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Garage door sensors are an essential part of any garage door. They’re there to ensure the door doesn’t close when something or someone is in the way.

The technology is rather complicated, so there is a variety of potential issues. However, these issues need to be dealt with immediately, as faulty gauge doors cause many home injuries. They can cause serious harm to people and objects.

Unfortunately, you can’t always figure out that a garage door sensor is faulty. There are some warning signs though! It’s always good to know if the sensor is malfunctioning early on. That could be caused by a variety of factors.

Before we talk about how to tell if the garage door sensor is bad, let’s look at how they operate.

How do Garage Door Sensors Operate?

There are two elements to any garage door sensor.

Photo-eye:

photo-eye How to Tell if the Garage Door Sensor is Bad (Beginner’s Guide)

There are infrared sensors on both sides of the door. Those are located approximately 2-6 inches off the ground. When you press the button on your remote to open the door, it sends a signal to the sensors. The purpose of the sensors is to prevent the door from closing on someone or something.

Line of sight:

1Line-of-sight How to Tell if the Garage Door Sensor is Bad (Beginner’s Guide)

The photo-eyes send a signal to each other when the door is open, to make sure there is nothing in the way. The door can only fully close if the line stays uninterrupted. If there is something or someone in the way, the door won’t close and will likely reopen.

What Could Be the Problem?

One of the most obvious signs of a faulty sensor is when the garage door won’t close. The first thing you should do is check the sensor path in case there are objects in the way. This function is very useful, as it prevents damage to people and property.

Other signs of a faulty sensor include missing sensor lights, flashing sensor lights, and flashing garage door opener lights.

How to Determine if the Problem is With the Garage Door Sensor?

If the garage door opens but doesn’t close, or reopens, there’s probably something wrong with the sensor. That could be a result of one of two things:

The door won’t close:

The-door-wont-close How to Tell if the Garage Door Sensor is Bad (Beginner’s Guide)

The door sensor is malfunctioning. Press the remote control or the electrical switch on the inside of the garage to attempt to close the door. If it stops closing midway and/or reopens, there is a problem.

The door closes with obstructions:

The-door-closes-with-obstructions How to Tell if the Garage Door Sensor is Bad (Beginner’s Guide)

That’s an even bigger problem. If the door closes with something in the way, it could close on your car or you.

How to Tell if the Garage Door Sensor is Bad?

Check to see if the lenses are dirty

Check-to-see-if-the-lenses-are-dirty How to Tell if the Garage Door Sensor is Bad (Beginner’s Guide)

People tend to ignore sensors maintenance until there is a problem. Sensors can collect dust or cobwebs over time. If they are dirty, they can’t work properly. Clean your sensors and try again. This is the best-case scenario and the simplest solution.

Reconnect the sensor to its power supply

Reconnect-the-sensor-to-its-power-supply How to Tell if the Garage Door Sensor is Bad (Beginner’s Guide)

A lack of power supply to the sensors could cause a problem. Look for small LED lights on the sensors. If they’re on, then the problem is not with the power supply. If they’re off, it could be a power supply issue.

Make sure nothing is blocking the sensors

nothing-blocks How to Tell if the Garage Door Sensor is Bad (Beginner’s Guide)

Check to see if the lights are blinking. If they are blinking continuously, something could be in the way. Even the tiniest items can impair the functioning of the sensors. In order for the sensors to work, they need to align with the remote. If something is in the way of the sensors, they’ll lose their connection with the remote. Make sure nothing is blocking their way.

Assess the LED lights

access-to-the-LED How to Tell if the Garage Door Sensor is Bad (Beginner’s Guide)

Each sensor has an LED light on the outer side of it. Put on the electric power supply and look at the LEDs. If there is blinking light in one or both sensors, they need to be realigned. Try tightening the screws that support them. If the issue persists, bend the brackets to tilt them back to the correct position. If the lights continue to blink, call a technician.

Assess for wetness

Assess-for-wetness How to Tell if the Garage Door Sensor is Bad (Beginner’s Guide)

Sensors could malfunction because of an abundance of water that could come from sprinklers or rain. Wait for the sensors to dry and test them again.

Make sure both sensors are in line with each other

Make-sure-both-sensors-are-in-line-with-each-other How to Tell if the Garage Door Sensor is Bad (Beginner’s Guide)

Sensors won’t work if they’re not aligned properly. Look at the LED lights. If they’re green, then alignment is not the problem. If one is flashing red lights or is off completely, then that’s the problem. Align your sensors and see if anything is dented or there is damage to the wires.

Check for damage to the wires

Check-for-damage-to-the-wires How to Tell if the Garage Door Sensor is Bad (Beginner’s Guide)

Any type of wire damage can cause sensors to malfunction. See if the wires are broken or chewed. Too much water can cause a short circuit to the sensors, which would result in their malfunction. If there’s wire damage, the sensors need to be replaced.

Look for motor unit error code

Look-for-motor-unit-error-code How to Tell if the Garage Door Sensor is Bad (Beginner’s Guide)

If all else fails, check the manual! The sensor lights will indicate their condition. The manual is not always accurate when it comes to pinpointing issues. It will, however, point you in the right direction. If both lights are on and there’s no problem with alignment, then they are in good condition. If the lights continue to blink or don’t turn on at all, there is an issue.

How old are these sensors?

How-old-are-these-sensors How to Tell if the Garage Door Sensor is Bad (Beginner’s Guide)

If you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work, the sensors might just be dead. Sensors usually last around 10 years, or a year or two longer if you take very good care of them. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to replace them after 10 years.

Final thoughts on how to tell if the garage door sensor is bad

Garage door sensors play a big role in your safety, the safety of your family members and your belongings, including your car. The garage door is so strong, it can crash any object in its way if it goes undetected by the sensors.

A faulty garage door sensor is also just annoying in everyday life. It can keep you from entering your garage or leaving in time for work and other events.

Try the tips above to see if there is a simple solution to your problem. If nothing works, you should call a technician to check the sensors for you. Finally, if all else fails, you should probably replace your sensors.

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