The photo eyes (safety sensors) are located about six inches off the ground to the right and left of your garage door. One sensor sends a beam of light to the other. If this beam is broken due to some sort of obstruction, the garage door won’t close. If you notice that your garage door isn’t closing when you want it to and there are no obstacles in the garage door’s path, the photo eyes may be out of alignment. This is a common problem; sensors can be easily bumped by a garbage can, child, or pet.

If your garage door system didn’t have photo eyes, your door wouldn’t know if there was a person or object in its path, which is scary to think about! Fortunately, most garage doors today have them; it’s just a matter of ensuring they work properly. Today, we’re going to clearly explain how to check these safety features and adjust them if necessary.


First, you need to figure out what the problem is so you can solve it! Typically, if the problem is due to photo-eye misalignment, the door will close a few inches when you try to close it then reverse, or it won’t close at all.


Double-check to make sure nothing is breaking the beam. Even small items in the path or dust covering the sensor could cause an issue. If the sensors are dirty, take a soft, damp cloth and wipe them off. Next, check the LED light on each sensor to see if it’s lit. If only one is lit, the other may need to be adjusted.


By hand, make slight adjustments to your photo eye sensors until they align. First, adjust the sensor that wasn’t lit. When it lights back up again, it should be in the correct position, and your door should work again. Be gentle as you’re making adjustments. Loosen bolts or screws on the unit, and then move the pivot bracket until you find the sweet spot and the light turns back on. Retighten bolts and screws when you’re finished.

Check Wires

Take a look at the wires that lead to the photo sensors and see if you notice any damage or disconnections. Sometimes objects can get caught and tangled in these wires, twisting them and preventing them from working properly. If this seems to be the case, carefully free the object (as long as you don’t see any wire damage). If there is wire damage or you can’t find the problem, call a professional for garage door service.

Too Much Sunshine

Does your garage door have trouble operating only during certain times of the day? Believe it or not, the sun may be at fault. If light pours down into the sensor, it could also break the circuit and prevent the door from closing. If this seems to be a recurring problem, ask a garage door repair company to install a sun shield over the sensor for you.

If You Can’t Solve the Problem on Your Own

If you try and don’t succeed, call a local, trusted garage door technician for help! The sensors may not be mounted properly, or your garage door may have a more serious problem that should be dealt with by a professional. WD Door in Ankeny installs and repairs commercial and residential garage doors across the state of Iowa. Let us know how we can help!