How to Replace a Garage Door Cable in 7 Steps

If you’re sitting around wondering, “why is my garage door not working,” you’re probably frustrated and worried that you’re going to experience a costly repair or replacement. However, if you can accurately identify that your garage door cable is broken, then you can take the repair into your own hands!

It’s crucial that you take steps sooner than later to ensure your garage door is safe for you and your family, and this article can help you figure out where to start if you want to learn how to replace garage door cable, read on for seven steps to follow for a successful job!

How Does a Garage Door Cable Work?

Your garage door cable is a safety feature that you need to keep you safe if a spring on the garage door breaks. Torsion spring cables connect the bottom of the garage door to the cable drum so that the springs can lift the door from the bottom. After repeated use, the springs can wear out and eventually become torn and frayed.

Regular inspection of your garage door parts can help you learn to identify springs that are beginning to wear out so you can replace them before they break. If you don’t replace them in time, the spring could snap while the door is moving.

On a door that uses extension springs, the safety restraint cable stops an extension spring from causing any damage to your car or any people in your household. If you don’t have one in place, the spring will recoil with violent force that could dent your car, and in worst-case scenarios, cause life-threatening injuries or death.

When Should You Replace a Garage Door Cable

If you’re wondering, “do I need a new garage door cable,” start by identifying the current state of the cable itself. You should inspect the cable once a year and replace it if you notice any damage.

The most common signs you’ll see are frayed wires, broken or separated wires, rusting, and oxidation. If you notice any of these signs of damage, it’s best to replace the cable to ensure you’re protected should a spring break.

How to Replace Garage Door Cable

While the process may seem complicated, replacing a garage door cable doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience! If at any time during the process you feel overwhelmed, you can always contact our customer support for extra guidance through the process.

Before you start work on your garage door, make sure you have all the necessary tools, and then disengage your garage door opener by pulling down on the emergency release handle. The emergency release is generally a red rope with or without a handle near the opener or the top rail. Disengaging this allows you to open and close your garage door manually.

Required Tools and Materials

Before you start the job, you should have the right tools on hand to keep you safe. If you don’t have any of these, you can always order them or visit your local hardware store.

It’s essential to remember that you’ll want to wear old clothing, preferably not too loose-fitting, no jewelry, and proper footwear like boots. If the wire is broken or frayed, the edges could be sharp, so leather work gloves are recommended to prevent injury. Your safety should always be your priority when doing DIY home repair.

1. Open the Door

Open up your garage door, and then use one of your vice grips below the roller on both sides. You must have the garage door in the proper position before you start work on the cables.

2. Release Spring Tension

At the center of your garage door, loosen the spring screws sets with ¼ turns. After, insert both winding bars fully. It’s vital that you use both bars together to prevent injury and don’t get in the way of the bars.

Fully unwind the garage door spring in ¼ increments until you remove all the tension. Do this for each spring on your garage door.

3. Loosen Cable Drum Screws

Once the tension is removed, use your wrench to loosen the cable drum screws at the top left of your garage door, and then remove the cable. Near the bottom of the door, use your ratchet and socket to remove the bottom screw from the jamb bracket. Remove that bottom bracket and then the cable.

4. Insert New Cable

Insert the new cable into the bottom bracket, then thread it up into the drum at the top of the garage door. Repeat this action for the other side of your door.

5. Set the Cable

In the cable drum, insert the cable into the slot. Make sure it’s correctly set and doesn’t overlap anywhere. Wind up the cable onto the drum, slide the drop over the bearing plate, and turn it counterclockwise until tight.

Once done on both sides, tighten all screws. Do not over tighten the screws as it could strip them.

6. Increase Spring Tension

While holding your new cable, use the vice grip to hold the rod that intersections the garage door against one wall to hold it in place, and then repeat for the other side. Once complete, use the winding bars to increase tension on the springs at ¼ turns. Do not overwind your springs.

7. Finishing off

Take the locking pliers off the metal rod at the top of the door, re-engage the door by pulling down on the emergency release, and lift the door until it clicks into place. Once that is done, you can plug your garage door opener in again.

Where to Start

Now that you know how to replace garage door cable, what do you do to start? First, examine your existing cable for signs that it needs replacing, and then order the appropriate garage door replacement parts.

Once you have all the necessary items, follow this seven-step guide and carefully remove and replace your cable. This process may seem overwhelming at first, but know that our experts are available should you need assistance, and we have DIY videos to help you more thoroughly review the process if needed.

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