While automatic garage doors have come a long way in updating their safety standards, homeowners still should leave nothing to chance and regularly inspect their openers, doors, and garage door parts. Here’s a breakdown of how to adjust garage door cables.
What a Garage Door Cable Does
You might be wondering what purpose does a garage door cable serve. It’s actually one of the most important safety mechanisms of your garage door. The cable runs through the torsion springs, literally doing the heavy lifting each time the door is raised or lowered.
But the garage door cable has another purpose. In the event of spring failure, the cable steps in to protect against spring recoil. That may not sound like a big deal, but when the torsion springs give out, it can be a serious, even deadly, blow.
All of the tension built up in the springs can inflict immense damage and injury—all the more necessary to have the cable there to prevent either from happening. When a spring that’s been properly cabled snaps, it falls to the ground, so it’s essential to ensure your garage cables are intact.
Adjusting Your Garage Door Cables
Garage doors require maintenance, and knowing when to fix a problem can increase its longevity and more importantly, prevent accidents and damages. Garage door cables can contribute to periodic repairs — here’s how you can adjust them:
- Flat-head screwdriver
- Wire cutters
Step One: Getting to Work
Pull the rope that’s attached to your garage door opener. It will release the door opener from its drive chain. When the door is lowered, you’ll notice that the tension springs responsible for raising the door become taught. To fix your garage door cables, you’ll want to release the tension of the springs by lifting the door.
Step Two: Safety Precautions
Get two c-clamps and attach them to the door’s track just beneath the roller that’s closest to the bottom of the door. The last thing you want is the door to come crashing down right when you’re in the middle of working on it. The c-clamps will prevent the door from falling.
Step Three: Cut the Cord
Okay, you’re not literally cutting the cord, just disconnecting it. The cable you’re going to be disconnecting runs around the garage door’s frame above the doorway. You’ll be able to see one end wrapped around the rollers and the other attached to either a clip or hook, securing it to the frame, near the doorway.
You should also spot a frame with holes in it. Here, you’ll be disconnecting this end of the wire and reconnecting it with one of the holes so the wire isn’t loose.
Step Four: Adjust, Adjust, Adjust
Adjust the cable bracket. In this step, you might need to reach for a pair of pliers if there’s too much slack on the cable. Use the pliers to loosen the bracket holding the wire to the hook that’s attached to the frame, pulling the cable wiring through the bracket in order to tighten it. Then, reattach the wire to the frame by means of the hook.
When adjusting your garage door cables, keep in mind that if you loosen the shaft too much, the cable can unwind and become tangled. It’s also important to remember that when you go to tighten the shaft, only tighten until all the slack is gone from the cable. Too much tightening or loosening can cause problems.
Step Five: Checking Your Handiwork
Let’s see what you’ve done, shall we? After you’ve replaced the broken cable, you’ll need to examine the drum, the part that helps the garage door balance and level and where the cable wraps neatly around.
Make sure that the cable hasn’t come unwrapped on either side of the door and that both cables are aligned properly. If everything looks aligned, you can go ahead and remove the clamps from the garage’s tracks and lower the door manually. Be sure you remember to plug your opener back in.
When in Doubt…
If this process seems overwhelming to you and you’re not even sure where to begin, don’t force yourself to undertake the task of adjusting the cables on your own. After all, that’s why garage door professionals exist.