How to Tell If Garage Door Sensor is Bad

Of all the things to go wrong, your garage door sensor appears to be giving you problems. If the garage door won’t open or close, and there’s nothing along the bottom that would stop it, knowing how to tell if garage door sensor is bad will be useful.

The key is to not panic yet. Something as silly as a dirty sensor could be the reason it isn’t working. With that said, it’s best to check the areas that are the most common culprits when a garage door sensor appears to be going bad.

What could be the problem?

Guessing where the problem stems from doesn’t help very much. Instead, you’ll have to flex your investigative skills. There’s a few common signs that point to a bad garage door sensor. Obviously the garage door not closing, or opening, is a clear indication that something might be wrong.

Before you do anything, it’s best that you rule out obstructions. Check for any boxes or any other objects that are blocking the sensor. Since the sensor is good at checking for any nearby objects that could pose a threat to the door or your car, if something is too close to the garage door it might be on red alert. Double-check that any and all objects are moved away from the sensor. On that same note, also check for any moisture. If the sensors got wet by accident, let them dry before investigating any malfunctions.

Lastly, you should check the remote itself. Is it damage in any way? Does it need new batteries? They should be changed every six months. Was it dropped recently? Perhaps the sensor light is missing or the lights are flashing. Check the health of the garage door opener before you attempt to examine the sensor.

After you’ve done that, you’ll be investigating four possible reasons the sensor is bad such as, the sensor’s power supply, the lenses on the sensor, if it’s misaligned, or general wear and tear.

How to tell if garage door sensor is bad

Now that you’ve got the most obvious possibilities out of the way, it’s time to check the rest. You’ve already checked the garage door opener and the sensor’s pathing.

1. Check if power is being supplied to the sensors.

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That may sound tough, but checking for power is actually a lot easier than you would think. All it takes is a simple vision test. On the sensors, you’ll see a small, green LED light. If the LED light is turned on, that means it’s getting power. Sometimes the LED can be hard to see. Flip the lights off in your garage to help locate the illumination coming from the LEDs.

On the other hand, if it isn’t lit up like a Christmas tree, then the sensor(s) aren’t getting power and you’ve discovered the problem. To replace them, you unplug the garage door opener. Cut the wires connected to the sensor as close to the sensor as you can get. Strip a portion of the insulation back with wire strippers (View on Amazon) and attach the new sensor via the wires—black stripe to black stripe, and white to white wires.

2. When was the last time the sensors were cleaned?

It isn’t uncommon for sensors of any kind to stutter with connection when there’s a layer of dust and dirt blocking the signal. The garage door sensors aren’t any different. In fact, if there is grime and dust caked on the sensors, you should wipe the lenses off.

What you should not do is use paper towels or washcloths. Instead, use a microfiber cloth . They’re designed to not leave behind tiny fibers, preventing the tiny particles from causing anymore issues. After you’ve given the lenses a good clean with a dry microfiber cloth, try the garage door again.

3. Are the sensors misaligned?

For the sensors to do their job, they both need to be pointed at each other. If they are aligned correctly, the LED on the sensor will flash red. This is pretty easy to do considering the sensors are held in place by a clip that, generally speaking, isn’t bolted to your garage door.

4. How long have you had the sensors?

When all else has failed, then it’s time to throw in the towel: the sensors are dead. A general rule of thumb is to have your sensors replaced about every 10 years, maybe a year or two more if you’ve taken care of them, but it’s just better to have them replaced after those initial 10 years.

Make Sure the Sensors Are Working!

if the garage door sensor isn’t working, you won’t be able to open or close your garage door. Garages allow you to store things that you won’t normally store in your home such as your car repair tools or woodwork items for a project. Making sure the sensor is working is just one way of improving your garage but there are many more.

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Whether you are a new homeowner, have owned a home for years, renting, or just love home repair and improvement topics, our guide will give you an in-depth explanation of many everyday home maintenance procedures. A lot of our readers use this book to increase the value of their homes, and they’ve saved a lot of money on things like repair that would have cost a professional handyman $100s of dollars.

Wrapping Up

With everything considered or tried, and the sensors still aren’t working, then a call to a local professional is your next step. It’s almost certain that the sensors are beyond repair and are in need of replacing. And in this day and age, newer sensors can be controlled by more than remotes—even your smartphone can be a garage door opener. After all, there is an app for everything.