How to Bypass a Garage Door Sensor

Kenneth Crawford

The garage door is the single largest moving object in your home. Because of this, garage door openers have several safety mechanisms built into them. One of these is the photo-eye sensor which was Federally mandated in January 1993.

Garage door photoeye sensors are mandated by federal law.

All openers manufactured after that date are required by federal law to have photo-eye sensors. When the sensors fail or become faulty, the garage door opener will not close the door. To close a door with faulty sensors requires bypassing the garage door sensors. Faulty sensors require replacement as soon as possible.


Physically altering the location of the photoeye sensors above the garage door to bypass the sensors can cause serious injury or even death due to a safety mechanism not operating as designed.

  1. Press the garage door opener wall button to fully open the garage door. The safest way to bypass a garage door sensor is to disconnect the garage door from the opener.

  2. Pull the emergency release cord to disconnect the garage door from the opener. The emergency release cord attaches to a spring lock on the door trolley. Pulling down on the cord disengages the door trolley from the opener carriage.

  3. Operate the garage door manually. Call a service technician to repair or replace the photoeye sensors.

  4. If you need to secure the door down before repairs are made to the photoeyes, reconnect the garage door to the opener. Most garage doors do not have manual locks when they are operated by an opener. Manually open the door until the trolley engages the opener carriage.

  5. Go the opener push button station on the wall. Push and hold the push button until the door closes to the floor. Release the door button only after the door fully closes.