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

Common Reasons a Garage Door Sensor Stops Working

Sensors are vital safety measures in every garage door mechanism. All door installations in the United States from 1993 onwards require door sensor installations as well. Heavy door panels travel up and down door tracks all the time. Simple accidents like accidental garage closures can result in unfortunate circumstances. Injuries and damages can happen from a moving door panel.

The presence of a sensor device helps in curbing these unfortunate instances. Garage door sensors detect if there are obstructions in the pathway of door slabs. The auto reversal happens once the sensor finds an obstruction, such as an object or person along the path.

It’s crucial to maintain fully functional sensors. Without working sensors, you are not only risking your safety. Broken sensors break property safety codes for buildings. Let this guide help in finding causes and potential solutions to dysfunctional sensors.

Sensor alignment

The first reason door sensors don’t work is because of alignment issues. The sensors for garage door systems come in pairs. There’s a receiver and a transmitter/sender sensor. Without detecting the other device, both sensors won’t work to prevent a traveling door from auto-reversing. 

It’s best to always check the alignment of the two sensors in the tracks. Due to constant track movement and wearing out of sensors, these devices are bound to move gradually. Luckily, knowing how to adjust the garage door sensors is an easy task for garage owners.

garage door safety sensors

Possible solution: How to align garage door sensors

  1. Gather the necessary tools first. Prepare the screwdriver, a long string, a level, or a tape measure.
  2. Turn off the door sensors by accessing the power box inside the garage.
  3. Loosen the screws of both sensors, so it’s easier to move along the tracks. Tie the string on both sensors so that it creates a tight straight line.
  4. Measure up to six inches off the ground using the tape measure and move the sensors accordingly.
  5. Tighten the screws and test the new placement of the sensors.
  6. If it doesn’t work, repeat the steps until there is a beam of light crossing from both sensors.

Sensor dirt and moisture buildup

The sensors are always exposed to outside conditions. Dirt, moisture, particles, and all kinds of buildup can happen to the sensor devices. Without proper cleaning and maintenance, the sensors will stop working properly. Dirty photo eyes won’t allow the adequate detection of the sensors. 

Even if the sensors are aligned on opposite ends, there’s less detection on both sides. As such, it’s time to take out a clean cloth and liquid cleaners such as alcohol or soapy water.

Possible solution: Clean and maintain the sensors

Prepare your cleaning articles and schedule a wipe down for the photo eyes. Luckily, cleaning the door sensors is not very complicated. Quickly take a clean piece of cloth and spray some alcohol, water, or liquid cleaner on the glass. Wipe the glass and inspect if the light beam is shining and can detect the other device.

Sensor wire damage

One of the worst-case scenarios for a malfunctioning sensor is damage. Severe damages are grounds for a malfunctioning sensor. As such, you may feel like you still have a functional sensor, only to get wrong signals and garage operations. Moreover, it’s better to leave the job to experienced people. 

Wiring systems inside the garage are connected. The sensors work with the opener to signal for the auto-reversal in case there are present obstructions. For damages, urgency is key as these damages can spiral into worse scenarios for your property. The worst thing that can happen is potential garage fires.

Causes of wire damage

✔︎ Occurrences of overheating resulting in damage

✔︎ Pets chewing on the sensor wire

✔︎ Damages in the insulation tape also damaged the sensor wires

✔︎ Thinning wire covers 

✔︎ Twists and entanglements along the wire length

✔︎ There is a problem with the connecting wires between the sensor and the garage door opener 

Possible solution: Garage door sensor replacement

For wire damages, it’s best to contact professional services for a repair. Handling wires is not as simple as a wipe-down or sensor alignment adjustment. It requires expertise and experience to know how to install garage door sensors and their respective wiring system.

There comes a time where it’s more worthy to buy new sensors than fix ones that are worn out. Depending on the damage, talk to professional repair technicians about more cost-effective solutions.

Sensor power supply

When all other things directly related to the sensors are working, there’s one other cause of a malfunctioning sensor. The power supply of the sensors may be the one causing the problems inside your property. 

For the door sensors, power issues result in the absence of flashing light beams from both sensors. There should be a green light from the receiving sensor indicating there’s a light beam from the sender sensor. The lack of power means that no electronic device is working properly.

The garage door won't close

One of the symptoms of power problems are unmoving door panels. The opposite also applies when there is a power issue occurrence. You can’t open the garage via remote control or wall switch without electricity. 

When there is no electricity to power all the devices in the garage, you need to access the space manually. For this, there are emergency release cords present for all garages.

Why are my garage door sensors not lighting up

✔︎ Current occurrence of a power outage

✔︎ The sensor is not connected correctly to the power supply

✔︎ Tripping fuse box in the event of overload

Possible solution: Assess property for power supply issues

The first thing to do is check the electric boxes and systems inside your property. If there are tripping fuses, reset the fuse breaker so you can reaccess the power supply. Power supply issues don’t only affect the garage door sensors; the problem affects the entire household.

To know if there are power issues in the garage, check the other garage parts that use electricity. The door opener shouldn’t be fully functional with a power problem. You shouldn’t be able to open the garage with the wall switch. 

When this happens, contact your power provider. Also, inquire with electrical services in the area for a potential repair. 

Contact a garage door repair company to service the malfunctioning sensors

Contact Ultimate Garage Door Repair Garage Door Repair to book a team of professional technicians. We are always available to help you deal with the wiring issues in your sensors. We have given our services to fix many sensors. We have experience in how to replace garage door sensors.