How To Align Garage Door Sensors

If your garage door safety sensors aren't working properly, the door won't close at all. Garage door safety sensors detect when an object is close by and keep the door from closing on it. Sometimes, the sensors may get knocked out of alignment, but you should be able to fix it yourself by following these tips.

Prepare to Adjust the Sensors

You need: 

  • rags
  • a tape measure
  • several boxes or containers
  • string 
  • a level
  • rubbing alcohol  

Locate the garage door sensors, which are commonly on the door rail about one to six inches from the floor on both sides. Sensors have an LED light, which may keep blinking when they are out of alignment. They are also very sensitive, so make certain nothing is blocking the beam, and try the door again.

Test and Clean The Sensors

A light that keeps blinking commonly indicates they are out of alignment. To test alignment, measure the height of the sensors and gather several old containers or cardboard boxes to reach slightly over the sensors.

Press the button on the opener or on the wall that controls the door opening and closing. If the door hits the boxes or container, the sensors need adjusting. 

Check the lights for debris and clean them with a rag and rubbing alcohol. Use a cotton swab to reach tight spaces, rinse with a damp rag, and then dry with a dry rag.  

Test the door again using the boxes. If it still fails, check for wire damage, and get the sensors replaced. If the wires are wet, allow them to dry, and try the door again.

Adjust the Sensors

Turn off the power to the garage door opener from the breaker box. You won't be working with wires, but it helps you avoid accidental shock.

Use a screwdriver or wrench to loosen the bolts or screws on the mounting bracket. Don't loosen them all the way, but enough so they move down or up slightly. Move each sensor down or up to come about one to six inches from the floor. Sensors should come no higher than six inches from the floor.

Tie a string on the center of each sensor, and hold a level across the bottom of the string. If the sensors aren't even, adjust the brackets up or down, then tighten hardware. Check the sensors for evenness again in case they fell when you tightened the hardware. Restore power, and do the box or container test again.

For more information, go to websites of local garage repair companies.