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
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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 and do a patio screen door replacement.
Or Maybe It’s Time to Just Get a Patio Screen Door Replacement
If your sliding door has multiple injuries—worn wheels, bent frame, torn screen—you may be better off finding a sliding patio screen door replacement. You can find a patio screen door replacement at home centers.
Replacing the wheels and other tuneup tips
Photo 1: Lower the door
Turn the adjustment screws counterclockwise to release tension on the wheels and lower the door. There’s an adjustment screw for each wheel near the corners of the door’s frame.
Photo 2: Lift the wheel out of the screen door track
Lift one wheel off the screen door track using your finger or a screwdriver. With the wheel raised, pull the corner of the frame out of the track. Do the same at the other corner and then remove the door by pulling it down and out of the upper track.
Photo 3: Remove the wheel
Remove the adjustment screw and pull the wheel and spring assembly out of the frame.
Photo 4: Install the new wheel screen door roller replacement
Install the new wheel and spring the same way you removed the old one. The adjustment screw goes through a hole in the spring (see Photo 3). When the wheels are in place, reinstall the door.
Photo 5: Adjust the new wheel
Adjust the door by turning the adjustment screws. Position the door so the frame is about 1/4 in. from the jamb edge. Then turn the screws until the frame is parallel with the jamb edge. The bottom of the frame should be about 1/8 in. above the track.
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 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 screwdriver to make sure they’re tight on the sliding screen door installation.
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 “Patio screen door replacement parts.” Also look for the manufacturer’s name on the door. Most carry original parts, even for old models.
Required Tools for this Project
Have the necessary tools for this DIY sliding screen door replacement project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
Required Materials for this Project
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time for this sliding screen door replacement. Here’s a list.