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Garage door cable pulley system.

Homeowners have a lot of responsibilities when it comes to the maintenance of their homes. One area that should be maintained as regularly as your HVAC unit is the garage. Always remember that there are many working parts of a garage door. Not only do you have a garage door opener, but you have the track, wheels, cables, and drive chain to name a few. So, gaining an understanding how to maintain the working parts of a garage door is necessary. How to fix a garage door cable? It depends on the type of cable that was used and what has broken on the cable.

Let’s take a look at the types of garage door cables and what kinds of issues we might see.

What Is A Garage Door Cable

The main purpose of a garage door cable is to aid in the opening of the garage door. The cable is a twisted wire that attaches the garage door frame to the torsion spring. These cables on each side of the garage door allow for the prevention of broken springs causing damage or injury inside the garage. Also, the garage door cables can prevent the door from slamming when closing, if the springs do break.

Types of Garage Door Cables

Believe it or not, garage door cables come in two different types. Most homeowners will notice the torsion spring cables in their garage door systems. Let’s take a look at the two types:

  • Torsion spring cables – lifting cables that are meant to open a garage door with torsion springs. This allows for an easier garage door opening. Torsion springs use torque and are connected to what is called a drum. The cables are connected on both sides of the garage door and attached to a bottom bracket. The cable then wraps around the drum when the door opens. Always remember that it works like a pulley system. Thinner cables equals quieter opening, however, can only hold lesser weight around 950 pounds.
  • Extension spring cables – these cables are connected to a pulley system, however, they expand and contract like a spring does. The cable doesn’t actually wrap around a drum. In some cases, safety cables are used to keep the extension springs from causing damage if broken. In addition, cables go through the extension spring and connect to the ends of the garage door. This locks the extension spring cables in place.

Common Issues With Garage Door Cables

Just like any other item in your home, garage door cables can break down over time. You can usually get around 10,000 openings before a garage door cable starts to break down. Also, if you plan to repair a garage door cable, first understand what is damaged. Let’s take a look at the possibilities.

  • Broken cable – this is easily noticeable as the cable has completely severed from itself.
  • Cable is off the drum – the diameter of the cable could end up causing it to slip off the drum. Always make sure that you have the correct cable and drum size for the correct door.
  • Cable is unwound – if a cable unwinds from the drum this is a bad sign. It will no longer provide the torque to assist in opening the door. The cable will need replacement.
  • Frayed cable – like all wires, fraying is a problem. If you notice the wire cable is starting to fray, you should immediately look to replace the cable.

What Will I Need

Choosing to replace the garage door cable on your own requires a few items and tools to accomplish this project. Take a look below at the recommended items needed.

What Are My Steps

Always follow the instructions given by a professional garage door repair technician. Let’s review:

  1. Open the door and lock it in place. You can do this by releasing the emergency cord and manually pulling up the door. If you are concerned about the loose door closing on you, place vise grips below the last door wheel in the track.
  2. Unwind the tension springs to loosen them up. The springs have screws that will need to be loosened for that to happen. Insert winding bars to avoid any safety hazards. Make sure to do this with both springs.
  3. Loosen the drum screws in order to loosen the drum. This allows you to remove the cable.
  4. Remove the cable from the bottom bracket. Your socket wrench will help with this.
  5. Next, you can begin with the new cable installation. Attach the cable to your bottom bracket and now begin winding the cable over the drum. You will want to rotate the drum counter-clockwise in order to get a tight fit. Now secure it with the proper screws.
  6. Now that you have replaced one cable, you can go ahead and replace the second cable the same way. Replacing both cables at the same time, ensures consistency of cable longevity.
  7. Use the winding bars and being to increase the tension of your springs.
  8. Re-engage your garage door to the drive chain by pulling down on the emergency release once you have completed the installation.

How Much Do They Cost

You can expect to pay an average of $90 to $350 to replace your garage door cables. The price of cables varies depending on the type of cables you have chosen to purchase. Also, there is an installation fee of $25 to $90 per cable depending on the person you hire for the job.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you know about garage doors and the springs, there is some other maintenance you can do. Are you finding that your garage door won’t close? It could be due to the sensors, or the tracks or rollers being out of alignment. Also, it could be due to broken tension springs or broken cables.

When you are closing the garage door and you are hearing squeaking. This is the time to do maintenance before something breaks. It likely needs to be lubricated, wiped down, nuts and bolts tightened, or have loose parts.

Lastly, you want to make sure that you have GFCI-rated outlets in your garage. This is a safety device that protects against electrical shock and when there is a ground fault, it shuts off the power. GFCI-rated outlets are essential for safety.

When Do I Call A Professional

When it comes to garage door repairs, it is always best to contact a professional garage door repair service. Although, understanding how garage doors work is important and attempting to complete this project on your own could prove to be hazardous to your health and safety.

If you have never done this before you could end up hurting yourself. Consider calling your local home inspection team to come out and inspect the entire garage and garage door. You might find other necessary repairs during the inspection. Also, they can recommend a reputable garage door repair service.


Deciding to repair your garage door parts on your own is a little risky. In addition, it is not the easiest project to tackle. Although you might be saving a few bucks as you do it yourself, you are risking injury if you make a mistake. Also, the moment that you miss a step in the replacement instructions is the moment that you realized that paying a professional would have been time saving and smarter your part.

Reach out to your local home inspection team as they can determine what parts of the garage door should be replaced. You might need more than just garage door cables.

Call Waypoint Property Inspection to inspect your home in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Lakeland, Orlando, Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, and surrounding areas.