Garage Door Broken Cable Off Drum

Overhead doors operate on a counterbalancing system where springs under tension transfer lifting force through cables to the bottom brackets. Garage doors and truck doors have a cable installed on each side of the door generating equal upward force to open the door.

Cables come in a variety of lengths, diameters, styles and materials to best fit each individual door application. The most common types of cables are torsion cables, extension cables, safety cables and truck door cables. The more popular cables come in standard stock sizes, but cables can also be highly customized for unique door setups.


1. Types of Cables

2. Sizes of Cables

3. Cable Materials

4. Parts of Cable Assemblies

5. Breaking Strength Rating

6. Replacing Broken Cables

7. Replacing Broken Cables

8. Replacing Broken Cables

9. Replacing Broken Cables


Cable Breaking Strength – Galvanized, Stainless, Zinc-Aluminum

Cable DiameterGalvanized 7x7Galvanized 7x19Stainless Steel 7x7Stainless Steel 7x19Zinc 7x19
1/16"480 lbsN/A480 lbsN/AN/A
3/32"920 lbs1,050 lbs920 lbs920 lbsN/A
1/8"1,700 lbs2,000 lbs1,700 lbs1,760 lbs1,000 lbs
5/32"2,600 lbs2,800 lbs2,600 lbs2,400 lbsN/A
3/16"3,700 lbs4,200 lbs3,700 lbs3,700 lbs4,200 lbs
1/4"6,100 lbs7,000 lbs6,100 lbs6,400 lbsN/A
3/8"N/A14,400 lbsN/A12,000 lbsN/A


What are cables made of?

Garage door cables are made of galvanized steel in a process known as “hot-dip galvanizing” (HDG). This involves immersing the cables in molten zinc forming an outer layer of corrosion protection. For more detailed information on this process visit The average homeowner should use standard galvanized aircraft cable (GAC), but a few other options are available for added rust protection.

  • Galvanized Steel (Hot Dip) – Standard garage door cable with some corrosion protection at the lowest cost – $
  • Zinc-Aluminum Coated Steel – 3X more corrosion resistant than GAC, at 50% higher cost – $$
  • Stainless Steel – Maximum corrosion protection, at 200% higher cost. – $$$

For damp environments, stainless steel or zinc-aluminum should be used for maximum corrosion protection. Zinc-aluminum coated cables offer 300% greater corrosion protection than standard galvanized cables, at a lower cost than stainless steel cables. ZN-AL cables have a protective coating made up of 95% zinc and 5% aluminum.

Types of garage door cables

Standard Torsion Cables
Rear Mount Torsion Cables
High Lift Torsion Cables
Full Vertical Lift Cables

How much does it cost to replace garage door cables?

Can you open the garage door with a broken cable?

How much does cable repair cost?


Why do garage door cables break?

What sizes are garage door cables?

Standard Lift Cable Lengths

Door HeightTorsionExtensionDiameterDrums
6'6"96"138"3/32" - 1/8"OMI-8ft
7'0102"144"3/32" - 1/8"OMI-8ft
7'6"108"150"3/32" - 1/8"OMI-8ft
8'0114"156"3/32" - 1/8"OMI-8ft
8'6"120"162"1/8" - 5/32"OMI-8ft
9'0126"168"1/8" - 5/32"OMI-12ft
9'6"132"174"1/8" - 5/32"OMI-12ft
10'0138"180"1/8" - 5/32"OMI-12ft
10'6"144"n/a1/8" - 5/32"OMI-12ft
11'150"n/a1/8" - 5/32"OMI-12ft
11'6"156"n/a1/8" - 5/32"OMI-12ft
12'0162"n/a1/8" - 5/32"OMI-12ft
12'6"168"n/a5/32" - 3/16"OMI-12ft
13'0174"n/a5/32" - 3/16"OMI-18ft
13'6"180"n/a5/32" - 3/16"OMI-18ft
14'0186"n/a5/32" - 3/16"OMI-18ft
14'6"192"n/a5/32" - 3/16"OMI-18ft
15'0198"n/a5/32" - 3/16"OMI-18ft
15'6"204"n/a5/32" - 3/16"OMI-18ft
16'0210"n/a5/32" - 3/16"OMI-18ft
16'6"216"n/a5/32" - 3/16"OMI-18ft
17'0"222"n/a5/32" - 3/16"OMI-18ft
17'6"228"n/a5/32" - 3/16"OMI-18ft
18'0234"n/a5/32" - 3/16"OMI-18ft
18'6"240"n/a5/32" - 3/16"OMI-18ft
19'0246"n/a5/32" - 3/16"OMI-18ft
19'6"252"n/a5/32" - 3/16"OMI-18ft

What are garage door cables made out of?

What parts of the garage door cable?