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Overhead Door Company of Sioux City Blog

From Cables to Weather Seals: Understanding the Parts of Your Garage Door

Posted by Overhead Door of Sioux City and Yankton | May 19, 2022 8:00:00 AM

A residential garage door is an important part of your home. At first glance, it may seem simple to understand the mechanics of it: a door plus an electric opener. But it’s a little more complicated than that. A garage door is made up of several parts that work together to safely raise and lower your door. If one breaks, it affects the rest of the door, usually rendering it unusable. It’s a good idea to understand the basic parts of your residential garage door so you can quickly identify where the issue exists when your door stops working.


Cables are attached to the bottom bracket of the garage door and are coiled around a cable drum for garage doors with a torsion spring or wind around a pulley system for extension springs. Cables help absorb the force of raising and lowering the garage door. The cables, along with the torsion spring, help lift and lower the door. When cables snap, your garage won’t lift right.


Door Panels

Garage doors are made up of individual panels and sections that interconnect using hinges and rollers. Residential garage door panels can be made of aluminum, wood, traditional steel or even glass. If one door panel is damaged, it can easily be replaced.


Emergency Cord

The emergency cord disengages the residential garage door from the electric opener, allowing the homeowner or repair technician to raise and lower the door manually.



Your residential garage door is raised and lowered by the opener. There are three main types of garage door openers: screw drive, belt drive and chain drive.

  • Screw drive openers are powerful, fast and quick, and offer maximum power for heavy doors. A screw drive opener is great for large garage doors that are 14 feet high or one-piece doors that are 8 feet high.
  • Belt drive openers are quiet and smooth, making them ideal for attached garages.
  • Chain drive openers are rugged and reliable, making them suitable for most garage doors.

If a garage door opener malfunctions, homeowners can try unplugging the device or reprograming the garage door opener remote.


Photo Eyes

Photo eyes, also called safety sensors, are boxes that sit at the base of the door and use a light transmitter to detect any objects in the door’s path. If an object does interfere with the light beam, the door will reverse and go back up.

If your photo-eyes are not lined up correctly, your garage won’t close. A dirty lens can also cause the door to stop operating. Remove any debris and adjust the photo-eye until the indicator light is no longer flashing.



Garage doors will either have torsion springs (a cable winding on drums) or extension springs that extend along horizontal tracks at the top of the garage opening. The spring provides the tension required to lift your residential garage door.

If a garage door won’t raise or lower, the spring could be the issue. Replacing a garage door spring is a dangerous job and should always be tackled by a professional.


Tracks and Rollers

Tracks are the metal guides located on both sides of the garage door. Rollers attached to the door fit inside the tracks, guiding the door up and down. Tracks require special lubrication as well and should be kept free of dust, leaves and other debris.


Weather Seal

The weather seal is located at the bottom of the garage door. It creates a seal between the inside of your garage and the elements outside. It keeps out dirt, debris and pests. Over time, the seal can become brittle, degraded or damaged. It is an easy DIY project to replace the seal. Some seals are attached to aluminum tracks on the bottom of the door or nailed directly to the door itself.


Residential garage doors can last a decade or more but sometimes require maintenance. Understanding the parts that make up your garage door can help you quickly identify where the problem lies to your repairer.


If your garage door isn’t working like it should contact our repair technicians today!


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Topics: Garage Door Openers, Garage Door Hardware, Garage Door Technology, Garage Door Tips and News, Latest and Greatest, Fall Maintenance, Fall Repairs, Garage Door Upgrades, Spring Maintenance

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