Garage door sensors are essential safety features that prevent accidents and damage. They detect obstacles in the path of the garage door, stopping or reversing it to avoid harm.
However, there are situations when you might need to bypass a garage door sensor temporarily, like when they are malfunctioning, or broken.
As a homeowner, I know you would understand how a malfunctioning sensor causes several hours of distress to make it work again.
There are several tricks to bypass the sensors. Let me guide you through each of them.
The Clever Fix
Use the garage door button to control the garage door manually.
Why you shouldn’t bypass the garage door sensors
Before you start bypassing your garage door sensors, it’s important to understand why it’s there in the first place.
First and foremost, it’s required by law. It’s specifically stated in US Federal Law UL 325.
Disabling or bypassing the sensors could result in fines, penalties, or even invalidate your insurance coverage if an accident occurs.
Believe it or not, heavy garage doors are responsible for thousands of household injuries and even deaths.
Picture this: You’re about to close the door, but suddenly, your child runs into the door’s path while it’s closing.
Thankfully, your garage door sensor is there to help prevent such a dangerous situation of the door accidentally crushing your child. It instantly stops the garage door from moving, preventing potential accidents.
All thanks to the garage door sensors, any garage door-related injuries have become preventable.
It provides invaluable protection to you, your loved ones, and your pets from possible harm.
Especially when you’re occupied with navigating your car out of the garage, these sensors act like an added set of eyes, consistently ensuring it’s safe to close the garage door.
Another vital function of garage door sensors is the security they offer: they serve as a safeguard against unauthorized entry to your garage.
When properly functioning, these sensors can recognize when something is blocking the door from closing, such as an intruder trying to force their way in.
In such a scenario, the sensors will stop the door from shutting, attracting attention to the situation and potentially discouraging any break-ins.
So, consider carefully whether you’re willing to compromise safety just to get your garage door back in operation.
If you have a sound reason to bypass it, keep reading for the guide.
Why you would want to bypass garage door sensors
There might be times when you feel compelled to disable or override your garage door’s safety features.
On top of the list is because it’s malfunctioning.
You will feel the need to bypass the door sensors when you have tried all troubleshooting you can find, including checking for obstructions and misalignments, but nothing works.
Or perhaps you’re waiting for a replacement part or repair.
Instead of dealing with a nonfunctional garage door system, it’s natural to want to opt for a temporary solution so you can continue using it.
Regardless, be responsible if you choose to bypass the sensors.
A quick reminder before bypassing sensors
Keep in mind that bypassing garage door sensors should be done with caution, as it can lead to potential safety risks and may even void the warranty of your garage door system.
Always approach any workaround with safety in mind.
Preferably, visit the user manual for the proper handling of your garage door system.
Remember, bypassing garage door sensors or operating an automatic door without them should only be done when absolutely necessary.
Your best bet is to engage a professional to inspect and repair your garage door system, ensuring it works safely and efficiently.
Tricks to Bypass Garage Door Sensors
1. Sturdy object to hold the garage door open
This is an old-school trick if your sensors are damaged or giving you a headache because it’s malfunctioning.
If you need a temporary solution or need to keep the door partially open, you can prop a robust object under your garage door as a quick fix.
Ensure you use an object that can withstand the door’s weight, like a wooden block, table, ladder, or stool.
Once in position, allow the garage door to rest its weight on the object.
And voila! Your door stays open.
You can deactivate the sensors by pressing the garage door button, allowing you to close the door manually.
Here’s how to do it:
- Turn off the garage door system.
- Press and hold the wall mounted garage door button.
- Let go of the button once the door is completely closed.
This can be a safe bypassing option because you’re watching the door as you press the button, ensuring that nothing is in the way.
3. Use the manual release cord
Have you ever found yourself (and your car) trapped inside your garage on a day that you really need to go somewhere?
If you ever find yourself in this situation, let me tell you a quick trick you can do.
The trick is to use the manual release cord or the red string hanging down from the door trolley.
Using that cord bypasses the sensor-based function of the garage door, which can free you from being trapped from the inside.
Here’s what you need to do:
Start with the garage door system turned off, then pull the manual release cord downward toward the garage door motor.
Once it’s disconnected from the door trolley, the trolley will no longer control the garage door’s position. Meaning, you can manually raise or lower the door.
This will give you full control on the door, granting you temporary relief until you can fix the issue.
4. Use reflectors
This isn’t so much of a bypassing trick, but a technique to trick the sensors into thinking the infrared beam is unobstructed, allowing the door to function normally.
This can get your garage door working if you’re unable to align the sensors facing each other due to your garage’s layout or immovable surrounding objects.
The trick is to use a reflective surface such as a small mirror or a shiny piece of metal.
Simply place the reflective surface in front of one of the sensors, making sure it’s aligned correctly to bounce the infrared beam back into the same sensor.
Taping a piece of aluminum foil in front of the sensor will also work.
5. Use laser pointer
If you have a laser pointer, then it’s time to get a little bit clever here.
Using a laser pointer to bypass garage door sensors essentially attempts to imitate the infrared beam that the sensors use to communicate with each other.
In theory, pointing a laser pointer directly at the receiving sensor could fool the system into thinking the path is clear, hence allowing the door to close.
However, this trick is not foolproof as the frequency of the laser pointer may not align with the frequency of the infrared used by the sensors. It still depends. But, there’s no harm in giving it a shot, right?
6. Taping the sensors together
Permanently disconnecting the garage door sensors by cutting the wire connecting it to the power source is one way to permanently bypass the sensors.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Close the garage door and disconnect the power to the automatic garage door opener.
- Cut the garage door sensors’ wires using a wire cutter, leaving approximately five inches of wire attached to the house.
- Seal the exposed wire end with electrical tape.
- Tape both sensors with their eyes aligned facing each other.
- Rewire the sensors directly to the garage door opener.
(two white wires on white block and black wires to black or gray block)
After the last step, your sensors have a new connection with your garage door opener.
Of course, you wouldn’t want the sensors dangling from the wall. Ensure to mount it in place.
Please remember that even though this can permanently remove your sensors, bypassing your garage door sensors should only be a temporary solution.
Make sure to return it back with a replacement for safety measures.
Where to get replacement sensors
The optimal choice is to replace your sensor with one from the same brand.
If, for whatever reason, that’s not feasible, you could consider sensors from other brands, provided they’re compatible with your system.
Always verify the compatibility with your particular brand.
If possible, head to a nearby tech store. This way, you can discuss the sensor’s compatibility and performance with a sales associate.
Alternatively, you can also make a purchase from online marketplaces like Amazon if it’s not an urgent need. In the meantime, while waiting for your replacement, you can rely on the bypassing tricks mentioned earlier as a stopgap solution.
Regular Maintenance for Your Garage Door Sensors
Once your sensors are back in working order, remember that routine checks and maintaining your garage door system guarantees smooth operation and curbs potentially dangerous situations.
Beyond ensuring that the sensors are clean, free from dust or debris, and properly aligned, check if they’re exposed to direct sunlight.
Why? Because sunlight can cause your sensors to act up.
To counter this, think about installing a sun shield or moving the sensors to a spot less prone to direct sunlight.
This will help reduce interference from the sun and prevent false triggers.
Also, to ensure the efficient functioning of your sensors, inspect the wiring regularly for signs of damage, corrosion, or loose connections.
If you find any issues, you may need to consult a professional for repair or replacement.
Don’t forget to check the batteries on battery-powered sensors.
Replace them as needed to keep your garage door sensors working smoothly.
It’s better to invest in new batteries regularly than to encounter problems at inconvenient times due to low battery power.
Lastly, consider your sensors’ age.
Like all electronic devices, garage door sensors suffer from wear and tear over time, which can reduce their effectiveness.
If you’ve had your sensors for several years, it might be a good idea to swap them out for new ones to prevent potential future problems.
Bypassing the sensors can be helpful when you urgently need to open/close your garage door and cannot wait for a repair service to arrive. However, it should never be a permanent solution, as doing so compromises your safety.
In addition, there are legal concerns when it comes to bypassing the garage door sensors.
That being said, the risks outweigh the benefits.
If there are valid reasons to bypass the sensors, here are your options:
- Sturdy object to hold the garage door
- Press the garage door button
- Use the manual release cord
- Use reflectors
- Use laser pointer
- Taping the sensors together
Again, keep safety in mind while bypassing the sensors!