Troubleshooting Common Garage Door Cable Problems

by | Dec 13, 2022 | Garage Door Repair

Did you know that 65% of residential garage doors in the US are more than 12 years old? As it happens, 12 years is the average change-out or failure age for garage doors. 

But when it comes to cables, it doesn’t matter if your garage door is 2 or 12 years old. Garage door cables are an integral part of your door system. If they sustain wear or damage, this won’t just compromise the operation of your door, it can also pose a safety risk. 

What’s more, even relatively new cables can develop issues if they weren’t properly installed, or if your garage door is suffering from other problems such as worn pulleys. 

Do you have a sneaky suspicion that cable trouble is at the heart of your garage door issue?

Keep reading to identify the signs that signal common garage door cable problems. 

There Are Alignment Issues

Is your garage door opening or closing at a strange angle? If you notice that the sides aren’t moving up and down evenly, this is most likely thanks to an issue with the garage door cables. 

For instance, you might find that either one or both of your cables have jumped off the drums and have started to unwind.

What can cause jumped cables? If your garage door hit an object while opening or closing, this can cause one or both of the cables to jump off the drums. Manually opening the door too quickly can also be the culprit. 

Or, it could be that your springs aren’t tensioned correctly. Garage door springs that are tensioned too tightly or left too slack can cause the cables to jump off their drums from the torsion, or uncoil because they’re not wound onto the drums tightly enough. 

Tension issues could be the result of an installation error, general wear and tear, or advanced spring age. Over time, garage door springs are prone to stretching. If this is the case, you will need to get a professional in to handle your garage door springs replacement. 

Unless you have experience installing, repairing, and servicing garage door openers, replacing springs or cables is not a job you should try to DIY. 

Finally, your garage door cables could also be stretched. The older the cables are, the more likely they are to have stretched. 

Your Garage Door Getting Stuck Halfway

If your garage door is getting stuck halfway, this can also indicate an alignment issue caused by your garage door cables. 

But, there are also other things that can cause this. For instance, an obstruction in the track could be jamming the door halfway. If your door panels are badly bent or dented, this can also cause jamming during opening and closing.

In this case, you will probably need to invest in a new garage door. 

If it’s the track that’s causing an issue, inspect it carefully and see if there is any dirt and debris you can clean out. You can also oil the track. Most garage doors last between 10-15 years, but you can extend the lifespan of certain parts with preventative maintenance like this. 

If the track is bent or damaged, you can try to repair it yourself or call in a garage door service. 

Your Garage Door Is Only Lifting on One Side

If your garage door only lifts on one side by a foot or two, and the other side remains on the floor, you’re probably dealing with a snapped cable on the side that’s not lifting. 

Have a look at the cables and see whether or not they’re both intact. If one has snapped, you’ll need to call in a garage door repair service and replace the cables. 

Delayed Opening

If your cables aren’t in good order, your garage door might try to open, but there may be a delay before it “catches”. This can also be caused by torsion spring issues or a problem with your cable drums. 

Garage Door Closing Too Fast

Is your garage door slamming shut instead of smoothly lowering? This can place a lot of strain on the door and tracks and pose a significant danger. 

If a child, pet, family member, or vehicle happens to be underneath the door as it falls closed, this can result in serious injury or damage. 

Fast-closing garage doors usually indicate an issue with either your springs or cables. Slack, or stretched cables won’t hold the door securely and smoothly while it closes. This could be due to wear and tear on the cables or be a result of springs that aren’t tensioned enough. 

Stretched, damaged cables and compromised springs are usually easy to spot. Take a close look at your cables and springs and see if you can identify any areas of damage or wear. If either looks like they’re taking strain, it’s time to get them replaced. 

As we said above, a garage door that slams shut can be very dangerous. What’s more, it could be an indication that your garage door cables aren’t far away from snapping. 

Either way, we’d recommend parking your car outside and not using your garage door until you’ve had it professionally seen to. 

Screeching Noises

If your garage door sounds like a banshee, this is never a good sign. Screeching sounds can be caused by defective bearings or cables that are under a high amount of tension.

If it’s your cables that are causing the issue, you may be able to see visible signs of damage on them, such as kinks and fraying. You might also be able to smell a burnt-like odor around the damaged areas. 

Do You Need to Get Your Garage Door Cables Replaced?

If your garage door is displaying any of the above problems, it’s critical that you get your cables and springs seen to as soon as possible. If one of the cables snap while you’re operating the door this can cause serious injury, as well as damage to the door and your vehicle. 

Garage door cables carry a lot of tension, which is why this is one of those garage door repair jobs that’s best left to the professionals. Are you looking for a garage door repair service you can rely on?

Here at AG Smart Garage, we handle it all. From garage door installation and repair to comprehensive services, you can rely on us to keep your garage door and its opening system in peak working order. 

Contact us today for a free quote.