Common Reasons a Garage Door Sensor Stops Working
(& How to Fix it)

garage door sensor

The addition of sensors to garages lessens the occurrence of potential injuries and damages. The function of sensors is to detect any blocks in the pathway of the tracks. When the sensors detect any object or person in the way, it triggers the auto-reversal of the system. Instead of children getting hit with heavy slabs or pets getting injuries from traversing doors, the door stops moving. The sensors are not new accessories to the mechanism of garage doors. It’s required to have a sensor for all models and brands of heavy doors from manufacturers and companies. If you plan to install new doors that guard the garage entrance, expect sensor devices in the package.

Let this guide help in addressing sensor issues. Over time, without maintenance, the sensors may stop working well. It doesn’t mean you instantly need to buy a new unit. There are ways to help deal with malfunctioning sensors. Save the big damages for repair services.

Sensors are not aligned well

The first reason the sensors don’t function well is that both devices are not properly aligned. Sensors come in pairs, and if one device doesn’t detect the other device, there’s nothing that receives the light beam. As part of garage maintenance, it’s always a good idea to check the sensors from time to time.  The last thing garage owners should do is only check when there’s already an accident or damage. Simple methods such as learning how to adjust garage door sensors are a must for all garage owners. There are signs from the light beams that show the sensor is out of alignment.

Why are my garage door sensors not lighting up

  • For the sending/transmitting sensor, the light should be yellow. The receiving sensor emits a green light when it is in proper alignment with the sending sensor. Lack of adequate alignment means that neither sensor is sending and receiving the detecting light beam.
  • Mainly, green lights indicate a working sensor. Red lights mean there are alignment issues with both sensors.
  • Alignment issues also reveal blinking lights instead of solid lights. Aligned sensors emit a steady, solid light.

Lack of regular cleaning and maintenance

Dirty photo eyes often create problems as well. It’s best to clean the photo eyes from time to time. Dirt and moisture build up on the surfaces of the sensors since it’s constantly exposed outside. After getting professionals who know how to install garage door sensors, maintenance is key in keeping these items working.

The garage door won't close

When there are problems with the sensors, the door panels won’t close. This means that there is “something” blocking the path of the tracks. However, sometimes, it’s just the dirty photo eyes not detecting the path properly.

Potential solution: Clean the photo eyes of the sensor

Grab a clean cloth, cleaning liquid, or disinfectant. Wipe the sensors until it’s clean. The photo-eyes should be spotless so that no particles are present, and the glass is gleaming. Clean sensors will allow proper detection, which allows the garage door to traverse down.

Damages to the sensor wires

The most severe reason a sensor doesn’t work is because of damage. Damaged sensors often malfunction. You’ll experience instances where door panels don’t close even if there is no obstruction. You may also experience the auto-reversal failing, prompting a more dangerous garage. Since the sensors and garage door opener work together, openers can’t function well with damaged sensors.

Potential solution: Garage door sensor replacement

For damaged wires, it’s best to call for companies that can replace the sensors efficiently. There are times where a replacement is a more reasonable move than slower repairs and worn out sensor devices. Invest in brand new sensors for situations that call for a replacement.

Sensor wire damage

Sensor wire damage can come from many causes. While it’s more natural to have issues from overloaded wiring systems, some reasons don’t point to power issues. If you have a pet who keeps chewing on the wire, there will be impaired wire lengths. The presence of pests and termites going through the wires can gradually impact the sensors.

Potential solution: How to align garage door sensors

  1. Gather the proper tools for the alignment adjustment. Get a screwdriver, a long piece of string, a level, and a ruler or tape measure.
  2. Turn off the sensors by accessing the power box.
  3. Loosen the sensors by using the screwdriver. Make sure the sensors remain in the tracks. Do this for both the sensors.
  4. Tie the string from one sensor to the other. Tighten the string such that it creates a long line between the two sensors.
  5. Start adjusting the height by moving the sensors up and down the tracks. Check the string if it looks aligned from afar. Use the level to ensure that both sensors share the same angle. Use the ruler or tape measure to ensure that both sensors are at the same height.
  6. Tighten the screws and test the adjustment. The sensors should emit a green light by having a solid light beam between them.
  7. Repeat if the sensors are still not working properly.

Power issues in the property

Lastly, power issues can affect the function of the sensor. Sensors are electronic devices that rely on a constant power source to work. Without any electricity, there won’t be a flash of a light beam that detects path obstruction.

Sensor power supply

If there are current blackouts in your location, no lights should come from the sensors or the opener. Allow some time before the power in your area comes back. The door sensors should work again normally if the power returns.After the power returns, do these steps:

  1. Check the sensor to see if it’s functioning from the recovered power supply. 
  2. Turn on the power box, turn on the sensor and open the garage. 
  3. Stand in the middle of the path and tap the traveling door panels. The garage door should stop moving and move up again due to the auto-reversal.

Potential solution: Fix power issues

If there are still power issues in the area or your residence, a different service is necessary. You need to call on electricians to handle the problem.

Book a garage door repair company for sensor inspection and repair services

When simple ways don’t work, it’s time to call in the experts in garage door mechanisms. There are services like us, Elite Garage Door Repair, who help garage owners settle issues. Like everything else at home, these large mechanisms inside the garage need tune-up and upkeep.

Our team has expertise in knowing how to replace garage door sensors. There’s no need to feel unsafe inside the garage as we will help you get new and functional photo eyes. If nothing else seems to work, give us a call!