Why You Should Never Tighten Your Garage Door Cables Yourself

Cables play a vital role in any properly functioning garage door system. You’ll find them attached via brackets to either side of the bottom of the door. They work in tandem with the torsion springs to raise and lower the door. 

These cables also perform a crucial safety function. When a spring fails, the cable prevents it from recoiling and causing a potentially serious injury. Instead, the snapped spring will fall harmlessly to the ground. 

What Happens When a Cable Snaps?

Garage door cables consist of galvanized wiring that may fray due to wear and tear. Eventually, a frayed cable will snap, transferring additional tension to the other side and making it more likely that the other will break as well. Your door will appear crooked or unbalanced and won’t open and close as easily. While you can usually spot a broken cable by performing a visual inspection, a squeaking noise or unusual shaking during operation can also indicate an issue requiring immediate attention.

Why Do Garage Door Cables Loosen?

Besides fraying or snapping, garage door cables can become loose and fall off the drum, which causes them to wind and unwind when raising or lowering the door. Loose cables can result from:

  • Mismatched cables and drums
  • Failure of the auto-reverse mechanism that causes the door to strike an object and loosen a cable
  • Improper installation
  • Broken torsion springs
  • Frequent door opening and closing

How to Adjust Garage Door Cable Tension

Regular maintenance is crucial for ensuring that your garage door cables are functioning with the proper tension. The process can be complicated, dangerous and requires mastering the following steps:

  1. Lower the door to the ground and ensure there is no gap at the bottom.
  2. Release the opener from the drive chain by pulling on the rope attached to the garage door mechanism.
  3. Raise the door to the open position to release the built-up tension in the torsion springs.
  4. Attach two c-clamps to the track underneath the roller closet nearest to the bottom of the door to prevent it from lowering or moving.
  5. Disconnect the end of the cable from the garage door frame and reinsert it into one of the holes further down the frame to cause it to tighten.
  6. Eliminate any remaining slack by adjusting the cable bracket. 

Can You Tighten Garage Door Cables Yourself?

Even if you’re confident in your mechanical abilities, it’s easy for an inexperienced homeowner to overlook a step or face an unexpected issue during the adjustment. A garage door professional knows what to look for and how to avoid potentially costly mistakes. 

Still, safety is the most important reason to hire an expert. You’ll avoid the dangers of working around high-tension springs and heavy overhead doors.

Contact EXL Garage Doors to Learn More

If you need to make a garage door cable tension adjustment near Gallatin, TN, the experienced pros at EXL Garage Doors are ready to help. Contact our team today to learn more or request services.