Garage door sensors are an integral part of your garage door. They protect your family and your possessions. Garage doors contain numerous moving parts. There is potential for injury if they do not operate as designed.

Garage door sensors must be aligned to ensure that your garage door opens and closes correctly. Over time, sensors may fail to function correctly, and you will need to know how to align them.

All garage doors that have been manufactured in the United States after 1993 are required to have a reversing safety system. This high-tech system will detect any obstacles between the garage door and the ground. The garage door will either be reversed or forced to stay open if there is an obstacle in the way. This essential safety measure prevents the door from closing when something is in the way.

There are typically two safety sensors contained within the safety reverse mechanism. These are located approximately four to six inches from the ground along the garage door track. An invisible infrared beam connects them. If an obstacle comes into contact with either of the two sensors, they are programmed to reverse the garage door.

The electric eye sensor that crosses the doorway is an innovative device. But if the components come out of alignment, the door won’t close at all. One of the most frustrating problems with garage doors is the malfunctioning sensor. These sensors can cause the garage door to open and close randomly. Dirt or dust on the sensors can also cause malfunction. Misalignment may also occur due to normal wear and tear. Rarely, the lenses themselves can become damaged.

So, how do you know you have an issue?  Most garage door sensors have a light that will blink to indicate there is a problem. You will need to know how to fix your garage door sensors so you can keep your home safe and in proper working order. These quick tips will help you save money by knowing what to do if there is an issue with your garage door. Fortunately, it is not difficult to troubleshoot and to realign the sensors.


The first thing that you would want to do is to inspect the garage area and locate the garage door sensors. These are usually on either side of the garage door near the ground. Do you notice anything in the doorway that interferes with the sensor connection? You may also want to clean both lenses with a cotton swab and rubbing alcohol. Pay special attention to the wires that lead to the sensors; do you notice any fraying or damage? If so, you may need to consult with a professional.

Step One

Make sure that you first turn off the power. It is much safer to do so when around electricity, even if not working with electricity. You will not be working with any wiring for this task, but do take this measure for safety reasons.

  • Trip the fuse to the garage for safety measures.
  • The fuse to the garage is in the breaker box.

Step Two

Loosen the screws that mount the garage door sensors.

  • Do not remove the screws; only loosen them.
  • Remove only enough so that the mounting brackets can slide up and down with ease.
  • Slide the mounting brackets down as low as possible while still keeping them in their original position.
  • Slide each garage door sensor downwards as low as possible.

Step Three

Obtain a string to check the alignment of the sensors.

  • Tie a string to one of the sensors so if pulled across the garage doorway, it will run across the center of the sensor.
  • Run the string across the garage doorway and tie it to the other sensor.
  • Make sure that the string is taut between the two sensors.
  • Make sure that you position the knot so that the string runs through the very center of the sensor.

Step Four

Obtain a level and lay it flat

  • Make sure the bottom runs along the string.
  • Make sure the line of the string is entirely level.
  • If the line of the string is not entirely level, adjust one or both garage door sensors.

Step Five

Tighten the screws

  • By tightening the screws, you will secure the garage door sensors in their new position.
  • Make sure that you confirm that the string is completely level before you finish the task.
  • Check and make sure that the sensors had not come out of alignment when you tightened the screws.
  • If additional adjustment is required, tighten the brackets attached to the sensors.

Step Six

Finish the task

  • Remove the string.
  • Turn the garage power back on.

The sensors should now be properly aligned. This alignment process is actually much more straightforward than you would think.

Testing Your Garage Door Sensors

Once you have adequately aligned the sensors, you will want to conduct a test to ensure that they are working at optimal efficiency. This process is very easy.

First, get a block of wood and put it in the path of the garage door. You can use your garage remote to close the garage. Take the time to see if it registers that there is an obstruction. If the garage door sensors are working correctly, the garage will go into auto reverse. If the garage door actually ends up making contact with the item, or auto-reverses too quickly, then you will need to adjust the sensitivity.

To adjust the sensitivity, you will need to look at the control system for your garage door opener. You can check a manual for specific instructions on how to do this.

If the sensors were exposed to water of any type, they might fail to function. In this case, it would be recommended to wait for them to dry before testing whether or not they are working correctly. It is important to note that any wire damage may cause the sensors to fail. If the wires are broken, rainwater or sprinkler water may cause a short circuit to the sensor. In the case of wire damage, you should always replace the sensors. You may need to consult the help of a professional if this is the case.


One of the best ways to keep your garage door safe is to focus on maintenance items every so often. While the sensors do help to keep your garage door safe, there are other things that you can do to keep you and your family safe.

Pest control is a significant issue. A garage door is a target for pests, offering an ideal entrance to a location where they can breed. You must keep the garage door closed when not in use. Furthermore, check your garage door seal every so often and make sure that it does not require replacement.

Routinely check the security to your garage door as well. It is a main path into your home, so you need to ensure that no one has easy access. If you have had your garage door opener for a while, you may want to upgrade to the latest model. You may also want to invest in good lighting. Be sure to cover up windows in your garage door.

Finally, make an effort to clean out your garage. While many consider the garage a dumping ground, hazardous items may pose a significant risk. Clear out your garage and donate items that you don’t need. Make sure that you do not store flammable objects in your garage. Place dangerous items on high shelves away from the reach of children.


This information can help align your garage door sensors in no time. Remember, if these quick tips do not help, you can always consult a professional for help. A trained technician will be able to diagnose the problem and fix it right away. If one or both of the garage door sensors are broken, they may be in dire need of replacement.

If you do not regularly focus on your garage door, you may not notice that some components need replacement. For example, if you continually push the buttons on your garage doors and garage door remote and it will not close, it is an indication that you may have a broken garage door sensor. Do not assume that it is a faulty garage door sensor, though. Broken garage door springs can also have the same symptoms, so it is essential to know what the cause of the problem is.

Hopefully, these quick tips will help you align your garage door sensors for safety and peace of mind!