How to Adjust Garage Door Cable Tension


The cables are the main components that hold up your door. They are attached to guides on each side of the garage and slide through a pulley at the top of the door. The other end attaches to weight somewhere on or below the door, which is called a counterbalance . There are many cable systems, but most modern residential doors will have torsion springs instead of ‘Inner Tubes’ like commercial doors do. A torsion spring is easier for DIYers to install than inner tubes because you don’t have to jack up your door to replace them. Today I will be discussing how to adjust garage door cable tension. So let us get started.

how to adjust garage door cable tension

The Parts of A Garage Door Cable

Several types of cables are used on garage doors: steel, nylon, and poly or synthetic. The most common cable is a steel wire rope made up of many strands of steel twisted together then covered in a rubber coating. Steel cables are the strongest and most durable. Nylon cables, on the other hand, are used mostly in heavy duty doors. And poly or synthetic cables are used mainly on residential garage doors and industrial doors that do not require extra strength.

Nylon has become the second most popular type with ease to manipulate even when cold, and they are less likely to rust than steel cables. Polymer-coated cables have a higher friction coefficient than nylon or steel cables, which provides an advantage since it requires very little initial tension before moving. Durable and Ideal for Everyday Use: The flexible plastic casing is durable, kink-resistant, weatherproof, and abrasion-resistant to provide the most durable rope on the market. With a breaking strength of over 1,000 lbs., this rope is ideal for everyday use.

The opener: Each garage door uses different types of openers, so you’ll need to take measurements according to whichever brand makes your unit as well. If you’re opening up your present model, be sure to take note of the part’s measurements before removing and replacing them.

Use a Wrench

Step-wise Guide on How to Adjust Garage Door Cable Tension

The garage door is an important part of your home. Unfortunately, its mechanism can easily malfunction at any time. When that happens, and the door starts to fail, you should know what exactly to do to fix it. In this article, we will cover how to adjust a taut cable on a garage door: 1. The taut cable is the cable that runs from the top of the garage door to the bottom. It connects the door to the springs and helps the door open and close smoothly.

Step 1:

The first thing you need for this procedure is a screwdriver and safety glasses. This particular step determines the amount of tension put on each spring. It will help if you start by opening the top portion of your garage door as high as possible. Next, remove two metal brackets installed between the bottom rail and middle bracket with screws or bolts (depending on your model). If needed, use small pliers instead of hands so as not to scratch parts during removal.

Step 2:

The other adjustment you may need to make is in the cable pulley located near the bottom of your garage door. You can do this by manually pulling down on one end of the string as the door opens. If it feels too tight or too loose, you can use a screwdriver to adjust it with ease.

Step 3:

Slowly turn the screw clockwise until most threads are visible from below (approximately 1/4-inch). Test your door and if needed, do it again until it feels tighter. It may take you several adjustments before getting that right balance. Once done, replace both metal brackets between the bottom rail and middle bracket and tighten them with screws or bolts carefully using a plier so as not to scratch any portion of your garage door or hardware.

Step 4:

After removing these brackets, examine the length of the lower bracket as well as the position of the string pulley. You should be able to see a screw at one end of it; this is what you need to adjust to, putting more tension on your spring. Move the bottom bracket to the left, adding tension on the spring. This will raise the bottom of your door.

Test Your Garage Door

Step 5:

Remember that once you have made those adjustments, you should close and open your garage door several times to not miss-align any portion for future reference (remembering the new adjustments). But if, after all these steps, you still find it hard to open your garage door using its opener, try lubricating each moving part and replace all worn-out cables.

Precautions While Performing How to Adjust Garage Door Cable Tension

  • Before changing the cable tension of the garage door, make sure to turn off the power supply present in your garage.
  • If you have a safety sensor connected to your garage door opener, then wait until the door comes fully down and disconnected from the safety sensor before working on it, or else you may get seriously injured.
  • When making any adjustment on a Garage Door, it is advisable to cover the windows/skylights with an old blanket so that sunlight does not interfere while working, leading to serious accidents.
  • Always use gloves when doing this job, as your hands may come into contact with sharp edges of doors and other parts of your garage door mechanism, which can cause minor cuts and injuries.
  • Use a carpenter’s level to find out if your garage door is hanging straight.
  • If the cable tension of your garage door is too high, then it can cause serious injury and sometimes even death because a high-tensioned garage door will come crashing down as soon as someone touches it during its operation, which may lead to any person getting seriously injured due to being crushed under this heavy steel structure of your garage door.
  • Also, note that you will be working with the moving parts of your garage door, so take all the necessary precautions while doing so and use hand gloves wherever required.

What Are Garage Door Springs?

Garage doors are lifted and lowered using a garage door spring. The garage door spring is a torsion spring, which is commonly called “twist”. It has an outer force against its length that allows it to twist. When the garage door is raised above the top point of the track, a cable can be extended up through the center of this spring to help support some of the weight of the heavy motor vehicle.

 Garage Door Components

How Do You Know If Your Garage Door Opener Is Broken?

Your garage door opener may last for a long time, but it does get old, and sometimes an issue occurs that stops the door’s motion. Here are some signs that will help you determine if your garage door opener is working or not:

Check The Safety Sensors

Sometimes, it happens that one or two safety sensors might break down because they are in direct contact with debris like rocks, nails, etc. If this happens, then try and check each sensor to see if they all work properly or not by simply touching them with your hand when the power is on. If you find any sensor that is not working, remove it, open your garage door manually, and restore the sensor later when you have bought a part to replace it.

Since we are talking about the safety sensors, it is also important for you to remember that they should be replaced at least once every six months.

Monitor The Speed

Another thing that might help you determine if your garage opener has stopped working or not is by monitoring the speed of the door when it moves up or down. Now make sure that all items present in your garage have been cleared so that there is no blockage in the front of your moving door while checking its speed. If you find no change in the speed of movement, you need to check out the gears, or else you have to replace your garage door opener.

Replace Your Garage Door Opener

Check The Chain

Other than checking the safety sensors and monitoring your garage door’s movement speed, and it is also essential for you to check if the chain that pulls the trolley up or down is working properly. If it is not, then the chain may need to be lubricated, but if there is no problem with the chain, then the trolley might need to be replaced. Another reason that could cause your garage door not to close properly is an imbalanced spring.

You can do this by simply disconnecting the cable from one side of the spring while keeping an eye on how the other side moves without any problem. If both sides move in the same fashion, then there is no issue with your chain, but if just one side moves freely, you should consider its replacement.

How To Install Garage Door Springs and Cables?

Step 1:-

Before installing garage door springs, clean the floor’s surface and in front of the door.

Step 2:-

Now take out the old type spring, open your garage doors fully, then take both ends or cable at right angles from one another and remove it carefully. Just disconnect two ends cables from roller hooks if you are replacing an existing spring.

Step 3:-

Now cut approximately six inches away from both cables at 10 inches from each end where the roller is fixed to it with a sharp knife which can be easily done by cutting through the outer coating.

Use a Sharp Knife

Step 4:-

Use the wire stripper to take off four inches of outer coating around wires, leaving just a 2-inch rubber sheath as this sheath will help protect the wires where it passes through rollers and other garage door components. Also, check for continuity of outer coating following this method:- Take the wire stripper and put one end of each cable in it, now press the handle so that stripping will start from both ends simultaneously. If you see a small spark upon pressing, there is no problem with cables; otherwise, replace them.

Step 5:-

Now fix the new spring on the door by inserting 6 inches cutting portion into the roller hook first, then fix the rest of the spring to hooks with screws, washers, and nuts according to instructions given with your spring package.

Step 6:-

After fixing the spring, connect two ends of the cable to it again at right angles like before now, take out the drum, and put both cables in it at 90 degrees concerning each other so that wires should cross.

Step 7:-

To adjust the tension of the spring, turn the adjustment screw after placing one end of the cable in the hook.

Use a Wire Stripper

Maintenance of A Garage Door

A garage door owner should know how to maintain and adjust the doors to keep the integrity intact. This is necessary as garage doors need to be kept to prevent problems like door rub damage, squeaking, etc.

A Basic Maintenance Schedule: One should at least inspect their garage door regularly. An ideal schedule includes weekly inspections during normal use and a thorough inspection before closing for the day and after opening every morning.

Some other maintenance that needs to be performed is replacing worn parts like rollers, springs, sensors, switches, weather stripping around the doorway, and cables every three years. The following are some guidelines on how an individual can adjust or repair their garage door.

Assembling The Door-

Before one decides to change things such as the springs or cables, one needs to analyze the situation. This is done by scrutinizing the situation and making a list of what needs repair from the top-down. Measurements also need to be considered when inspecting an overhead door to know where to get the right parts once it comes time to replace them. Once this is accomplished, one can now adjust any problems that may occur with their garage doors.

Maintenance Adjustments:

The first adjustment that one would normally have to make is a manual operation, which includes raising and lowering the door manually by turning a knob or pulling up on a spring-loaded cable. It could be adjusted using two types of pulleys, either 1/8″ or 5/16″.

These are each placed on both sides of the track and adjusted for proper operation. Some panels would have one pulley holding the whole door in place, while others would have a small vertical section detached from the panel and tilted up to do this sort of maintenance.

The next adjustment is if it is spring-loaded. If there are springs involved at all, one should make sure that they are located on the left-hand side when facing your garage. The cables should be attached on the right side when facing outwards towards your driveway.

Some Doors Have Two Cables

Some doors will only have two cables, and you might need to call an expert who has experience working with these types of doors if you feel like you cannot do it yourself. To make these types of adjustments, one would need spring balancing scales and should look for the pounds per inch or lbs/in. The next adjustment is if there is a chain involved. The chain size can be calculated by measuring between 2″ and 4″ links without using a tape measure tool.

The last type of adjustment is to have an electric garage door opener installed into your existing garage door system. One will need to call an installer who has experience with this type of product if they feel they cannot install it themselves. Follow their manual carefully for instructions on adjusting their cable tension by making small turns on each screw located on both ends of the track where the cables run through.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Does the Cable on My Garage Door Keep Coming Off?

There are a few reasons why the cable on your garage door might come off.

One possibility is that the cable is stretched or worn out. If this is the case, you will need to replace the cable.

Another possibility is that there is something blocking the cable from moving freely along its track. This could be something as simple as leaves or debris on the track, or it could be something more complicated like a broken spring or motor. In this case, you will need to have a technician come and repair or replace the garage door mechanism.

Why Does My Garage Door Not Close Smoothly?

There are a few things that can cause your garage door not to close smoothly.

Call a Professional

One of the most common issues is that the chain or motor may be worn out. If this is the case, you will need to replace the chain or motor.

Another issue could be with the cables or springs. If these are damaged, they will need to be replaced as well.

If all of these repairs seem like too much work, then you may need to call a professional to take a look at your garage door. A qualified technician can diagnose the problem and recommend a solution.

Why Is My Garage Door So Heavy?

There are a few reasons why your garage door might be so heavy.

One possibility is that the springs may be worn out and need to be replaced. Another possibility is that the door itself may be too heavy for the hinges or tracks. In either case, you will need to hire a professional to assess the situation and provide a repair or replacement recommendation.

Can I Replace Garage Door Spring Myself?

It is possible to replace your garage door spring yourself, but it is not a simple task. First, you will need to remove the old spring and bracket. Then, you will need to unscrew the two bolts that hold the bottom of the door in place. After that, you will need to remove the old cable and coil. Finally, you will need to install the new spring, bracket, and cable.

What Happens When a Garage Door Spring Breaks?

When a garage door spring breaks, it can cause the garage door to close on its own or become stuck in the open position. This can be dangerous if you’re inside the garage when it happens.

If the garage door closes on its own, you may need to manually push it back open with a broom or a stick. If it becomes stuck in the open position, you’ll need to use a crowbar or a wrench to pry it open from the other side.

In both cases, be sure to stay away from the moving parts of the garage door while you’re working and avoid touching any wires or cables that may be connected to the springs.


I hope this article has helped learn how to adjust garage door cable tension. Always ensure proper safety while performing these steps. It would help if you always had a professional guiding you through the process whenever you face any difficulties. Thank you and have a nice day!

You may read also – How to Run Sprinkler Wire From Garage

Jennifer Branett
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