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Two out of the four kitchen drawers are sliding open after about 20 seconds of staying closed. I managed to fix one by tightening the screws, but one continues to misbehave. I compared the ones that stay closed and the one that still won't, and there does not seem to be much difference. All the screws are tight and the tracks are clean and level.

How can I diagnose what's wrong?

Here are some photos of the one that won't stay closed (the angle on the camera is off on the second one): enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

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    Odds are that either the cabinets are not completely level, or the drawer tracks are not completely level, permitting gravity to pull the drawers open. You could adjust that, which would be the ideal answer. Or you could add some form of drawer catch (mechanical or magnetic) to help keep the drawer closed when gravity disagrees. – keshlam Nov 16 '14 at 23:23
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    Or a ghost that need something out of the drawers. – Tester101 Nov 17 '14 at 12:49
  • Is this kitchen on a boat? – ArgentoSapiens Nov 17 '14 at 14:55
  • I want to see a picture. As @keshlam notes this is probably out of level. But god does a cabinet have to be WAY out of level to cause drawers to slide out and that is given your track has little to no friction. I would start by just making your ball and track a little tighter. Might have to add an extra 5 pounds of pressure pulling. – DMoore Nov 17 '14 at 21:38
  • @DMoore No ghosts or boats. How does one add pressure? – Dimitriy V. Masterov Dec 7 '14 at 22:19
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I've had this happen before. Like the commenter mentioned, it's due to one of two things:

  1. The cabinet is not level with the floor causing the whole cabinet to lean forward.
  2. The tracks for the draw are not level, causing the drawer to tilt forward.

Just get a level and test the drawer and the track.

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    Then what do you do when it isn't level? – DMoore Nov 17 '14 at 21:39
  • If it's too late to shim the cabinet level, adjust the drawer slides so they are level, or add a catch so the drawer stays closed even though they aren't. – keshlam Nov 17 '14 at 21:58
  • I added photos. Would those be considered level? – Dimitriy V. Masterov Dec 7 '14 at 22:22
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    First picture, regardless of what the level says, the drawer and level are obviously not parallel to the windowsill. Stove and drawer look like they make an angle of greater than 90° too. Perhaps some grease in the drawer hardware could add enough friction to keep them from self opening. – Wayfaring Stranger Dec 7 '14 at 23:03
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    +1, it isn't the drawer that is unlevel. It is the track! – Matthew Dec 8 '14 at 21:02
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Your tracks are not level. What you need to do is take the drawers out and then unscrew the back of the track where it attaches to the wall. Then you need to move it down so it is just a little bit unlevel (make sure the track slants down away from you!).

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I have this happening at a rental unit, and it just started happening at my own house in my kitchen that we remodeled a few years ago. I talked to my cabinet maker and he said there is a little rubber bushing on each drawer slide that keeps it closed. Over time, the rubber cracks and the bushing falls out, so there's nothing keeping the drawer closed. This only occurs on side mounted slides, not bottom mounted ones. Usually the rubber bushings are riveted on. Unless you can figure out some way to get a new bushing in there, you have to replace the drawer slides. Consider it a normal wear item. The other option is to realign the drawer slide so it closes by itself (i.e., tilt the slides down slightly in back), which is probably almost as frustrating as having it open by itself

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It's opening either due to gravity, or something pushing on it. Either way, solve the problem by adjusting the tracks. Make the tracks themselves level or slightly past level. Don't use the level on the drawer top, but on the tracks themselves. You'll probably have to take the drawer out entirely to adjust the track screws inside the cabinet.

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The tracks were level. I think the second photo exaggerated the slant due to camera angle. I actually wound up loosening the screws a bit and it completely fixed the problem. When I tightened them again to test this, the problem started again.

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    So your tracks weren't actually level. They were vertically level but they were sloped in like this: / \ .. the tighter screw pulled back of the track outward which encourages the drawer out. Adjusting the screw gives you tracks more like | | – Matthew Dec 8 '14 at 21:53
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Just had this start happening to our most used 8 yr old drawers and found Geoff's answer most helpful. Found my rubber bushings and noticed this drawer had a looser feel just as it was fully closed so I suspected the bushing. It's intact and not dried out. I tried to see how it was attached and noticed it's not riveted - it slipped on like a collar, over a tab. So not only is it easily replaceable when needed, but I suspected the tab it slides over was bent back slightly from repeated drawer closing. I bent both tabs forward slightly (use your fingers, a pliers, or tap gently from the backside with a small hammer) and voila, problem solved. Thanks for getting me thinking, Geoff!!

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My drawer started drifting out after years working fine, and the tracks were still held firm and level, and all aspect of the drawer were identical to the one next to it (or so it seemed).

After reading this post I loosened the screws and it started drifting out slower, then I tried screwing in a plastic bit on the back that didn't have a screw, but was looser than the drawer next to it. That additional screw did the trick.

Screwing around works!

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  • Welcome to DIY.SE! Can you post a photo of the "plastic bit that didn't have a screw", so it's more clear what you did to fix your problem? – mmathis Oct 24 '16 at 22:04

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