to Measure If the Spring Is Intact

If you have a torsion spring that’s intact yet faulty, lay it down on a table and run a tape measure from one end to the other. Start at the first coil on one end and extend the measuring device to the final coil. Don’t include the end cone itself, but do include any coils contained with the cone. Write down the number of inches and provide this information to a trusty garage door torsion spring manufacturer.

How to Measure If the Spring Is Broken

When a garage door torsion spring breaks in half, both parts must be pulled together on a flat surface to get a proper measurement of the length. Simply place the two broken ends into place with one another, then pull a tape measure across the full length. If you have trouble holding the spring halves together during this task, shove one of the far ends of the spring against a wall while running the tape measure.

Some homeowners wonder why it’s not advisable to measure the individual lengths of partial springs and add the total measurements together. While it might seem like an easier method, you could actually end up more confused — or with an inaccurate sum — by trying to add partial measurements together. There could always be a quarter–inch that’s missed in one of the measurements, or a faulty measurement of the coil length at the points where the wire has broken.

Other Length Information to Know

Torsion springs cannot be measured while active. When a garage door is in motion, for instance, each spring grows by a single coil in length for every turn. Therefore, a spring on an open garage door — even if just partially open — will not lend itself to accurate measurements.

Information to Have on Hand When Ordering New Springs

When you contact a garage door torsion spring manufacturer to order new springs, it’s important to have all the accurate info on hand to ensure your new springs will match the ones needing to be replaced.

Information Needed:

  • Length
  • Inside Diameter
  • Wire Size
  • Wind Direction

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You need to have proper measurements of the length, diameter, wire size and wind direction of each spring that needs to be changed out. That way, the torsion spring sales representative can assist you in finding springs that will perfectly fit your garage door system.

Get New Garage Torsion Springs From IDC Spring

In the time you occupy a given household, you’re bound to need repairs at some point to the mechanisms of your garage door. Whether you need to replace the left spring, right spring or both, it’s important to know how to gather useful information so you can find the right replacements. Even if you’ve never handled tasks like this before, the learning experience can be invaluable because it prepares you for problems that might arise in the future with your garage door torsion system.

At IDC Spring, we help occupants of residential and commercial properties find suitable torsion springs for garages of various sizes. Our commitment to customer satisfaction has been recognized by 17 of the top 25 manufacturers in the garage door industry, who now use us as their vendor. To learn more about what we can offer for your garage door, take a look at our torsion springs product pages and contact us today.

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