How to Align Garage Door Sensors: 2 Ways

Misaligned sensors are a common problem that can be easily fixed on your own.

It’s important to understand how to align garage door sensors before you call an expensive repair man. Below you’ll find all the details you need to know to align garage door sensors and avoid paying a pricey bill.

Let’s get started.

How to Know If Your Garage Sensors are Misaligned

The biggest sign your garage door sensors aren’t aligned is that your garage door won’t close properly. You

When your safety sensors are misaligned, you’ll see one or both of the sensor LED lights off, dim or flickering. Depending on the make and model, they might also be red indicating they aren’t aligned. A solid green light means that the infrared light is making a connection.

If you can’t fix realign them by adjusting, you’re going to need to follow the steps below.

How to Align Your Garage Door Sensors

Before you do any adjustments, make sure that you aren’t standing directly underneath the garage door. Take extra precautions when working on your door.

Step 1: Clean Any Debris/Dust

The first step you’ll want to do is clean away any debris that is obstructing the path. Any toy, tool, or object in the will prevent the safety sensors from operating correctly.

Inspect the wires of each of your garage sensors. If you notice any frayed or broken wiring, then you’ve found your issue. Turn off the electricity before touching the sensors.

Dust off the lens cap to ensure the safety sensor can create a connection with the other safety sensor. If your sensor’s LED light is solid after cleaning, you won’t need to do the rest of the steps.

Step 2: Loosen the Wing Nut and Adjust the Safety Sensors

Loosen the wing nut that’s holding the safety sensor in place. Move the sensor around until the light isn’t flickering any longer.

Step 3: Tighten the Wing Nut and Repeat 

Once you’ve made a connection with the receiver safety sensor, you can tighten the wing nut.

If you’re having difficulty getting the sensors aligned, you can utilize the string method below.

What to Do If You Can’t Align Your Sensors

You can try switching the safety sensors around and that could fix the problem outright. If that doesn’t work, you can try the steps below.

The string method is a last resort method to realign your sensors. If this doesn’t work, it’s best to call a certified garage door repair technician to get a proper look at the issue.

Step 1: Loosen the Screws Holding the Sensors

Loosen the screws that hold your sensors in place. You don’t want to fully unscrew them, but enough to where you can make adjustments. Depending on the model, you may be able to move them up and down.

Slide the sensor as low to the ground as you possibly can without unscrewing the mounting bracket completely.

Step 2: Tie a piece of String to One Sensor

Tie one piece of string to one sensor so that the center of the string runs across the photo-eye lens. You’re doing this so you can visually see the connection beam and realign your sensors.

Step 3: Tie the String to the Other Sensor

Tie the string to the opposite sensor so that the string is visualizing the infrared beam. Make sure the string is level by putting a level along the bottom.

If the string isn’t level, adjust each sensor until they’re level with each other.

Step 4: Remove String and Tighten the Screws

Once you’ve confirmed that the sensors are level and making a connection, you can tighten the screws.

Step 5: Test the Sensors

If the lights are now solid, then you can test to see if your garage door is working properly again.

If nothing has worked so far, then you’re going to need to replace your garage sensors. You can bypass your garage sensors in the meantime so you can close your garage door.

Garage Door Sensor FAQ

Are garage door sensors universal?

Sadly, garage door sensors are not universal. If you’re wanting to replace your garage sensors, you will have to match the brand of your garage door opener. You should be able to find replacements on Amazon or your local hardware store.

How do garage door sensors work?

Every garage door opener has two sensors. They’re a safety device that uses an infrared beam to sense if there are any obstructions in the way, if there are, they will reverse the garage door and prevent any harm from being done.

Essentially, they’re creating an invisible wire that is able to detect any time someone or something blocks the path. If anything is obstructing this “invisible wire”, the sensors won’t work properly and your garage door opener won’t let the door close fully.

Garage door sensors are mandatory and are required by law. Any attempt to bypass their function will end up with you voiding the warranty and potentially damaging you or your garage door opener.

How high should the garage door sensors be placed?

For optimal placement, you’ll want your garage door sensors to be 4-6 inches off the ground. This way, they have enough space to stay aligned.

Why are my garage door sensors not working?

Your sensors may malfunction for a variety of different reasons. If anything is in the way, or they have a loose wire, they’ve been misaligned by accident or the photoeye lens is dirty, may all cause your sensors to stop working properly.

The best way to start fixing your misaligned sensors is to try to align garage door sensor

How to test garage door sensor?

The best way to test a garage door sensor is by sticking something in between it while your garage door is opening/closing. If you try to open your garage door and find that it reverses on you, then you have nothing to worry about.

DO NOT stand underneath your garage door, especially if you think that you are having problems with your garage door sensor. Use a stick or anything that can keep you at arm’s length and avoid being hurt by the safety reversing sensors malfunctioning.

How To Disable A Garage Door Sensor?

To disable your garage door sensors, you can try bypassing them. You are taking a risk as you’re removing the ability to sense if there are any obstructions in the way of your garage door.

You can also disconnect your sensors, but there is no guarantee either that your garage door opener will continue functioning properly. It’s recommended to consult with a technician before disabling your sensors.

How To Tell If The Garage Door Sensors Are Misaligned?

The receiving sensor will have a green light if everything is working properly. If the LED light is off, dim or flickering, then your sensors are misaligned. To realign your sensors, you’ll need to check the above steps to realign your sensors.

How long do garage door sensors last?

While door sensors use basic technology, they still use batteries that may die every 3-5 years. You may want to check the battery before going to buy a new pair, otherwise, you may end up wasting your money for nothing!

If you’re looking for a replacement set, then check with your garage door opener’s website or in your local hardware store for a replacement.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve tried everything and can’t get your garage door sensors aligned, click the button below to get a free quote from our vetted garage door technicians.

You can also try to bypass your garage door sensors, but it’s not something I recommend you do unless you need open your garage door ASAP. If that doesn’t work, try opening your garage door manually.

Garage doors can be dangerous to deal with, so if you don’t feel comfortable, feel free to call our vetted technicians instead of taking any risk. Hopefully, you’ve learned how to align garage door sensors though and don’t need to spend any money on repairs!

About Roy Cohen

I'm Roy, founder of Hack My Garage. I started out like most not knowing how to hammer a nail, but now I know more than most people about home improvement and DIY. I want to spread my wealth of knowledge with the world and hope to make it a better place.

You can find Roy at his LinkedIn or his email: [email protected]