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6 Causes of Garage Door Cable Breakage and Troubleshooting


Garage doors are an essential part of your home, providing security, convenience, and protection for your vehicles and belongings. However, like any mechanical system, they are prone to malfunction, including broken springs, actuator issues, and myriad other technical challenges. In this article, we will focus on one such issue, namely garage door cable problems.

A part of the counterbalancing systems, cables bear the weight of the door to ensure smooth movement. Loose, broken, or tangled cables can result in the mechanism getting stuck closed or hanging halfway. With most garage door cables breaking over time due to wear and tear, you should be prepared for such a situation.

For instance, it might be a good idea to determine why the cable on your garage door came off before replacing garage door cables altogether. By identifying the root cause, you will not only resolve the issue but also prevent similar malfunctions in the future and avoid unnecessary expenses.

6 Causes of Garage Door Cable Failure and How to Fix Them

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From a technical standpoint, a garage door system is a combination of components, but in practice, it behaves almost like a living organism. All parts, blocks, and elements are interconnected and aligned to work together. Yet, should some component fail, it might affect the whole system. Hence, if your garage door cable came off, it might be a part of a more complex problem. Let’s consider the top causes of cable slippage or breakage and how to repair a garage door when the cable came off.

Wear and Tear

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Though designed for heavy-duty daily use, garage door cables can still wear over time. With years of constant operation, cables can naturally degrade due to consistent friction. If you notice the signs of fraying or damage on the cables, it’s time to get some new ones. Prompt replacement will prevent failure and more serious problems while minimizing the risk of damage to your property or person.

Rust and Corrosion

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Similar to wear and tear, rust and corrosion occur naturally when cables are exposed to high humidity, moisture, or other environmental factors that weaken their structure and compromise their integrity. To avert corrosion-caused breakage and slow down rusting in hostile climate conditions, periodically clean the cables with a mild detergent and water solution to remove dirt and debris. Applying a rust-inhibiting lubricant is also a sure way to prevent further corrosion.


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Beyond natural reasons, the prime cause of why a garage door cable came off the pulley may be some objects or debris blocking the door. Obstructions can cause both cable slippage and tangling, depending on the door type. One way or another, you should first remove the obstruction from the door track. Then, check the surrounding area to ensure there are no other obstacles that can further impede the door movement. However, if your situation is as bad as the one in the image above, it might be time to call for professional repair service.

Improper Installation

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Incorrect installation of the cables or improper tensioning can lead to premature failure. If the garage door cable came off one side, you should check whether tension is even in both drums to avoid the cable unwrapping. The same is true for misaligned tacks that can cause uneven tension on the cables, leading to excess wear. An uneven installation surface can also cause cable loosening since one side of the door will hit the ground earlier than the other.

To prevent those things from happening, ensure that the cables and tracks are aligned, fastened, and adjusted in compliance with manufacturer instructions. You can also install a special retainer at the bottom of the garage door to compensate for the uneven installation surface.

Wrong Cables

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If adjusting the tension is not enough to fix a garage door cable that came off the pulley, the problem might be in the cable itself. Cables for garage systems vary by type, diameter, and length. Notably, different types of drums are compatible only with specific cable types and sizes, as well as track configurations. If there is a mismatch, it can be the reason your garage door cable came off the drum.

Similarly, using the wrong cable strength can cause cable assembly failures and breakage. In simple words, if you use thinner cables with heavier doors, they won’t stay with you for long. Choose cables that are compatible with your specific garage door model and weight requirements, and consult a specialist when in doubt.

Other Components Failures

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Other components can also be a source of the cable issues. So, if you still can’t figure out what’s happened to your garage door, you can look for the root cause in the following elements:

  • Broken Springs: Broken torsion springs tend to cause cable snapping, while extension spring issues will cause unwrapping or tangling;
  • Worn-out Rollers: Rollers have a service life limited to about 20,000 cycles. However, depending on external circumstances, bottom rollers can wear faster. Damaged rollers cause door disbalance and sagging, which in turn leads to the garage door cables breaking;
  • Damaged Drums: Continuously exposed to tension, drums and corresponding fixtures can simply break or crack over time. The cables will then get loose or drop;
  • Bent Door Sections: If the garage door cable came off the spool, check for bent door sections. They can loosen the tension, which causes cables slipping off.

To fix most of these issues and restore the door balance, you’d better ask for professional assistance.

Why Choose STI Garage Door As Your Trusted Partner

With years of experience in the industry, we have a team of skilled professionals who have extensive knowledge of garage door installation, repair, and maintenance. Our experts can handle a whole range of malfunctions that might occur in residential and commercial garage door systems. With STI Garage Door, you can rest assured that cable repair or replacement will be done quickly and safely.

Thus, if your garage door cable came off, don’t hesitate to give us a call, and our specialists will come to your place at any time of the day.


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A seemingly minor problem at a glance, like loose or broken cables, could aggravate other issues and lead to serious mechanical damage. Hence, while many homeowners consider replacing garage door cables on their own, it’s recommended that you contact a dedicated service for that purpose, like STI Garage Door.

Operating in the garage door industry for over 25 years, STI Garage Door is dedicated to quality service and excellence in everything.

The company is a proud partner to the top brands in the field — LiftMaster for commercial door openers and Amarr and Clopay for residential and commercial doors.

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faq man

Can I open the garage door with the broken cable?

It depends on what caused that problem in the first place. For instance, if the broken cable connects the door to the electric opener unit, you can use an emergency cord to disconnect the door from the unit and move it manually. However, if the garage door cable came off both sides, it could mean spring issues that require a different approach. For spring repair, you should call professionals like STI Garage Door since by trying to fix faulty or broken springs on your own you risk your health and wellbeing.

How much does it cost to replace a cable on a garage door?

The cable itself costs about $15. So, if you need to replace a pair of cables, you’ll have to pay $30 for the pair. The cost of cable repair and replacement service might fall anywhere between $100 and $250 depending on the necessary equipment, materials, and the timeframe. While you can opt for replacing garage door cables by yourself, hiring a professional is typically a better idea. An expert will not only install a new cable, but also duly adjust the whole system and uncover other potential issues.

When should I replace my garage door cables?

We suggest you replace your cables every 5–7 years. However, if your cable came off of your garage door, it’s an entirely different story. In such cases, you should first find out the reason for the issue and fix it. It doesn’t always mean that the cable needs replacement, but if you notice fraying or breakage, it’s time to get a new pair.

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Maryland 3015910991

Virginia 7033491055

Washington D.C. 2025363036