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?
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.
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.