Garage Door Cable Broke? This is Why and Here is How to Fix It

Your garage door cable broke? If you are reading this, then I guess so. The garage door cable is an essential part of the operation of your garage door. Without it, rest assured that there is no way you can open or close the door. It works with garage door rollers to smoothly lift and gently drop your garage door when it is in operation. But fret not, that is why we wrote this article: to explain to you the reason why the cable breaks, how to open or close your garage door when it happens, and how to replace the garage door cable. Now let’s get into it. Here is the reason why garage door cable breaks. 

Garage door cable breaks or snaps due to wear and tear. The cable gets worse with years of constant door usage. It can also break when the bearings in your pulley are faulty. Another thing that will cause your garage door cable to break is corrosion.

Now let me explain this in detail. To understand this, you need to know how the garage door cable works. Depending on the type of springs your garage door uses, your garage door cable serves two primary functions.

It functions as a lift cable 

In this configuration, the cable is attached to the floor and then connects to the torsion springs with the help of pulleys. It makes the entire opening and closing function of the garage door very efficient and reduces the tension on the springs. In other words, it assists in the smooth lifting and dropping of the heavy garage door.

It functions as a retaining cable.

As a safety measure, garage door cables hold extension springs in place. This is very critical because when the spring snaps or breaks, the cable prevents it from flying off, thereby preventing any accidents.

It is rare for a newly installed garage door to have issues. But as years pass by, frequent use of your garage deteriorates the cables and makes them weak, and eventually, it breaks. 

If your garage door cable broke earlier than expected, then the problem may be from a faulty bearing inside the pulley. A defective bearing hinders the proper movement of the garage door cable, causing a lot of stress on it.

As I mentioned earlier, rusting can also shorten the lifespan of your garage door cable. This is caused by moisture found on the bottom of the garage door cables. 

How to Fix a Broken Garage Door Cable

broken garage door cable
Broken garage door cable

When the garage door cable breaks, there is only one way to fix it, that is, to replace it. You can’t repair the broken cable. If you consider yourself handy with tools and have experience in working on DIY projects, then replacing your broken garage door cable will be a simple task. However, if you are not, then hire a professional garage door repair technician to fix it for you safely. You can get injured in the process if you don’t take the necessary safety precautions. If you believe you can handle the task, let’s proceed.

These are tools required to fix your garage door cable safely.

  • New replacement garage door cable
  • Three pairs of visor clips (minimum of two)
  • Ladder

Let’s talk a bit about the garage door cable. It would be best if you had a high-quality garage door cable that will stand the test of time. You don’t want to purchase a cheap replacement cable that will last for a few months or just a couple of years. Below are the best garage door cables available on the market right now.

Garage door Cables for Extension Springs

Garage Door Cables for Torsion Springs

Disclaimer: This guide on “How to Replace a Garage Door Cable” is for educational purposes only. Garage Adviser is not liable to injury that may occur in the process of replacing your cable.

The video below shows you how to simply replace your garage door cable. If you need a step-by-step written guide, it is available below the video

  1. As a safety measure, disconnect your garage door opener from the power source. You don’t want your garage door to drop on you by accident.
  2. The next step is to detach the garage door opener from the bracket holding the door. This means the garage door is no more under the control of the opener
  3. Now with the help of someone, manually lift the door. Take extra care during this process, especially on the side of the broken garage door cable. Carefully lift the door till it reaches the top
  4. Now take your visor grip and secure the door and keep it open by clipping the tracks on both sides, just below the door. One visor clip may work, but to improve your safety, I recommended you get another pair for the other side. The door is secured correctly, and there is less tension on your spring and the cable. So it is safe to remove them
  5. On top of the garage door is the shaft, hold it with the other visor grip, and turn it, not too much, just a little to loosen the cable. If you turn it too much, the cable on the other side will loosen as well; you don’t want that to happen. Now you can unwind it from the cable drum.
  6. Check the ends of your new garage door cable. One end has a tip that fits perfectly inside the cable drum. Put it inside the drum and wind it tightly on the cable drum. When you’re done, fix the other end, which is a cable loop, to the pin at the bottom of the garage door.
  7. After you’re done, turn the shaft back in position, with the visor grip.
  8. Check the other side of your door, if the garage door cable is still tightly wound on the cable drum.

If you followed these steps to the latter, you have successfully replaced your broken garage door cable. Now you can safely remove the visor grip on the tracks, and gently lower the door down. Then you can fix the garage door opener back to the bracket and connect it to a power source.

How to Prevent Garage Door Cables from Breaking

With the proper care and attention to your garage door cables and other parts of your garage door, you will have a long-lasting functional garage door for a long time before you see any signs of damage. These are tips on how to preventing your cables from any damage.

Routine inspection on your garage door parts

Make it a point to not only inspect your garage door cable but the entire door parts as well. When you’re inspecting the wire, check for fraying or kinks. The garage door cable consists of several strands of galvanizing wire. This means, when the strands begin to deteriorate, it will make the wire, and eventually get your garage door cable broke.

Also, inspect the pulley and the bearing inside of it. As mentioned earlier, a faulty bearing will put a lot of stress on your cable and will end up damaging it.

Get the right cable size for your garage door

The lifespan of your garage door cable is determined by the weight and of your garage door. If your garage door is hefty, especially those made of wood, you’ll need a thicker cable. If the garage door weight exceeds the strength of the cable, the strands will begin to break gradually, eventually causing it to break.

Get the right cable length.

If your door uses extension springs, it’s crucial to have long garage door cable. It runs from the extension springs, located on top of your garage door to the floor, through a pulley. If the cable length is too long, the cable will sag, making it hard to open the door. If it’s too short, chances are it will break earlier than expected. However, garage doors that have torsion springs installed use a relatively shorter cable.

No contact with moisture or any liquid

To make your garage door cable last longer, ensure there is no water or any liquid on your garage floor, or there are no leaks on the ceiling that will get into it. Because when the wire gets into contact with water, it will rust after a while.

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