If you find your garage door isn’t opening or closing, the first thing you want to check is the garage door sensors. These will be located at the foot of either side of your garage door and may fall out of alignment, collect dust, or break over time.
In this article, you’ll learn how to repair garage door sensors so you can get your garage door back up and running quickly.
How To Repair Garage Door Sensors
There are several steps involved in repairing garage door sensors.
The first couple of steps involve inspects, so we’ll start there in order to determine if there’s a problem in need of repair or if the sensors simple need cleaning or realignment. You should be able to work through these steps pretty quickly, so let’s get to it …
Here’s how to repair garage door sensors quickly.
1. Clean the Sensors
Your sensors are two photo-eye lenses, mounted at the bottom of the garage door on both sides. They help sense anything that’s in the way, but they’re also in the worst spot when it comes to dust and dirt. It can build up over time and block the lens entirely.
If you’re having problems with the sensors, the first thing you should do is clean them off. Take a soft cloth and wipe off any dirt you see on the lenses. In most cases, this will be enough to get it working again.
2. Look for damage
Being located at the bottom of the door, your sensors are also vulnerable to damage. They can easily be hit by a car, or by someone simply walking by and accidentally kicking it. Take a look to see if there’s any damage. If so, they may need to be replaced.
3. Realign the sensors
If cleaning the sensors didn’t work, they may need to be realigned.
This is another simple job you can handle yourself, should you need to. On some models, you’ll see that there’s a light that blinks if it’s not in alignment. Keep a lookout for this, and you’ll be able to correct it.
Loosen the nut or screw that’s holding the sensor in place, and then tie a piece of string to both sensors. Lay a spirit level over this, and check if it’s level. If not, adjust the sensor until it is level with the other one, and then secure it back into position. Test the door again before finishing up.
Related: How to Align Garage Door Sensors
4. Check the power
This is a very obvious step, but it’s important to check that the sensors are getting power.
If they aren’t, they aren’t going to work. Take a look at your sensors and see if any lights are showing on them. If not, they may not be properly plugged in or drawing power.
5. Check the wires
If the sensors are properly plugged into power, it may be the wires that are at fault. It’s important that you check they aren’t frayed or damaged.
If they are, replace them as soon as possible. As well as stopping your door from working, they’re also a potential fire risk.
6. Replace the units
If nothing else works, then it’s time to replace the units themselves. Sometimes parts break down or become faulty, so they’ll need to be replaced.
If you’re confident at DIY, you can replace them yourself. You’ll need to take the old sensors off the door, clipping them away from the wiring connecting them to the power. Attach your new sensors into those spots, reattaching the wires as you do so. Before you tighten them fully, align them as described above.
Once you’re happy with the positioning, screw them into place and test the door.
The Importance of Garage Door Sensors
What is the purpose of your sensors?
Their primary use is for safety. With an automatic door, you’ll push a button to open it, drive your car through, and then the door will close behind you.
The sensor comes into play if anything remains under the door when it tries to close. If there is anything, the door will reverse and open again, until the obstruction is removed. It prevents damage to your car and keeps the whole family safe when using the garage.
In the past, these sensors were mechanical and would reverse the door when the door touched the sensor physically.
These days, you’re much more likely to use a photoelectric eye as your sensor. In fact, these were made a legal requirement in 1993. These sensors have a beam that’s fired across the bottom of your doorway.
If anything breaks that beam, the system will not allow your door to shut until it has been removed.
A Note On Safety
Even if you’re simply looking to learn how to repair garage door sensors, it’s should be noted that working on any part of a garage door can be dangerous. Garage doors involve many moving parts, heavy equipment, and electrical components, so always approach the garage door with caution.
Before you attempt any repair on your garage door, it’s vital that you turn off the power to the door while you work on it.
You can usually do that on the garage door opener itself, so you won’t have to worry about the door closing on you while you’re working on it. If you’re not sure how to do this, you could turn off power to the garage itself at your circuit breaker.
Maintaining Your Garage Door Sensors
Once you’ve got your garage door sensors working again, you’ll want to ensure that they’re in top working condition from now on.
It’s best to include them in a regular all over garage door check, to see how they’re doing. At this point, you can spot any damage, and clean the eyes off to keep them clear and unobstructed. Doing this will ensure that you have fewer breakdowns and issues with the sensors, saving you money in the long run. Get into the habit of doing this, and you’ll find everything runs a lot smoother.
Fixing your garage door sensors is much easier than it looks. Often, all you’ll need to do is clean off the lenses or realign the sensors when needed. Even if they need to be replaced, it’s not too difficult to do. If you need help, you can always call an engineer to take a look for you.
Now that you know how to repair garage door sensors, you can work through each step and check to see if the problem was related to your sensors.
If you find the problem isn’t related to your garage door sensors, you may need to call a local garage door repair company. A professional repair service will provide a garage door inspection and offer an estimate for the required parts and repairs.
In most cases, the garage door sensors simply need to be cleaned or aligned. However, this may not be the case if your sensors are on the older side, weren’t installed properly, or need to be replaced due to damaged equipment.