The Garage Door Cable Came Off. What Should I Do?

Garage Door Cable Came Off

If your garage door cable has come off, it’s essential to address the issue promptly to ensure safety and proper functioning. First, refrain from using the door to avoid further damage. Assess the situation carefully to determine if any other parts are damaged. If you have experience and proper tools, you can attempt to reattach the cable, but this is a task best left to professionals due to the potential risks involved.

How To Fix A Garage Door Cable That Has Come Off

How To Fix A Garage Door Cable

Dealing with a garage door cable that has come off can be a frustrating experience, potentially leaving your garage door inoperable and compromising the safety of your home. However, with the right knowledge and tools, fixing a garage door cable can often be a task you can tackle on your own. This listicle will guide you step-by-step on how to fix a garage door cable that has come off, saving you time and money.

Assess the situation:

  • Before attempting any repairs, visually inspect the garage door cable to determine the extent of the damage and whether it can be salvaged or needs to be replaced entirely.
  • Make sure to check both cables, as it is common for both to undergo similar levels of wear and tear.

Gather the necessary tools:

  • Ensure you have the necessary tools at hand. The tools you might need include: pliers, vice grips or locking pliers, ladder, adjustable wrench, and safety glasses.

Release tension on the garage door springs:

  • Disconnect the garage door opener from the power source to ensure no accidental activation.
  • Using pliers or locking pliers, locate the tension adjustment collar located on the torsion spring and loosen it. This will release the tension on the cable.

Remove the damaged cable:

  • With the tension released, it’s safe to remove the cable from the pulley and any attachment points.
  • Use pliers or locking pliers to secure the cable to prevent it from retracting into the garage door tracks.

Install the new cable:

  • Measure the length of the old cable and cut the new cable to match.
  • Attach the new cable to the pulley and rethread it through all the appropriate attachment points.
  • Ensure the cable is correctly tensioned and aligned to avoid any future issues.

Reapply tension to the garage door springs:

  • Gradually tighten the tension adjustment collar on the torsion spring to apply tension to the cable.
  • Remember to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines or seek professional advice for proper tension adjustment. This step is crucial for the proper functioning and safety of your garage door.

Test the garage door:

  • Once the new cable is installed and proper tension is applied, carefully reconnect the garage door opener to the power source.
  • Open and close the garage door a few times to ensure it operates smoothly without any issues or unusual noises.

Types Of Garage Door Cables

Garage door cables are available in different types, but they all fulfill the same purpose. Some of the most popular ones include:

  • Garage door cable or security cables. (Made of steel, with 8 feet long, and load resistance of 320 pounds.)
  • Garage extension cables. (They have an extension of 12 feet and a load resistance of 320 pounds, and they can adapt to another one to bring in more length.)
  • Bipolar garage cables.
  • Spare torsion cables
  • Steel lift cables.

However, all these cables fall under just three categories. This includes:

  • Lifting cables
  • Retaining cable
  • Emergency release cable

Malfunction of any of these cables leads to the failure of the garage door, and they will need a repair or replacement. 

Professional Garage Door Cable Repair Cost

Many garage door professionals and technicians can install and fix garage doors within a day. Therefore, if you cannot do the garage repairs yourself, you should get a professional. They will charge you between $150 and $200. You might think the cost is too high given the cables are generally inexpensive. But, repairing the broken ones takes a lot of effort and time, thus costly. 

Steps For Fixing A Garage Door Cable

Steps For Fixing A Garage Door Cable

In the situation where your garage door has broken or has come off the pulley, you can get on YouTube and learn how to fix it, or you can call and get professional help.

If you choose to fix it yourself, here are some steps to follow:

Step 1: Disconnect The Electric Opener.

The first thing you should do is disconnect the electric opener. Do this by pulling the release cord if the garage door is partially opened. Use a c-clamp to hold the door and prevent it from rolling closed.

Step 2: Raise Your Garage Door.

You have to lift the door into a fully open position to release the tension on the torsion springs. The springs might break after an extended period of continuous pressure.

Step 3: Secure The Garage Door.

You can use a c-clamp or any other method to hold the door fully open.

Step 4: Replace Damaged Cables.

If you already have replacement cables start fitting them from the vase of the door and moving towards the spring system.

Step 5: Realign The Cable.

When the garage door is open, the cables are under no pressure or tension, and you can easily move them around and fix them accordingly. Loosen the cable, fit it, and then tighten it well. 

Step 6: Release The Door.

Once you fit the cable and everything is in order, you can now release the door from the blocking mechanism you had put in. If the door does not move, you can give it a slight push and slowly move it to its closed position. The door should move with ease if you have installed all the parts where they should be.

Step 7: Reconnect The Electric Opener And Test The Door.

Once you ensure the garage door is working, activate the electric door opener and allow it to reattach to the garage door. Run a few opening and closing drills to ensure the door is working.

What Can Cause A Garage Door Cable To Come Off?

Garage doors open and close when a spring applies some pressure on the cables, and they either pull the door open or shut. Broken cables or ones that have slipped off their rails will not open nor close the door.

Some of the things that lead to the failure of garage door cables include:

1. Broken Torsion Springs

Garage doors can have one or two torsion springs depending on the garage door type you have installed. If the torsion spring breaks, the cables lose their tension and unwind from the drum. 

If the garage door has one torsion spring, it will come crashing down. When there are two torsion springs, it is unlikely that both springs will break simultaneously. Therefore, if one fails, the door remains held up by the other spring. Repair has to be done as soon as possible since the door cannot function normally without the two torsion springs.

2. Wrong Amount Of Tension On The Springs

Different door sizes require different amounts of spring tension. The tension applied to the spring should match the tension needed to open or close the door. The spring must be the right size to put the right pressure and tension on the cables. A very strong spring causes the cables to fall off the railing, while too weak ones cause them to unwind.

3. Wrong Size Cables And Drums

Cables come in different sizes and towing capacities; the heavier the garage doors, the heavier or wider the cables used on them, and vice versa. The cables need to be of the right diameter to function properly without failure. The drums are also chosen according to the weight of the garage door. So, if any of them is not the right size, it would cause the cables to come off. 

4. Door Obstruction

Garage doors have auto-reverse mechanisms installed to ensure they do not close on objects below them. When these mechanisms fail, the door may come down onto an object and rest on it. The cables will loosen as the door does not stretch out to the required length. Loose cables will come off their rails.

5. Uneven Operation On The Two Operational Cables

This is common with garage doors with two cables working together to open the door. The two cables need to be using the same amount of pressure to do their job. When one side puts in more pressure than the other, the door will malfunction and most likely pull one of the cables out of position.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Broken Garage Door Cable?

Garage door cables cost about 30 dollars or a pair. When installed by a professional, the service fee can range from 120 to 170 dollars. Therefore, you might incur a total amount of between $150 and $200. Do not be too mean if you cannot do it yourself. It would help if you used professionals to fix or repair broken garage door cables to avoid further damage.

Is It Possible To Open A Garage Door That Has A Broken Cable?

When the garage door cable breaks, it is impossible to operate it. If they broke when your door was open, you can cut the remaining one and lower the door to have it closed to secure your home. When the cable has come off, you can put it back and continue operating the door but have it repaired as soon as possible.

Final Thought

Garage door cables can come off or break at the most inconvenient time. However, you can fix the ones that have come off by pushing them back to their position and getting a professional to look at them later. Regular check-ups and maintenance can help prevent garage door cable malfunction.


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