What should you do if you have a broken garage door cable?


Do not get fooled by the miniature sizes of garage door cables, as despite their tiny structure, they play a pivotal role in the overall functioning of your garage door. Often, the problems you experience while closing or opening your garage door or when you see wires hanging loose, the reason may be a malfunctioning garage door cable. However, before dovetailing into the details of a broken garage door cable, let us understand what it does.


A garage door cable is an indispensable unit of a garage. As the garage door opens and closes, a cable comprised of galvanized wires braided into a robust and flexible cable coils itself around a drum. The objective of cables is to ensure the safe operation of garage doors by preventing the springs from recoiling sharply in case one of them breaks.

If the springs ensure the easy opening of your garage door, the cables serve as a backup in case the spring falters. We must remember that garage door ‘springs’ wear and tear easily after a specific number of open and closing cycles. The worst-case scenario is that the spring snaps when they are entirely depreciated. The force behind the snapping of a tension spring is so intense and powerful that even your car can get a dent, or someone in the vicinity can be severely injured. To prevent such untoward incidents, garage door cables come to the rescue. By stopping the broken spring from snapping across the room and harming your possessions or injuring a person or a pet, garage door cables provide unparalleled protection to your residence.

In simple words, when your garage door’s spring breaks, it stays put because the cable is threaded through the middle of the spring, serving as a much-needed safeguard. Although garage door cables are incredibly resilient and durable, they also go through depreciation like any other equipment. In due course of time, it is common to witness the gradual breakdown of garage door cables owing to corrosion, consistent usage, etc. After a brief definition of garage door cables, it is time to evaluate the common causes of their problems.


Some of the reasons why your garage door cable is experiencing issues are –

  • Your garage door cable is past its prime and has been used for years on end.
  • Your garage door cable is wound up incorrectly, causing the door to jam or sag.
  • The pulleys of your garage door might wear down, prohibiting the cables from smoothly gliding.
  • Rust is consuming the cable.
  • The cable of your garage door is entirely unwounded.
  • The cables have begun fraying and will potentially snap soon.

Now that we know the reasons for the malfunction of your garage door cable, let us look at how to deal with the situation.


Fixing a garage door cable at home is tricky, and laypersons should stay away from this job. However, if the situation is unavoidable and you must DIY the repair, read ahead.

Firstly, fixing a broken garage door cable is a long process; you can expect to spend a few hours doing it. Here is a list of the tools you will need –

  1. A sturdy ladder
  2. Wrenches (3/8, 7/16, and ½)
  3. Vice grips
  4. Winding bars
  • Step 1 – You have to measure the garage door height, which is most likely to be seven feet. On average, a seven feet garage door would require a cable that is 101 inches long and 1/8 inches thick. Therefore, it is better if the cable ends up being longer, as opposed to being shorter than the exact length.
  • Step 2 – You have to close the garage door, after which the springs are locked, and the winding bars are locked down. You can then proceed to remove the bottom bracket from the track. After that, start removing the old cables with pliers and replace them with new ones.
  • Step 3 – You must reattach the bracket and ensure the new cable is secure over the roller. You can start by placing the garage door cable higher and sliding it down until it is in the correct position.
  • Step 4 – The fourth step entails examining the cable to ensure that it runs smoothly behind the rollers without any obstruction or hurdle.
  • Step 5 – After that, you must locate the cable drum, loosen the screws, and fix them to the pole. If the drums have low workability, they resist being removed or spun. Some lubrication sprayed on it and a light tap from a hammer should do the trick.
  • Step 6 – The sixth step is to insert the cable and neatly and meticulously wind it around the drum. You may come across grooves along the drum where the cables should sit. Thus, do not forget to line up cables in accordance with the grooves. As you tighten the screws on the drum, take care not to release the cable tension.

So, there we have it, a seven-step regimen on what to do when your garage door cable is broken.


We all know that prevention is better, and the case is no different regarding your garage door’s cables. Timely inspection of the garage door cable and its other elements, coupled with consistent maintenance, keeps breakage at bay. While an old cable is definitely going to break, there will be signs such as jamming or fraying that should come as a red flag for all homeowners. Lastly, do not forget to keep your garage door cables hale and healthy by regularly cleaning and drying them and removing cobwebs, bugs, debris, etc. Although it is possible to fix a broken garage door cable at home, we advise you to opt for professionals. With an assortment of top-notch garage door repair and maintenance agencies in Canada, finding your ‘ideal match’ should be easy.

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