Garage Door Troubleshooting – Will Garage Door Work Without Sensors?

by Patricia Costello
Garage Door Work Without Sensors

Garage sensors represent an essential part of your garage door. Garage doors are quite large and opening or closing them manually will be a challenging task. Sure, they are alright if you park your car on the driveway and you use the garage for a personal gym or to deposit random things. But if you have to open and close it on a daily basis, it will make an annoying workout.

Sensors are part of the game in automatic garage doors. They represent a legal requirement in many countries. Practically, if they sense anything under or close to the garage door, they will prevent it from closing. They make a good safety feature that can actually save lives, but on the same note, poor quality sensors can become an issue.

Whether the door fails to close properly or the sensors keep blinking, it means they are faulty. They are not too cheap either, so you will have to spend some money to replace or fix them. Meanwhile, the best you can do is disconnect them if you do not mind your garage door stuck in a particular position. At this point, you probably ask yourself – will the door work without sensors?


How to tell if your garage door sensors are working

Find the sensors and measure their height. Get one or more cardboard boxes that are higher than the sensors. You do not necessarily need a bit box, but you can also use a couple of smaller boxes. Place them in the doorway and try to close the garage door – use a remote or the switch on your wall.

If your sensors work, they should stop immediately, as they can sense something in the way. The door should also return to the initial position. On the other hand, if they fail to work, they will simply crush the boxes. It is alright with a couple of boxes, but imagine your dog or cat coming in when you close the door – not the ideal scenario.

Your options involve aligning the sensors – tighten screws or bend brackets back into their original positions. If they still fail to work, you can check the sensors and make sure their lenses are clean. Use a soft cloth to clean them. If the problem persists, make sure the wires are alright. You should also keep sensors away from water exposure. If they have been sprayed, sprinkles or exposed to rainwater, wait until they are dry.

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How to bypass garage door sensors

When it comes to bypassing garage door sensors, everything is about safety. It is not necessarily about sensors, but about keeping yourself and those around you safe. For this operation, you need to ensure there is no power supply at all. Remove the plug from the wall. If you are not sure about it, turn the power supply off in the entire house for a bit – you might want to unplug all electronics first too.

Automatic doors tend to stop working as soon as the sensor is disconnected. At this stage, the question is – how do you get the garage door to work without a sensor? Simple – you do it manually.

Your next step involves finding the sensors. Both sides of the door should have at least one sensor each. They are easy to find – they look like little gadgets and they feature LED lights. They can be fitted in different ways, but most commonly, you will need a screwdriver to remove the screws.

Disconnecting sensors implies cutting wires. Get a wire cutter and remove the problematic sensors – cut about half an inch away from them. You can then get new identical sensors and hook them back in – the metallic wiring is inside the casting. Strip the ends to find it and hook the new sensors – pay attention to the colors. You will usually have black and white wires – black goes to black and white goes to white.

Once done, stick the sensors in their original positions. Tighten the screws to make sure they stay in place and you are ready to go.

Garage Door

Will garage door work without sensors?

The question is a bit tricky. The door will not be stuck in a particular position. It will work, but it will not be an automatic job. Instead, you have to open and close it manually. It will make a good arm workout, but it is not the ideal scenario if you hope to do this on a daily basis. The good news is sensors are not expensive and can be installed by yourself – sure, you can always hire a professional to do it too.

There are more ways to disable garage sensors. For instance, many modern garage doors come with a setting that allows you to switch to the manual mode. The door must be in the closed position before switching. Otherwise, once the setting is on, the door might crash if a spring is damaged or stiff. If your door is stuck in the open position, you can use 2x4s.

The 2x4s or simply any sturdy item like a shelf will prop up the door. Imagine it slamming down – you risk injuring yourself or severely damaging it. Once it is propped up, locate the cord responsible for the manual operation – it is normally close to the motor. The cord – or chain – can be used to handle the door in a manual operation.

When about to close the door, you need to pull it up a little – only to remove the support, then let it down slowly. It is important to know that garage doors are quite heavy. If you are not confident in this operation, you might want to call a friend over. All in all, this task can be a bit challenging, but at least you can open and close the door without sensors.

Issues associated with garage door sensors

If your garage door fails to go all the way down, sensors might be responsible for the issue. This kind of system will reverse the door if it notices anything in the way. It might as well be something blocking the lenses. For instance, spider webs are often responsible for such problems, not to mention slight misalignments.

You do not have to change the entire garage door if sensors are damaged. Of course, it depends on how long the door has been in use. If it is still in good condition and there are no signs of rust or big dents, the door should be alright – simply replace the sensors only.

As for the lifespan of your sensors, there is no such thing. Power surges or water infiltrations are the main causes behind their malfunctions. These sensors can last for decades or they can break down after a year.


As a short final conclusion, garage doors can and will work without sensors, but they will demand a manual operation that will put lots of stress and strain on your arms. It is stressful, but it is a reliable option if you truly need it. Other than that, replacing sensors might be a better idea, especially as they are not so expensive anyway.​

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