Sliding Screen Door Repair Tips

Replace the wheels and tune up your sliding screen door

Does it feel like you’re dragging your sliding screen door through a gravel pit when you open it or doesn’t close all the way? You probably don’t need to replace the whole door. Just put on some new wheels and give your patio door a quick tuneup. Here’s how.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Does your sliding screen door need new wheels?

Sliding patio screen doors don’t actually slide. They roll on little plastic wheels. And when those wheels wear out or break, the door doesn’t slide or roll—it drags.

But putting an end to the drag is no drag at all. Replacing wheels is easy and takes less than an hour. First make sure the track for the wheels is clean. Then try adjusting the wheels (Photo 5). If the door still drags, or it’s obvious a wheel is broken, it’s time to replace the wheels.

Or Maybe It’s Time to Just Get a New Door

If your sliding door has multiple injuries—worn wheels, bent frame, torn screen—you may be better off replacing it. You can find replacement doors at home centers.

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Replacing the wheels and other tuneup tips

Your first step is to remove the screen door from its tracks (Photos 1 and 2). Then remove the old wheels (Photo 3) and take one with you when you go to buy replacements. Most home centers and well-stocked hardware stores carry two or three types of replacement wheels. If you can’t find a match for yours, see “Buying replacement parts” below. With the door removed, you have an opportunity to do some other minor maintenance:

  • Inspect the tracks, top and bottom. If they’re bent, straighten them with a pliers or hold a small block of wood against the bent parts and rap the block with a hammer.
  • Clean out the tracks. Your new wheels will roll smoother and last longer if they’re not rolling over sand and grit.

NOTE: Don’t lubricate the track. The grease or oil will trap grit.

  • If the corner assembly screws are accessible (see Photo 4), use a screw- driver to make sure they’re tight.
  • Look at the top of the door. Some have wheels at the top as well as the bottom. The top wheels aren’t likely to be worn, but if they are, replace them.

Buying Replacement Parts

Home centers and hardware stores carry some replacement parts, but if you can’t find what you need there, do an online search for “Screen door replacement parts.” Also look for the manufacturer’s name on the door. Most carry original parts, even for old models.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Hammer
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Pliers
  • Phillips-head screwdriver

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

  • Wood block