Broken garage door cables

Overhead garage door cable maintenance is an important part of fall household maintenance.

When the weather is cold, no one wants to get out and fiddle with their garage door. As with many things, regular preventative maintenance will save you money and time in the long run. Checking your garage door should be put on the “honey-do” list for fall projects. With a regular maintenance schedule, you should be able to prevent, or quickly catch any problems before they become an issue. 

This blog will look at garage door cables, just one part of the hardware that keeps your garage door opening smoothly.

Things that can go wrong with your garage door cable system

The cables in your garage door are an essential component. When they fail, it can be caused by several things.

  • A jammed overhead garage door may mean the garage door cable has wrapped itself around the pulley drum.
  • If one side of the overhead door has dropped, it is probably a problem with the cable, leading to the door sticking on its way to closure.
  • Cables can break or come off the pulley and need re-threading. Broken garage door cables have the potential to cause more damage if the door opens with a broken cable.
  • Garage door cables can rust. They are made of metal strands, twisted together. Along with moisture drawn up on snowy days, sometimes things like dirt and small rocks can get between loose wires. Eventually, they will cut through a cable with repeated garage door use.

Types Of Garage Door Cables

There are different types of cable related to the size and thickness of the overhead door. The garage door springs also need a specific type of cable.

Torsion springs use lift cables, where the cable is secured at the bottom of the door and is attached to the torsion springs mounted at the top of the door. Extension springs use retaining cable that runs through mounted on either side of the door. If the garage door spring breaks, the cable will fly off, causing serious damage.

So, How Can I Inspect The Cables?

  • First, check to see if the wire has any rust, wear or broken threads sticking out of the cable.
  • Make sure the garage door cable is not loose or falling off the pulleys. Are they cut too long, or did the wires stretch with time?
  • You might find that there are wear spots in the pulley wheels that, in turn, wear on the cable. 
  • Open and close the garage door and see if the cable is rubbing against any other hardware. Note and clean off things like mud or small stones caught in the cable or its track, as this can also cause wear and breakage of cables.

Draw up a yearly maintenance schedule and note your observations. If there are problems, you will want to call a professional garage door repair company to arrange a technician’s visit.

Why Call An Overhead Door Company?

You can try to fix your cables yourself if you are mechanically inclined. There are plenty of YouTube videos to study before tackling the replacement of your garage cables. However, there are some safety risks, especially if you don’t have adequate tools or knowledge.

Garage door repair
If your garage door isn't closing properly, it's time to call in an expert
  • Professional garage door companies have the appropriate safety equipment and tools. They carry tools like cable winding bars that are needed to lock the springs from ejection during repairs. 
  • There might be more complex problems with the door that an experienced technician can pinpoint. 
  • The process will take several hours and involve ladder work, which may be tiring for the home handyman.
  • The garage door repair technician can accurately measure the door. They also know how to calculate the proper length for the cable and determine the cable width needed for the garage door repair. 
  • A technician will know the technique to adjust the cable on the pulley drum. There is a trick to not losing tension on the line while reattaching the other end of the garage door cable.
  • They carry the correct lubrication oils and know which hardware needs oiling, ensuring the cable runs smoothly. 
  • They can also replace the other cable at the same time, to give you a reliable benchmark for maintenance work.

Establishing a yearly checkup for your garage door and calling a trusted repair company when needed, will be a proactive action to keep those winter entries and exits stress-free.

At A1 Overhead Doors, we offer garage door repairs and replacements to the Calgary area. Give us a call or email us to discuss a yearly maintenance program, 403 923-8186.