Garage doors are a single moving part of any home that functions as a whole system to secure your garage. Moreover, this is the front of your home, so you need to know about its function and parts to keep it functioning optimally. When it comes to the parts of a garage door, there are many components to consider. A garage door mechanism comprises several parts like garage door panels, extension & torsion springs, garage door opener, cable drums, and garage door cables.
When all these parts work together, your garage door opens and closes. The track of your garage door keeps the door and its parts aligned to ensure smooth operation. Torsion and extension springs lift the door for closing and opening, and the garage door opener helps open and close the garage door without human efforts. Further, the garage door cables and cable drums are there to support the door if the springs fail to function.
But if any of the parts of your garage door stops working, then your garage door will face difficulties while moving. Also, you can’t use your garage door until that part gets repaired or replaced. Sometimes it is very easy to repair a part of your garage door, while some other time, you will need professional assistance to repair your garage door.
Mostly, homeowners neglect the role of garage door cables because they are there for failsafe purposes. They are available as a backup for the springs, and without them, your garage door is not completely safe to operate. These cables are available in different types to meet specific purposes. Here we are going to discuss different types of garage door cables, their function, and the reasons that cause problems in cable operations.
Purpose of Garage Door Cables:
As mentioned above, garage door cables help the torsion and extension springs to open and close the garage door smoothly. These cables are available on each side of the garage door. So, when one cable breaks or damages, the other cable will get more pressure or stress, and, in the end, it will break. Therefore, both these cables are proportional to each other, and you can’t use your garage door if one cable is broken.
The garage door cables are attached to the bottom of the garage door and a cable drum to operate the door smoothly. Further, the cable drum is attached to both ends of the torsion spring shaft. In this way, the torsion spring turns the cable drums to wrap and unwrap the cables around the drums. When this happens, the garage door opens and closes.
Therefore, if one of these cables breaks, then you can’t open or close the garage door efficiently. The entire weight of the door will be on the other cable, rollers, and tracks of the garage door opener. Finally, the other cable will also break. So, you should give attention to your garage door cables and repair and replace them when damaged.
Types of Garage Door Cables:
Garage door cables are generally categorized into two types the first one is garage door lifting cables, and the second one is garage door safety cables. The function of the lifting cable is to lift the garage door using the energy of the springs. On the other hand, safety cables ensure your safety if there is an accident with the garage door springs. So, let’s know these two types of garage door cables in detail.
Garage Door Lifting Cables:
In general, a garage door has torsion springs on the top that help the garage door operate smoothly. However, these springs are not connected to the door directly. They are connected to the pulleys or cable drums over which the cables wrap and unwrap. This way, the energy of the springs is converted to the lifting force to open and close the garage door. So, there is one lifting cable on each side of the door to lift the door, and if either one fails, then the second one also fails to operate the door.
The garage door lifting cables are further divided into torsion spring cables and extension spring cables. Here are the details of these cables.
Torsion Spring Cables:
Torsion springs are usually located above the garage door against the wall, so they in parallel to the garage door. These springs have energy in their coiling that is used to lift the garage door. When closing the door, the torsion springs wrap and store their energy.
The torsion spring cables are wrapped around the drums at each end of the spring shaft. In this configuration, when the shaft rotates, the cables function to open and close the door. The torsion spring cables are usually long-lasting, so you can use them efficiently for many years. However, if they break earlier, then you will need to service your garage door to find out the problem and fix it in the first place. In this way, you can ensure the smooth operation of your garage door.
Here is a video tutorial on replacing both cables on Garage Door Torsion Spring System
Extension Spring Cables:
The energy of extension springs is stored when they are extended. These springs sit perpendicular to the garage door and parallel to the tracks. These springs extend when the garage door closes and release when the garage door opens.
The extension spring cables are wrapped over a pully that is attached to the end of the extension springs. So, you can’t lift the door if one of these cables breaks. You will need to replace the cable to operate your garage door efficiently.
Garage Door Safety Cables:
Like the name, safety cables are there to keep you safe when there is an accident. They are attached to the door frame and goes through the extension spring, where the other end is attached to the hook screw, which is holding the spring. In this way, these cables are completely attached to the door track so that they can prevent damages when an extension spring breaks.
In case the extension springs break, the safety cables prevent them from falling and causing severe injuries. If there are no safety cables attached to your garage door, then the springs will fall when they break, which can cause heavy damage. So, it is essential to keep your safety cables in proper condition to deal with such situations. Otherwise, you may face severe damage during such accidents. In most cases, people die or get injured while operating their garage door due to the absence of safety cables.
Why Does the Garage Door Lifting Cables Break?
In most cases, these cables break due to daily wear and tear while opening and closing the door. The lifting cables function whenever the garage door is opened or closed. Further, they are attached to a drum that is linked with the torsion springs, so they engage every time the garage door is opened and closed.
Due to moving up and down, these cables create a lot of friction, which affects their lifespan. Also, the winding & unwinding and the weight of the garage door cause these cables to damage. Moreover, environmental effects like cold, moisture, and heat weaken the garage door lifting cables, eventually affecting their performance. This way, these cables get affected by corrosion over time resulting in poor performance.
The lifting cables also will get damaged if the garage door is not aligned properly. Even a bit of misalignment can give a lot of stress to the lifting cables. Because of this problem, the parts of your garage door will rub with each other and create lots of friction. In this way, the garage door lifting cables get affected by wear and tear and damage earlier. All these factors work together to break the lifting cables.
Some Common Signs That Indicate the Lifting Cables Has Broken:
If you want to know whether your garage door lifting cables have broken, then you can know it by paying attention to multiple things. Usually, many things are there that can indicate to you that your garage door lifting cables have broken, and here are some of those.
Difficulties While Opening the Garage Door:
This is a common sign that determines the garage door lifting cables have some problems. In this case, the motor and the springs seem to work properly, but due to some other reasons, the garage door faces difficulties opening. If this happens to your garage door, you can confirm that either the springs or the lifting cables have broken. Sometimes most people get annoyed due to some unknown reasons while opening the door. However, if you find the spring or the lifting cable is broken, then you should repair it immediately to ensure appropriate performance.
A Hanging Wire Beside the Garage Door:
If a loose wire is hanging beside your garage door, then probably your lifting cables are in danger. You can check this to ensure whether the cable is broken. Due to extreme wear and tear, the cables get damaged because of which the wires come out. If you don’t do anything, then this issue will increase with time and break the lifting cables. So, when you notice this, you should consider repairing the garage door lifting cables to prevent future difficulties.
How Do I Prevent My Garage Door Lifting Cables from Breaking?
Now, you know the reasons why the garage door lifting cables break, so you can easily avoid such conditions to keep your lifting cables in good condition. However, here are some tips to prevent garage door lifting cables from breaking.
Conduct Scheduled Maintenance:
This is one of the best ways to keep your lifting cables in proper condition. You should schedule regular maintenance for your garage door to make sure that every part is functioning appropriately. When a professional inspect the parts of your garage door, he can easily notice the faults and replace the lifting cables if they are damaged.
Inspect the Cables Visually:
You can check the lifting cables yourself in a certain interval to ensure that they are working fine. By doing so, you can notice if there is any wear and tear in the lifting cables and repair them in the first place.
Why Do Lifting Cables Slip Off Their Drums?
Usually, when you command the garage door opener to open your door, several processes happen in the background. During this situation, the cables may slip off due to many reasons, and here are some of those.
The Tracks Have Blocked:
If the tracks of your garage door are dirty, then they may create resistance while operating and put a lot of pressure on the motor. If this happens, the cables may slip off due to a lot of pressure.
Some old model garage doors contain one torsion spring to operate the door. In case the spring of the garage door mechanism breaks, then the drum will rotate freely. This will loosen the tension of the cables, crashing the door down. But if the door has two torsion springs, then the other spring will keep the door in a hang position without putting it down.
As springs are a crucial part of the garage door, you should replace the right springs for the right purpose. If you have installed the wrong sprig in the garage door mechanism, then it can’t function properly and put a lot of stress on the cables. This may damage the cables, or sometimes the cables may slip off the drum.
Auto Reverse Feature Failure:
As you know, the latest garage door openers come with an auto-reverse feature for safety purposes. It creates a light beam across the door opening to stop and reverse the door if the beam breaks while closing the door. In case the auto-reverse system is not functioning, then the door will collide with the car or other objects in the way. Also, the cables will continue to rotate, and sometimes they may slip off the drum.
Improper Drums and Cables:
If you have installed the wrong drums and cables, then they will mismatch with each other and put more strain on the cable. This can damage or sometimes break the cable.
Now you know about garage door cables, their types, and the reasons why they malfunction sometimes. So, you can easily solve the problems related to garage door cables.