Your garage door is made up of loads of moving parts, and while all have important roles, some do more heavy lifting in a literal sense than others. Given that a garage door installation can weigh up to 200 pounds, these parts certainly must be tough in order to get the job done day in and day out!

Garage door cables are one part of your installation that help raise and lower it, and indeed, they’re tough as nails—but when things go wrong with them, they can be one of the most dangerous problems your garage door can throw at you. Learn the ins and outs of this integral part below, courtesy of Door Power, your Norwood garage door repair and installation pros.

What Are Garage Door Cables?

In the simplest sense, your cables are long strands of galvanized steel rope. They’re a part of the pulley system that even the most advanced, high-tech, smartphone-compatible garage door opener uses to raise and lower the door. In a more complex sense, they serve as the go-betweens for the garage door spring and the door, transferring the energy and enabling the mechanism to lift.

Without these cables, the powerful garage door spring would have no way to access the door itself, which is why, when your garage door cables snap, you’re left with a garage door that stubbornly refuses to open—but it’s only one of many issues that can cause a stuck garage door, as we covered in our blog “What to Do if you Can’t Open Your Garage Door.”

Safety Garage Door Cables: A Reliable Backup

Generally speaking, when your garage door company refers to your garage door cables, they’re referring to what’s otherwise called the “lifting” cables—the cables that do most of the day-to-day work. However, garage doors also come equipped with a secondary set of cables, called safety cables, which act just as their name suggests: they act as a failsafe in case your other set of cables were to snap.

It’s important to note that safety cables cannot lift a garage door. They simply work to hinder potential whiplash if the lifting cables break. Hence, it’s important to keep your primary set of cables in good working order, as you’ve only got one!

What Happens if a Garage Door Cable Snaps?

Good question! Best case scenario: you’re unable to open the garage door. Worst-case scenario: something—or worse, someone—gets caught underneath a falling door or whipping cables, resulting in severe injury or even death. It also will always mean a call to your garage door company for repairs. Because cables interact with your garage door spring—a powerful piece of equipment that stores quite a bit of energy—you should never go about trying to fix a broken pair on your own.

How Can I Tell if my Garage Door Cable Is About to Snap?

When it comes to preventing this garage door disaster, regular inspection and conscientious garage door use are your best friends.

Sometimes, you’ll see that your garage door cables are fraying or rusting before they snap, which is why you should regularly check them over. More often, though, your garage door will give you quite a bit of complaints before the unthinkable happens; you just have to be mindful enough to notice them. It isn’t hard! With ailing cables, your installation might come off its garage door tracks, and it tends to get very noisy and rattly—something it most certainly should not be.

If you want worry-free garage door operation, it’s best to contact a pro for regular inspections and maintenance. They’ll make sure everything is running according to plan, as well as give you a protocol for what maintenance procedures you should be doing on your own.

How Can I Take Care of my Garage Door Cables?

Like we said, working closely in tandem with a garage door company will best ensure your cable’s longevity. They’ll prescribe, so to speak, an upkeep plan—but what might that upkeep plan look like?

It’s a pretty surefire guess that it’ll involve lubrication, a topic which we’ve written extensively on in “What’s the Best Lubricant to Use on a Squeaky Garage Door?”. Keeping your cables moving smoothly on their drums and safeguarding them against moisture with such a product goes a long way towards keeping them going strong.

It also means taking care of other parts of the garage door, such as the garage door tracks or the springs. No part of this mechanism works alone; they all play off of one another in order to reliably lift and lower the door. A malfunction in one part can cause excess strain in another, resulting in a faster deterioration and expensive repairs.

Door Power: Your Garage Door Cable Experts

From garage door openers to cables and springs, our Norwood team knows these hardworking machines inside and out. Give us a call today at 952-467-3199.