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How to Repair Garage Door Sensors


Is your garage door functioning properly? Usually it´s caused by a disruption in the sensor circuit. The safety eye at the base of the door signals the door to stop its descent and reopen if it detects something in its path. This is usually a person, pet, or one of your valuables such as a car or bike, but sometimes it´s a malfunction.

Not sure what´s wrong? Try these steps before calling in a professional:

1. Clean the optical sensor.

Quite often the problem is very simple – leaves, dirt, or cobwebs, may be blocking the safety eyes. Grab a clean, dry towel to clean it off and sweep up any debris that has collected on the floor around it. Remember garages are dirty so check this first whenever you notice the door has difficulty closing.

2. Bend the aluminum sensor mount into proper alignment.

This frame holds the transmitter and receiver of the sensor. Aluminum is lightweight and highly malleable, so it moves out of place easily. Without this motility, you´d damage your car, foot, or other property every time you actually hit it, or you´d break it instead of just knocking it off track. Luckily, you can use your hands to easily move it right back into position.

Bear in mind that if you have a garage door that is too heavy for its frame, you´ll have this problem more frequently. It causes the frame to shake and little by little will knock it off its track. It´s possible you will need to look into how to replace garage door panels so that you have a lighter door.

3. Try to adjust the sensors after dusk.

If steps 1 and 2 didn't work, they probably will if you try it again after the sun sets. Manually open and close the door until nightfall, when you'll be able to more easily see the indicator lights illuminated. When the unit is functioning correctly and it is properly aligned, the light will remain steadily lit. If misaligned, it will continuously blink or shut off completely.

4. Reposition the sensor itself on the bracket.

While the bracket may be perfectly in place, sometimes the sensor gets so badly out of place that you´ll need to briefly remove it and reposition it. Every brand has its sensors mounted slightly differently, so you´ll need to visually inspect it and possibly refer to your user's manual for exact instruction. Whether it uses a dial, wingnut, or slide though, it's relatively simply and won't require tools. Simply loosen the fastener, remove the sensor and readjust it until the receiver eye begins to properly respond.

5. If it´s still malfunctioning, it´s time to call a repair specialist!

If the door is still not functioning properly, it´s time to call in a repair person and possibly an electrician. Common problems that may occur and that go beyond most homeowners´ scopes include water damage, broken wires from animals, or other damage to the sensor or wires from utilizing storage space in garage corners too close to the unit.

If the cause of the sensor failure is due to a more complicated issue, you may need to look for some information on how to replace garage door panels instead. 

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