What is an auto reverse on a garage door?

What is an auto reverse on a garage door?


An auto reverse on a garage door is a safety feature that is designed to prevent accidents and injuries. This mechanism allows the garage door to automatically reverse its direction if it encounters an obstruction while closing. In this article, we will dive deeper into how the auto reverse feature works and why it is important for the safety of both people and property.

How does the auto reverse feature work?

The auto reverse feature on a garage door relies on sensors to detect objects in its path. These sensors are typically located near the bottom of the door on either side. When the door is closing, if the sensors detect an obstruction, such as a person, pet, or object, they send a signal to the garage door opener to reverse the door’s direction. This prevents the door from closing on the obstruction and causing harm.

There are two main types of sensors used for the auto reverse feature: photoelectric sensors and mechanical sensors. Photoelectric sensors use an infrared beam that is emitted from one side of the door and received on the other side. If the beam is interrupted by an object, the sensors will trigger the auto reverse mechanism. Mechanical sensors, on the other hand, use pressure or resistance to detect an obstruction. When the door encounters resistance while closing, it will automatically reverse.

Why is the auto reverse feature important?

The auto reverse feature is crucial for the safety of individuals and property. Without this feature, a closing garage door could cause serious injuries or damage. For example, if a person or a pet accidentally gets in the path of a closing garage door, the auto reverse feature will ensure that the door stops and reverses before any harm is done.

Additionally, the auto reverse feature can prevent damage to vehicles or other objects that may be in the way of the closing door. This can save homeowners from costly repairs and replacements.

Recognizing the importance of the auto reverse feature, many countries have implemented legal requirements and safety standards for garage doors. These regulations ensure that all garage doors sold or installed meet certain safety criteria, including the presence of an auto reverse mechanism.

In the United States, for example, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has set safety standards for garage doors. These standards require that all new garage doors manufactured or imported into the country must have an auto reverse feature that meets specific performance requirements. Garage door openers are also required to have a secondary safety feature, such as photoelectric sensors or a door edge sensor, to further enhance safety.

Regular maintenance and testing

To ensure that the auto reverse feature of a garage door is functioning properly, regular maintenance and testing are necessary. Homeowners should inspect the sensors periodically to ensure they are clean and aligned correctly. Dust, dirt, or misalignment can affect the sensors’ performance and compromise the auto reverse mechanism.

Testing the auto reverse feature is also important. This can be done by placing an object, such as a roll of paper towels, in the path of the closing door. If the door does not reverse upon contact with the object, adjustments or repairs may be needed.


The auto reverse feature on a garage door is a vital safety mechanism that prevents accidents and injuries. By using sensors to detect obstructions and automatically reversing the door’s direction, this feature ensures the safety of individuals and property. Legal requirements and safety standards exist to ensure the presence and effectiveness of the auto reverse feature. Regular maintenance and testing are necessary to keep the feature in proper working condition.


– CPSC: www.cpsc.gov
– Garage Door Care: www.garagedoorcare.com
– LiftMaster: www.liftmaster.com