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

Last Updated on February 20, 2022 by

When the cable on your garage door comes off, it has to be fixed as soon as possible. Without the garage door cable, the door cannot open or close. To repair it, examine the track and the cable, regain control of the cable, and finally replace if broken or realign if it just came off its tracks.

Garage door cables come off for various reasons, which are mostly preventable. It can come off at any time without prior indications. Therefore, you will have to repair it as soon as possible to avoid leaving your house with the garage door open. 

However, the broken garage door cable might need a replacement on other occasions. Luckily, you can easily find garage door repair items in local stores. And, you can use a professional or do it yourself if you are DIYer. 

How To Fix A Garage Door Cable That Has Come Off

How To Fix A Garage Door Cable

Garage doors open and close by using cables attached either at the ends or in the middle of the door, depending on the type you have installed.

If you cannot operate the garage door normally, your should first check on the status of the cables. If it doesn’t open, it is usually due to chains coming off its tracks,  being obstructed, or broken. The pathway can also get wider with time and become loose. Loose tracks will not hold the cable in place, and it might fall off and cause the garage door to get stuck. Cables can also fall off their pulleys.

When you finally find the cause of the problem, you have to regain control of the cables. If the chain fell off the pulley, you should open the garage door until it is a few feet off the ground. Place a ladder under the pulley such that when you climb up, you are in a position to reattach the cable to the pulley system

Wear and tear often causes the pulley to let go and release the cable. Having regular checks on the status of the garage door parts will reduce the number of times you have to fix the issue. 

When doing the door check-up, it is important to check on the status of the cables. Sometimes the garage door cables are old and worn out. Such chains can easily fall off the tracks or break when opening and closing the door. This requires replacement. In such a  case, first, take the cables off the brackets and dispose of them. Purchase new cables and install them where the old ones were. Doing replacement is an easy task, but you should consult the store attendant to purchase the right new cables for your garage door. 

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:

1. Garage door cable or security cables. (Made of steel, with 8 feet long and load resistance of 320 pounds.)

2. 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.)

3. Bipolar garage cables.

4. Spare torsion cables

5. Steel lift cables.

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

1. Lifting cables

2. Retaining cable

3. Emergency release cable

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

Professional Garage Door Cable Repair

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 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 with 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. 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 damages.

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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