There are two types of garage door springs - torsion and extension ones. Torsion springs have traditionally been used with heavier residential doors, but now they are becoming more common. Most doors use one, but larger ones may require two. The torsion spring sits around a metal shaft and applies torque to it via drums installed at the end of the shaft. There is an extension cable attached to each drum. Each cable goes down to the bottom of the door where it is secured to it. The torsion spring unwinds during the opening of the door and winds during its closing to keep the balance of the system.
Extension springs also work to counterbalance the door during movement, but use a different mechanism. Most residential doors require at least two - one on each side of the door. The springs are installed right above the horizontal tracks. They have safety cables running through them. They stretch and contract when the door moves.