I have a sliding glass door that barely opens and often jumps off the track. The track under the door is bent and chipped.

Is this normal wear and tear?

Would raising the wheels fix it? Do I need to straighten track?

I'd like to know whether this is more complex than tightening a few screws or putting on new wheels.

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  • If you post links to your pictures an editor can embed them in the question – Steven Apr 19 '13 at 19:06
  • Pictures would be helpful. If the wheels are bad, it should be pretty straightforward to replace them, a well stocked hardware store probably carries replacements. When my door became stubborn, new wheels made the door roll like new. But I've never seen a track get chipped up or warped like you're describing. – Johnny Apr 19 '13 at 19:42
  • I see how to do it from the post, but I need 10 reputation points. I guess they want to restrict who can post pictures? Anyhow, one more "upvote" and I'll have 10. Maybe I'll poke around and try to get some more points, but I know no one is going to want my DIY advice. – bMcNees Apr 19 '13 at 19:43
  • It's pretty bad. I think he'd have to hit this thing with a hammer to get it to look like this. – bMcNees Apr 19 '13 at 19:43
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    @bMcNees. No, if the rollers are partially seized, you get a skip-jump effect that quickly erodes the aluminum rib. In normal use, the soft aluminum rib will quickly get sand and dirt embedded in it which becomes the wear surface. Silica and steel are about the same hardness. As long as the contact is rolling (bearings, roller axles not partially seized), the aluminum lasts a long time. The moment there is sliding contact, the dirt and sand become displaced and turn into abrasive that quickly eats the aluminum. It's kind of like what produces washboard on a dirt road and I've seen worse. – Fiasco Labs Aug 18 '13 at 19:13

We had this issue on the kitchen sliding glass door at work. A hand truck had been run fully loaded over the threshold several times in its life and the Channel Lock treatment given to attempt putting the track back in line.

Our local glass shop repaired it without removing the frame as the door was a custom piece with no readily available replacement and would have been prohibitively expensive to do so.

Basically, you take a rivet buster chisel and die grinder and remove the track. You then use a die grinder burr to smooth the surface. There are replacement tracks (has to match the old one) that will now lay in the slot. Finish out by fixing in place with self tapping screws, replace the rollers on the screen door and adjust the rollers to proper height.

It now rolls just like new.

Ok, here's one manufacturer (no affiliation with any). Prime-Line Products has a cap strip like Mike was considering and they also have an actual track replacement extrusion which is what I have experience with. You'll find both repair products listed under Exterior Door Hardware for Residential Sliding Patio Doors. They also carry rollers and assemblies.

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Another manufacturer that makes both cap strips and track extrusions is Swisco

  • Interesting. Are you saying they chiseled/ground out the rib, then insert a replacement track inside the old now-ribless track? – mike Aug 18 '13 at 17:40
  • Yes, that's what the glass company did. The rib replacement is an after-market extrusion that you cut to size and lay in the bottom of the slot. You might check with your local window glass companies to see if it's available. – Fiasco Labs Aug 18 '13 at 19:08
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    awesome solution to a common problem – mike Aug 18 '13 at 20:40
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    Thanks! That's a very specific answer. Just what I was looking for. – bMcNees Aug 19 '13 at 11:11

It sure looks like someone tried to adjust the track with a pair of pliers and made it worse. These bottom tracks are usually made of aluminum. I have tried many times to straighten them, without much success. A minor dent or bend can be fixed with some wide bill sheet metal bending pliers, but the damage to this track looks beyond repair. If you attempt to bend it too much, the brittle metal will crack and break. Unfortunately, I think you may need to replace it. If it is an inexpensive door unit, the threshold may be riveted, welded or somehow attached to the sides and a replacement may not be easy to find or install. If you couple this with damaged roller wheels on the doors, a complete replacement may be cost effective.


Clearly, Fiasco Labs' solution is the best: it works right out-of-the-box, is nearly universal, and is DIYable requiring low skill.

There are many old-school task that require straightening metal. Auto body repair using hand held specialty anvils, hammers, and heat comes to mind, as does straightening bends in hand saws, band saw blades, and vintage cross-cut logging saws. It's amazing what can be accomplished with a bit of brain power and persistence. This approach may or may not work with extruded aluminum; the rib may become weaker, though I think not to any functional degree.

A third approach would be to straighten the rib as best as possible, then grind the sides of the rib to remove the remaining high spots, then install a U-channel (rather thin, custom-bent, stainless steel) over the rib, using an epoxy glue to fill the gaps between the rib and the u-channel. The U-channel would need to be custom bent from thin gauge stock, and would need to fit snugly in order to be a close enough match for the radius of the door rollers.

  • Hmm... I replaced our back sliding glass door with a Jeld-Wen dual pane, Vinyl frame unit. The track is a stainless steel rod with a slot cut in it that fits over a plastic rib with a flat backing. I wonder if the track assembly is available as a repair part from them? With the two part track and matching rollers... The trucks would have to fit the door slider itself. – Fiasco Labs Aug 18 '13 at 21:00
  • Do the rollers roll on top of the SS rod? What needs fixing? – mike Aug 18 '13 at 21:04
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    Yes, they do and the issue is that under certain circumstances, you could use this assembly from Jeld-Wen as a repair for other types of doors if you can get everything to fit (A kind of adjunct to your stainless steel u-channel idea). The rollers usually have a half-round slot turned into them that needs to somewhat match the surface they roll on to keep point contact pressures down. – Fiasco Labs Aug 18 '13 at 21:09
  • Inter-manufacturer compatibility seems like a long shot, but having an engineered match between the rib and rollers would make it worth looking into. – mike Aug 18 '13 at 21:12

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