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

Posted on December 5, 2018 by IDC Spring

Updated: January 24th, 2020

Wherever you need to handle immense amounts of pressure and tension, springs are sometimes the best choice. A wide variety of products and equipment depend on mechanical springs to ensure proper functioning. Everything from garage doors to farm equipment to furniture uses these versatile springs.

Depending on your application, different spring wire types and finishes may be better solutions for you to provide the best reliability, durability and longevity. Three of the most common wire types and finishes used by our spring partners are oil-tempered, powder-coated, and galvanized.

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Oil-Tempered Wire Spring

oiled tempered springs

For garage door springs and in various mechanical spring applications, a commonly used spring type is oil-tempered wire. 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 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 are 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 some manufacturers often prefer other types of torsion springs. Nonetheless, oil-tempered springs have been around for a while and have proven to be the least maintenance-prone and the most durable.

Benefits of Using an Oil-Tempered Wire Spring

Many industrial experts opt for durability in their spring applications. Therefore, oil-tempered springs remain the most ubiquitous type of torsion spring for the following reasons:

  • Long-Lasting: The foremost reason that so many prefer oil-tempered springs is durability. Simply put, oiled torsion springs can last a long time. The long life is due to the lubricating qualities of the oil, which helps maintain the coiling action.
  • Rarely Needs Adjustments: Oil-tempered springs for both garage door spring uses and other mechanical spring issues rarely need adjustments
  • Quiet: Unlike other types of torsion springs, oil-tempered springs don’t make creaking noises. For many, 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 with those who are looking for optimal performance and durability.

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Powder-Coated Wire Spring

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

As the newest of spring options, powder-coated wire springs are seen more often in recent applications. Many manufacturers and homeowners like the coated torsion spring for its visual appeal, strength and clean surface.

What Is a Powder-Coated Wire Spring?

Powder-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. Made from the same torsion spring steel as the two other leading styles, the production of powder-coated springs involves a unique process, wherein paint is used to coat the wires, and the electrical bonding seals the coat.

A powder-coated torsion spring will generally look good in a variety of applications. For home use, this 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 Powder-Coated Wire Springs

benefits of coated wire springs

Manufacturers often choose the powder-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 powder-coated spring is popular for the following reasons:

  • Attractive: As with galvanized wire springs, powder-coated springs are often considered more attractive than old-fashioned oil-tempered springs. Once again, the opinion comes down to the preference of the user or homeowner.
  • Resilient: Powder-coated wire springs are mostly resistant to moisture, so they are seldom prone to rust. As such, a powder-coated torsion spring can be counted on to maintain proper functionality for 10,000 even 20,000 cycles
  • Not Oily: Since there’s no oil involved in the finished makeup of powder-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 a powder-coated spring manufacturer who expects this option to overtake oil-tempered or galvanized wire springs, coated wire springs remain a good choice for many aesthetic applications.

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Galvanized Wire Spring

During the early 1990s, home builders and homeowners sought alternatives to the oil-tempered spring in their garage doors. However, the galvanized spring, which on the surface looks like a silvery version of the blackish oil-tempered wire spring, 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

Those 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.
  • Rust Resistant: 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 popular, galvanized wire springs still have benefits to those who choose to use them.

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How to Choose the Right Spring

how to choose the right spring

With three main options to choose from, a torsion spring is one of the less confining choices you can make regarding the design of a product. 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:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. Cleanliness

Some people complain about the oily residue that gets inadvertently smeared on nearby 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.

6. 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 from the moment you go into a purchase.

Get a New Torsion Spring From IDC Spring

Whether you make farming equipment, furniture, garage doors or anything else that uses torsion springs, make sure you are using a high-quality spring and setup. In many applications, a bad spring could cause safety hazards for anyone in the area. The same applies if it is not set up correctly. Your torsion spring must be strong, properly adjusted and free of rust.

Manufacturers in a variety of industries across the country look to IDC Spring to meet their needs. At IDC Spring, we carry torsion springs in a variety of types. To learn more about the products we carry, contact us today.




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