My refrigerator door gasket was torn on the bottom, so I replaced it today. The problem is that much of the new gasket is "squished" - that is, not spread as widely as the old one, so there is a gap between the new gasket and the refrigerator which I did not have with the old gasket. I put the new gasket out in the sun for a couple of hours, hoping that it would open up a bit, but it didn't help. Actually, on the top of the door, the new gasket meets the refrigerator, but on the sides there is a gap starting about half way down, and growing to about a 1/2" gap at the bottom. I took the door off the hinges, hoping to find a way to adjust the hinges, but there are no adjustments. I tried inserting a shim underneath the lower hinge, but that simply widened the gap at the bottom. Any suggestions? Is it safe to try to bend the door in order to narrow the gap?
It often takes a day or more for a compressed vinyl based seal to return to full shape. Try covering the gaps on the outside by taping paper over the opening (but not compressing the gasket. See if it has improved by tomorrow. I assume this is not a magnetic gasket?– bibAug 19, 2014 at 13:59
1Possible duplicate: How do I fix a gap in my refrigerator door gasket seal?– BMitch ♦Aug 19, 2014 at 14:42
I think it is magnetic. And since it begins about halfway down and extends to the bottom I am leaning more towards thinking it is a door alignment issue.– SDsolarJun 24, 2017 at 23:13
About that possible duplicate - that photo (except for the metal part at the top) could have been taken here. Your answer here is definitely sufficient for my needs, so I didn't bother reading anything over there....– SDsolarJun 24, 2017 at 23:20
Most likely the door is out of alignment, and realigning the door is a required step for many gasket replacements. The screws that hold the gasket in place are also the ones holding the door in alignment. You typically loosen the screws that hold the seal with the exception of the corners, inspect the gap and twist the door until it's properly aligned (by pulling or pushing the top/bottom of the door to close the gap), and then tighten all of the screws, rechecking the alignment as you go.
OK, I see the plastic parts are fine and that the screws are square-head. I have those in the workshop. But by pulling the door up it did reseal enough to convince me that this will be the solution. And rather than mess with the top one that might affect the freezer I'll go after the bottom ones. Thank you for this answer.– SDsolarJun 24, 2017 at 23:32
If the gap is on BOTH sides of the door, then bending the door won't help - the bottom hinged corner will be held away from the refrigerator by its hinge, and no amount of bending will change that.
Measure the actual distance across the gap between the door and the refrigerator (disregarding the gasket for now) all the way around the door. If that gap is pretty uniform, then there's no problem with either the refrigerator or the door... and the gasket SHOULD eventually conform to that gap. If the gap is NOT pretty uniform all the way around, then there's a problem with the hinges - either there's some hidden adjustment somewhere (inside the door itself?) or those are the wrong hinges for that refrigerator.
It is just on the handle side. it begins about halfway down and goes to the bottom. I think @BMitch is right about door alignment. Upvote for your answer.– SDsolarJun 24, 2017 at 23:11