Garage doors are a big part of your home. They keep your cars and belongings safe and make it easy for you to get in and out with no fuss. However, do you know that there is a secret hero that helps your garage door go up and down smoothly? The garage door cables. These cables do a lot of heavy lifting, and if something goes wrong with them, you might find your garage door stuck. That is why this guide is here to help you understand everything about these mighty garage door cables.

Understanding Garage Door Cables

Garage door cables are durable steel wires that connect the garage door to the springs and the garage door opener. They are one of the important parts of your garage door system. These cables, designed to handle heavy loads, can lift and lower your garage door safely. They work together with the springs to balance the door’s weight, ensuring that the door can open and close with ease. Without these cables, opening a garage door would not only be challenging but could also be dangerous.

Types of Garage Door Cables

There are mainly two types of cables in a garage door system:

  1. Torsion spring cables: These cables work with the torsion spring system, winding around a drum as the door opens. They play a big role in providing balance and smooth operation, particularly for heavier doors.
  2. Extension spring cables: These cables help lift the door as the springs extend and contract. You attached these cables to extension springs along the garage door’s horizontal tracks. They offer a cost-effective solution without the need for a torsion spring system, which makes them ideal for lighter doors or garages with limited space.
Two types of garage door cables

Other Garage Door Cables

  1. Lifting cables: These are the strong cables that connect to the bottom of your garage door. When you open the door, these cables help pull it up so it moves smoothly upwards.
  2. Retaining cables: These cables are a safety feature used with doors that have extension springs. If a spring breaks, the retaining cables hold the door in place so it does not fly around and cause damage or injury.
  3. Emergency release cable: This is a cable used to disconnect the garage door from the automatic garage door opener when pulled. It lets you open or close the door by hand when the power goes out, or the opener stops working.

What Are Cables Made Of?

Hot-dip galvanizing (HDG) is the process of using galvanized steel to make these cables. It involves submersing the cables in molten zinc, which makes a layer on the outside that keeps the cables from rusting. Usually, homeowners use standard galvanized aircraft cable (GAC), but there are a few other ways to keep things from rusting.

  • Galvanized steel (hot-dip) is the most common garage door cable. It does not rust and is the cheapest.
  • Zinc-aluminum-coated steel costs 50% more than GAC but does not rust as much.
  • Stainless steel costs 200% more, but it is the most resistant to corrosion.

Most Common Issues With Garage Door Cables

Here are some of the most common problems a homeowner might face:

Wear and Tear

Over time, the garage cables can show signs of aging, like fraying or stretching. Look for thinning areas or strands of wire that seem to unravel. Is your garage door feeling a bit heavier or harder to lift? It could be a sign of wear and tear on the cables. If it feels like your door is a pound more each day, feel free to call a garage door expert.

Frayed Cables

Fraying happens when the strands of the cable start to split apart. It is a clear sign your cable is getting weak. A frayed cable is more likely to snap, which could cause your garage door to fall unexpectedly or become stuck. Remember, using a frayed cable can be dangerous. So, if you spot any fraying, it is time for a garage door cable replacement. 

Snapped Garage Door Cable

Sometimes, a cable might snap under the strain of lifting the heavy garage door, especially if it gets too worn out or damaged. A snapped cable means your garage door might not open or worse. It could come crashing down if the other cable can not hold the weight. When this happens, it is definitely a time to call in a professional. Working with garage door springs and cables can be risky, especially if you do not have the tools and skills.

Off-track Cables

Garage door cables can sometimes jump off their pulleys or cable drums, causing the door to operate unevenly or not at all. An off-track cable can lead to uneven strain on your garage door system, damaging other parts and making your door unsafe. You might be able to guide a cable back onto its drum if there is no damage and you know what you are doing. However, a professional can solve the problem in no time.

A garage door cables coming off the drum

The Importance of Cable Maintenance

To maintain your garage door cables effectively, here are a few expert tips:

Regular Inspections

Conduct visual inspections of your cables at least twice a year. Look for signs of wear, such as fraying or rust.

Proper Lubrication

Use the right lubricant on the garage cables and other garage door moving parts to reduce friction and wear. Remember to apply them often and sparingly, as too much grease can attract more dirt and debris in the long run.

Timely Replacements

Replace cables at the first sign of significant wear or damage. Do not wait for the garage door cables to snap. It could risk a failure of the garage door system.

Professional Checks

While you can do the basic inspections yourself, having a professional garage door technician check your system annually can catch issues you might miss. They guarantee correct findings and make any necessary adjustments with precision.

Garage Door Service Near Me

Is your garage door not opening smoothly? The problem might lie with your garage door cables. That is why Titan Garage Doors Des Moines is here to help you. We offer comprehensive services in garage door installation, maintenance, and expert handling of any garage door repair issues. Serving homes and businesses in Des Moines, IA, and neighboring cities, our team ensures your garage door operates seamlessly and safely, providing peace of mind and reliability. Do not let worn-out cables, springs, or any other broken garage door parts disrupt your day. Contact us today for a free estimate.

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