What Should You Do If You Have a Broken Garage Door Cable?

Garage door cables – so small, yet so integral to the function of the door. If you’re having problems opening or closing your garage door, or if you have loose wires hanging down by your garage door, you may have a broken garage door cable.

broken garage door cable

Replacing just the cable is possible, but the job isn’t for everyone. What should you do if you have a broken garage door cable?

What is a Garage Door Cable?

A garage door cable is one of the most important pieces of the unit. Crafted from galvanized wires twisted into a tough and flexible cable, they’re responsible for holding up the weight of the door and winding around a drum as the door opens.

The cables ensure safe operation of the door by preventing the springs from recoiling sharply if one breaks, reducing possible danger and harm.

Although they’re pretty hardy and made from metal, it’s still possible for them to break, rust, or otherwise suffer damage that weakens their ability to do their job.

What’s Wrong With My Garage Door Cables?

There are a few possible reasons for your garage door cable problems. First of all, if they’re old and have been used over and over for years, they can simply break. They suffer wear and tear just like any other piece of equipment and get weaker.

A garage door cable can also wind up incorrectly, causing the door to sag or become jammed. Pulleys can wear out, preventing the cables from gliding smoothly – potentially fraying the wires and setting it up to snap someday.

Can I Prevent My Garage Door Cables From Breaking?

Regular inspection of the garage door cable and other components is the key to preventing breakage. While it’s definitely possible for an old cable to simply break, there are usually warning signs first, such as fraying or jamming.

You should also keep your cables clean and dry, removing any bugs, cobwebs, leaves, or dirt. This will help keep them from rusting. When inspecting the cables, follow them all the way over the pulley system to make sure there isn’t anything stuck in it.

Can I Fix My Broken Garage Door Cable Myself?

While you certainly could fix it yourself if you learned how and took safety precautions, you should be aware that it’s a dangerous project, due to the high levels of tension in the garage door springs.

These springs have to be large and securely attached in order to handle something as heavy as a garage door, and can seriously injure you or a bystander if something goes wrong.

It would save a little money, though not necessarily time, to do it yourself – just be sure that you have the experience and the know-how to make it worth your time and avoid injury.

Safety Precautions for Fixing Broken Garage Door Cables

If you decide to attempt fixing your broken garage door cable yourself, be sure to take proper safety precautions. Start out with gloves and eye protection, and close the garage door fully.

With winding bars, you can lock the torsion springs. You should never do any work on a garage door without ensuring safety around the springs – they can cause serious harm.

Fixing a Broken Garage Door Cable

garage door cable

To fix a broken garage door cable yourself, expect to spend a few hours. You’d need a ladder, wrenches (3/8, 7/16, and ½), winding bars, vice grips, and of course some handyman skills.

First, you’ll have to measure the garage door height. While the sizes can vary, most will be seven feet tall. On an average seven foot door, the cable would be 101 inches. It’s better if a cable ends up a little longer, than a little shorter. Next, the thickness of the new cable should be 1/8”.

Second, once your door is closed and the springs are locked down with winding bars, you can remove the bottom bracket from the track. With pliers, remove the old cable and replace it with the new.

Then you can reattach the bracket, ensuring that the new cable is secure over the roller. You can start up higher and slide it down until it is in the right position.

Next, you would need to check the cable to make sure it can run smoothly behind the rollers without any obstructions.

Locate the cable drum and loosen the screws fixing it to the pole, just enough to where you can spin the drum. Sometimes the drums are difficult to work with and will resist being spun or removed.

In this case, you can spray it with some lubricant and gently tap it with a hammer to help loosen it. Insert the cable, and carefully wind it around the drum. You may find that the drum features grooves where the cable should lie. If so, make sure the cable lines up with them. Don’t let the tension in the cable slip as you tighten up the screws on the drum.

Remember, if you’re taking the time to replace one cable, you may as well replace them both while you’re at it – so repeat the process on the other side next.

After safely releasing the tension in the springs by using the winding bars, you will need to test the new garage door cables manually. Have a helper raise the door while you watch carefully to ensure that the cable is working as it should.

The cables should easily wind around the drums, staying in the grooves without any slack appearing. Do this a few times before you try to use the automatic garage door opener.

Who Can Fix My Broken Garage Door Cable For Me?

If you opt not to go the DIY route for fixing your garage door cable, you can find a trusted garage repair service in your area. Look online or ask on social media for some recommendations, and then set up a few estimates with repair people.

You should look for a service that is experienced, professional and trusted in the community. When the representative arrives to give you an estimate, they should give you a clear idea of what it would cost, what supplies would be needed, and how much time the project would take to complete.

Based on price, skill level and your comfort level with the representative, you’ll be able to make a good choice when hiring a garage door repair service.

A broken garage door cable is annoying and frustrating, but you don’t have to live with a malfunctioning garage door. Whether you choose to fix it yourself or hire a professional, a smoothly operating garage door is just hours away.

From that point on, you now know how to prevent and identify garage door cable problems for the future. If your garage door needs more than just a new cable and has seen better days, it might be time ti replace the entire door.

In such a case, you can trust Feldco for the best garage doors in Chicago. Our installers are trained and certified professionals who’ll get the job done right with no mistakes. Get a free quote now and join the over 350,000 homeowners who’ve counted on us for their home improvement project!

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