Sliding Door Keeps Coming Off Track – What To Do?

Sliding doors that come off their tracks can promote different problems, including enhanced security risks and opening your home to pests. So what can you do to keep your sliding door from detaching from its track? We asked the experts and here’s what they have to impart.

A sliding door that comes off its track is the result of certain issues. Each of these issues has its counterpart solution that may sound simple to a handyman or handywoman out there.

  • Dirty track - Remove the sliding door and clean its track to solve the issue.
  • Damaged or broken rollers - Replace the damaged rollers according to your type of sliding door.
  • Faulty adjustment screws - Replace faulty adjustment screws on the sliding door rollers.

If you're not a jack of all trades, keep reading to learn how to troubleshoot your sliding door and pinpoint the main reason why it’s detaching from its track. Also, we’ll tackle the steps needed to keep the door on its track depending on the problem’s source.

An up close photo of a sliding doors mechanism, Sliding Door Keeps Coming Off Track - What To Do?

Why Does My Sliding Screen Door Keep Coming Off Track?

A sliding screen door can be susceptible to certain issues that may eventually lead to it coming off its track. Just like other sliding doors, the following are some relatively common issues that can lead to a sliding screen door detaching from its track:

Sliding door installers installing the mechanism for the slider

Dirty Track

Sliding screen doors located outside can have tracks that catch dirt, dust, and debris. Forcing the door to slide over these unclean surfaces can make the door jump or detach from its track. A good cleaning should solve this specific issue.

Damaged or Broken Rollers

If the track is clean and the sliding door seems to hop or skip every time you operate it, the rollers might be the main reason why it’s coming off track. You may need to crawl or kneel to check for bumps, cracks, or dents in the sliding door rollers.

If the rollers are the cause of the problem, replacing the parts can be the ideal solution.

Faulty Adjustment Screws

If the track is spotless and the rollers don’t have visible issues, the reason why your sliding door keeps coming off track could be its adjustment screws. As their name implies, adjustment screws will regulate the roller height.

Misaligned screws can lead to the sliding door detaching from its track, particularly when you apply more force to open or close the entryway than necessary.

How Do You Fix A Sliding Door That Keeps Coming Off The Track?

A man checking the mechanism of the sliding door

Now that you have grappled with each sliding door track issue, it's time to delve into the appropriate troubleshooting aspect. To fix a sliding door that keeps coming off its track, you need to follow any of these methods:

Remove The Sliding Door From Its Track

Taking the sliding door away from its track can make the repair project easier to deal with than before. Here are the steps to follow to remove a sliding door:

  1. Remove the threshold with a flat-head screwdriver.
  2. Use the same screwdriver to unscrew the top, middle, and bottom supports or brackets.
  3. Loosen the adjustment screws with a Phillips screwdriver.
  4. Pull up the rollers.
  5. Lift and slide the sliding door out of its frame and set it aside.

Check out the STREBITO screwdriver set on Amazon.

Clean the Sliding Door Track

After removing the sliding door, you may notice that the track accumulated filthy substances over time. These items may include (but aren’t limited to) stones, leaves, twigs, and animal droppings. Once you assess the situation, here are the steps to eliminate these objects from the sliding door track:

  1. Use a vacuum cleaner with a reasonably small attachment to remove debris with ease.
  2. Create a cleaning solution of denatured alcohol or dish soap with warm water.
  3. Use a brush with the cleaning mixture to remove leftover dirt and dust.
  4. Wipe the track with a clean cloth or paper towel.
  5. Remove any leftover dirt and debris with a dry towel.

If your track has a metal construction, particularly one that isn’t rust-resistant, you may need to use a rust remover along with the other steps mentioned above.

Check out the Bekamary sliding door and window cleaning kit on Amazon.

Replace Damaged Rollers

Rollers are reasonably inexpensive. Therefore, spending a significant amount of time and effort in repairing the parts might not be the best way to keep a sliding door on its track. Take note that the steps for the removal of the rollers can depend on the type of sliding door you own.

Here are the steps to remove and replace the rollers to ensure that the sliding door won’t come off its track again:

  1. If your sliding door has an aluminum frame, remove the adjustment screws attached to the frame from the roller. In some cases, you may have to tap the frame to loosen the roller using a mallet and a wooden block.
  2. If your sliding door has a vinyl frame, take out the screws that are generally at the outside corner of the structure’s bottom to release the rollers.
  3. Take your old rollers to a local hardware store and purchase the same model to avoid compatibility issues.
  4. If the hardware doesn’t have the same rollers in stock, search for the same model number online and buy from a trustworthy seller.

Check out the Johnson hardware sliding door roller on Amazon.

Replace Faulty Adjustment Screws

If the adjustment screws on the sliding door rollers are the reason why the entryway detaches from its track, consider replacing these parts rather than the rollers. Follow the steps used to replace the rollers mentioned in the previous section, but swap the adjustment screws instead.

Once you have your replacement screws, check out the following video to adjust your sliding door rollers properly and keep the entryway on its track:

How Do You Fix A Sliding Patio Door Track?

A damaged or broken sliding patio door track inhibits the entryway from opening and closing properly. In some cases, a malfunctioning or disfigured track can lead to the door sliding off its rails. Assess the severity of the problem before proceeding with the repairs.

If you only see slight dents, you may only need to use a hammer, a screwdriver, and a level for this relatively small DIY project. Here are the steps to proceed:

  1. Remove the sliding patio door from its track.
  2. Use the level to check if the track is still lying flat on its surface.
  3. Tighten the screws if the track isn’t flat on the flooring.
  4. If you see dents, tap those dimples gently to try and reposition them.
  5. Reinstall the door onto the track and test it out.

After reinstalling the sliding patio door, apply a reasonable amount of lubricant to the track. Also, make sure that the track is devoid of dirt and debris to ensure it slides properly. If these steps don’t work and the sliding patio door track is still giving you problems, you may need to replace the part.

Check out the UniSport lubricant on Amazon.

A faulty track can also prevent a sliding pocket door from locking, thus increasing security risks. For more insight on sliding door security, read through our post: Can You Lock A Pocket Door?

How Much Should A Sliding Door Overlap?

A luxurious interior of a modern living room with huge sliding doors

The measurement requirement for a sliding door to overlap can depend on certain factors. These include the number of doors for the installation and the opening width. Generally, each panel should have a 13-millimeter (1/2-inch) overlap.

In most cases, an extra overlap shouldn’t cause serious issues. However, it’s still best to stick with the required door overlap to avoid the risks of encountering problems during and after the installation.

The size of the sliding door may also play a role in providing the required measurements for the overlap. If you want to know more about sliding doors sizes, check out our previous post: How Big Are Sliding Doors?

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Sliding Glass Door Track?

Replacing a sliding door track generally costs around $10 per piece. But the expenses may increase depending on the needs of the repair project. For instance, purchasing a barn sliding door track kit can range from $170 to $300.

Custom barn sliding door kits are more expensive as they do have fees around the $600 mark.

Check out the Outwater plastics sliding door track set on Amazon.

Final Words

A sliding door can come off its track for different reasons. These issues include dirty tracks, damaged rollers, or malfunctioning adjustment screws. Using the correct solution will prevent the door from detaching from its tracks.

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