The garage door sensor, also known as the safety sensor or photo-eye, is an essential component of your garage door system. Its primary function is to prevent the door from closing when an object or a person is in its path, ensuring safety and preventing potential accidents. These sensors are typically located near the bottom of the door tracks, about 6 inches above the ground, and work in tandem as a transmitter and receiver.

When the sensors are properly aligned and functioning correctly, an invisible infrared beam is continuously transmitted between them. If this beam is obstructed or interrupted, it signals the garage door opener to reverse or stop the closing motion. However, if the sensors are not working correctly, the door may fail to detect obstructions, posing a significant safety hazard.

Common reasons for garage door sensors not working

garage door sensor not working

There are several potential causes for a garage door sensor not working correctly. Some of the most common reasons include:

  1. Power supply issues

  2. Misalignment of the sensors

  3. Dirty or obstructed sensor lenses

  4. Loose or damaged sensor brackets

  5. Faulty wiring or connections

  6. Interference from external sources

  7. Malfunctioning garage door opener

Checking the power source

The first step in troubleshooting a malfunctioning garage door sensor is to check the power source. These sensors typically receive power from the garage door opener or a separate power supply. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Locate the power source for the sensors, which could be a transformer or the opener itself.

  2. Ensure that the power source is securely plugged in and receiving electricity.

  3. Check for any tripped circuit breakers or blown fuses that may be cutting off power to the sensors.

  4. If the power source appears to be functioning correctly, move on to the next step.

Inspecting the sensor alignment

Proper alignment is crucial for the sensors to function correctly. Even a slight misalignment can prevent the invisible beam from being transmitted and received properly. Follow these steps to check and adjust the sensor alignment:

  1. Locate the two sensors, typically mounted on the door tracks near the floor.

  2. Use a level or a straight edge to ensure that both sensors are mounted at the same height and facing each other directly.

  3. If the sensors are not aligned, carefully adjust their position by loosening the mounting brackets and realigning them.

  4. Once aligned, tighten the brackets securely to prevent any further movement.

Cleaning the sensor lenses

Over time, dirt, dust, and debris can accumulate on the sensor lenses, obstructing the infrared beam and preventing proper operation. Here’s how you can clean the lenses:

  1. Locate the sensor lenses, which are typically made of plastic or glass.

  2. Use a soft, lint-free cloth or a cotton swab to gently wipe away any visible dirt or debris on the lenses.

  3. If there is stubborn grime or buildup, you can use a mild soap solution or a specialized lens cleaner to clean the lenses.

  4. Ensure that the lenses are completely dry before attempting to operate the garage door.

Adjusting the sensor brackets

In some cases, the sensor brackets themselves may become loose or damaged, causing the sensors to become misaligned or unstable. Here’s how you can check and adjust the sensor brackets:

  1. Inspect the brackets that hold the sensors in place for any signs of damage or looseness.

  2. If the brackets are loose, use a wrench or pliers to tighten the mounting bolts or screws.

  3. If the brackets are damaged, you may need to replace them with new ones compatible with your garage door opener model.

Testing the sensor’s functionality

After completing the necessary adjustments and cleaning, it’s essential to test the sensor’s functionality to ensure that it is working correctly. Follow these steps:

  1. With the garage door closed, place an object (such as a piece of wood or a box) on the floor, directly in the path of the sensor beam.

  2. Attempt to close the garage door using the wall-mounted control or remote.

  3. If the sensors are functioning correctly, the door should reverse or stop closing when it detects the object.

  4. Remove the object and try closing the door again to ensure it operates smoothly.

Troubleshooting tips for specific garage door opener brands

garage door sensor not working

When facing issues with your garage door opener, it’s crucial to follow general troubleshooting steps that can resolve common problems. However, different brands of new garage door openers may have unique features or specific troubleshooting procedures that are tailored to their systems. Here’s how you can approach troubleshooting while keeping brand-specific considerations in mind:

  1. Consult the Manual: Always start by consulting the user manual provided with your garage door opener. This manual is tailored to your specific model and brand and often includes valuable troubleshooting sections that address common problems specific to the device.

  2. Visit the Manufacturer’s Website: Most garage door opener manufacturers maintain up-to-date support sections on their websites. These can include FAQs, troubleshooting guides, instructional videos, and more. Websites often provide additional tips or updated procedures that might not be in your original manual.

  3. Look for Brand-Specific Error Codes: Some garage door openers have diagnostic features that display error codes on the main unit or linked apps. These codes can be specific to each brand and can provide clear clues about what might be wrong. Refer to your manual or the brand’s website to decode these error messages.

  4. Watch Instructional Videos: Many manufacturers provide instructional videos that can be more helpful than printed manuals. These videos demonstrate common troubleshooting steps and provide visual aids on how to correct issues specific to your model.

  5. Contact Customer Support: If the information from the manual and website isn’t enough, consider contacting the manufacturer’s customer support. Support teams can offer guidance tailored to your specific model and brand, and in some cases, they might even suggest sending out a technician.

  6. Check for Recalls or Known Issues: Sometimes, a particular model may have known issues or recalls. The manufacturer’s website or consumer protection sites can provide information on any recalls or ongoing problems with specific models.

  7. Use Forums and Online Communities: Online forums and communities, such as Reddit or specialized garage door opener forums, can also be valuable resources. Users with the same brand or model might have experienced similar issues and can offer solutions that work for them.

When to seek professional help

If you have followed all the troubleshooting steps and the garage door sensor still fails to work correctly, it may be time to seek professional assistance. Here are some situations where it’s advisable to contact a qualified garage door technician:

  1. If you suspect a wiring or electrical issue that requires specialized knowledge and tools.

  2. If you need to replace the sensors or other components, and you’re unsure about compatibility or installation procedures.

  3. If the problem persists despite your troubleshooting efforts, there may be an underlying issue that requires professional diagnosis and repair.


Why would garage door sensors stop working?

Garage door sensors may stop working due to obstruction, dirt buildup on the lenses, or misalignment. Power issues or faulty wiring can also disrupt their operation.

How to know if a garage door sensor is bad?

To determine if a garage door sensor is bad, check for a blinking LED light or non-responsive behavior when an object obstructs the infrared beam. Unusual noises or failure to stop the door can also indicate a malfunction.

How do you fix a garage door sensor?

To fix a garage door sensor, start by cleaning the lenses and removing any debris that might be blocking the sensor’s path. Check for and tighten any loose wiring or brackets, and ensure the sensors are properly aligned.

Why is my garage door alarm sensor not working?

If your garage door alarm sensor is not working, it could be due to a misalignment or a failure in the sensor’s electrical components. Interruptions caused by radio frequency interference from nearby devices may also be to blame.

Can a garage door work without sensors?

A garage door can technically operate without sensors, but doing so bypasses critical safety features and is not recommended. Sensors are required by law to prevent accidents by stopping the door if an object or person is detected.

How to realign garage door sensors?

To realign garage door sensors, loosen the mounting brackets and gently adjust the sensors until both are pointing directly at each other. Tighten the brackets and check that the LED lights indicate proper alignment and connection.


It’s clear that maintaining the health of your garage door sensors is crucial not only for the functionality of your door but also for the safety of your family and property. If you’ve walked through these troubleshooting steps and still find your sensors uncooperative, it might be time to call in the experts.

At JT’s Overhead Doors, we specialize in diagnosing and resolving all sorts of garage door challenges, including garage door repair, ensuring that your system operates smoothly and safely. Our team of certified technicians is equipped with the knowledge and tools to quickly identify the root cause of any issue and provide efficient, reliable solutions. Whether it’s realigning sensors, cleaning lens surfaces, or handling more complex electrical faults, we’ve got you covered.

Don’t let a malfunctioning garage door sensor compromise your home’s safety or disrupt your daily routine. Contact JT’s Overhead Doors today for a quick, professional service that restores peace of mind with a fully functional, secure garage door system. Remember, when it comes to your garage door’s safety and efficiency, we’re here to ensure everything is in perfect alignment. Call us now, and let’s get your garage door back on track!

End Note

As you navigate the complexities of maintaining a robust garage door system, remember that JT’s Overhead Doors is your go-to resource for all things garage. Whether you’re looking to learn more about our commitment to quality and customer satisfaction or need detailed information about our services, our About Us page offers a deep dive into who we are and what drives us.

When it comes to professional garage door services, our team at JT’s is unmatched. From regular maintenance to emergency repairs, we cover all aspects of garage door care. Visit our Garage Door Service page to explore the wide range of services we offer, ensuring your garage door operates smoothly and efficiently.

For our clients in Scottsdale looking for local, reliable service, our dedicated Scottsdale page details everything we offer in your area. From routine checks to full installations, we’re here to ensure your garage doors are in top condition. Also, don’t miss out on our specialized services for top brands like Safeway and LiftMaster, detailed on our Safeway and LiftMaster pages.

We’re excited to connect with you and provide the stellar service your home deserves. For inquiries, appointments, or more information, our Contact Us page makes reaching out simple and fast. At JT’s Overhead Doors, we’re not just a service; we’re your garage door partners, ensuring safety, efficiency, and reliability with every call.

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