Your garage door has a number of built in safety mechanisms inherent in its design. The garage door springs control the tension exerted on the garage door cables. The garage door cables support the weight of the door as it opens and closes. If one of those safety mechanisms fails, the garage door could come crashing down on your car, or in the worst case, kill a person.
A garage door cable can snap for a number of reasons:
If the garage door cable snaps, the springs can no longer control the tension on the cable and the full weight of the door will come crashing down on whatever is in the way of the door. To completely see how this can happen, you need to understand how your garage door works.
No matter what type of residential garage door you have, the physical mechanics of its operations are relatively the same. When you press your garage door opener, the cables and the garage door springs work together to open and close the garage door.
The garage door cables are an important component of the garage door system as they actually hold the weight of the garage door under the tension supplied by the springs.
Garage door cables consist of individual wires wound together into strands that are then twisted together into the cable. The cables are attached to the bottom bracket mounted on the bottom panel of the garage door on both sides. They run up the full height of the garage door on both sides. Depending on what type of spring system your garage door uses, the cable is then attached to either a pulley system or a cable drum.
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If your garage door has an extension spring system, the cable runs up either the side of the garage door and then runs through a pulley system that attaches to the extension springs. The cable is then attached to an adjustment bracket on the vertical tracks of the garage door in the ceiling. As the garage door opens, the cable slides along the pulley system to pull the garage door up as the extension spring applies tension on the cable. When the garage door closes, the extension spring releases the tension on the cable which allows the door to slide down.
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