Thu. Dec 7th, 2023

Every part of your garage door system is important, but few components are as critical as the cables. Most setups include several different types of cables that perform different essential functions. Buyers may have to make some important choices depending on their selection of spring type.

As a long-time provider of garage door cable repair solutions, Meadows Garage Doors is ready to help you learn a bit more about system essentials. We hope this information can provide insight and understanding that leads to more informed decisions about purchases, repairs, and maintenance.

Basic Function of Garage Door Cables

Cables are very simple mechanical components, but they are vital to all of the key functions of the garage door. They are essentially thick wires that are specially designed to transfer energy between two other components of the system. The most obvious application is the conversion of the motor’s rotational force into the capacity to lift or lower the door assembly.

These cables are meant to bear a significant burden frequently and consistently based on two metrics: tension and tensile strength.

Cable Tension

Tension describes the tightness of the cable’s fit within the mechanism. Too much tension prevents the cable from distributing force to the spring or support components, which can cause it to break. Insufficient tension makes the entire system work inefficiently and can lead you to believe you need garage door spring replacement when you don’t.

Tensile Strength

Tensile strength describes the ability of the cable to withstand the force of lifting, lowering, and suspending. This diminishes over time if the system isn’t properly maintained and failure often leads to total garage door cable replacement.

About the Types of Garage Door Cables

There are three main types of cables involved in a typical garage door system. The lifting cables usually bear the biggest burden, but all of them are important and need to be maintained.


Lifting cables are the ones that actually raise and lower the garage door when the motor is activated. One end is fastened to the door and the other is connected to the springs. Cables must be adapted to the type of spring, so you need either torsion spring or extension spring lifting cables depending on your system.


Safety or retaining cables are only used in extension door systems. They are a failsafe mechanism that helps protect people and property in case an extension spring breaks. Garage door opener repair in Trophy Club, TX may require examination of these cables because they can prevent the door from opening at all when damaged.

Emergency Release

An emergency release cable or cord (ERC) is another type of failsafe device. It allows you to manually control your door to some extent in the event of a power or motor failure.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following questions are just a few examples of common concerns and considerations. Contact your trusted local garage door installer for more information or if you want to discuss a specific question in-depth.

What are the common causes of garage door failure?

Problems can come from many different sources ranging from faulty garage door opener installation to accidental damage to internal mechanisms. Installation problems may stem from using the wrong parts or assembling them incorrectly. Material failures and inappropriate usage by operators can also cause a system failure.

What’s the difference between extension and torsion cables?

This question can be a bit complex on the technical side, but it’s relatively simple for the buyer. Essentially, extension cable systems tend to be cheaper to install and maintain, but torsion systems are safer and more reliable.

When should I look for a garage door repair?

Any change in the performance of your garage door warrants a quick Google search for a “garage door repair near me” and a thorough examination from a professional. Even a little bit of unsteadiness or inconsistency can represent a serious problem emerging in the system. Don’t wait for a spring or cable to break before you seek help.

Get Real Garage Door Solutions

Before you start searching the internet for “garage door companies near me,” you should contact Meadows Garage Doors. With well over a decade of experience, we are a local industry leader and proud member of the community in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

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