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Sliding Glass Doors: 5 Easy Tips to a Smoother Glide in Under 10 Minutes

Sliding Glass Doors: 5 Easy Tips to a Smoother Glide in Under 10 Minutes post image

Does your sliding glass door open slowly? Mine was tough to move and our young daughters could barely budge it.

I decided enough was enough and I had to figure out this problem.

So today I’m going to share 5 simple tips that will help you get your sticking sliding glass door running smoothly again.

Before we start here’s a list of supplies you’ll need:

  • Toothbrush or Wire Brush
  • Vacuum
  • WD-40 or Silicone Based Lubricant
  • Steak Knife (this is actually an awesome tool)
  • Screwdrivers (Phillips & Flat)

As you can see this type of quick fix is inexpensive, won’t take long, and will help keep your sliding glass door, well, SLIDING ;)

Step 1: Clean the Sliding Glass Door Track

Standard sliding glass doors all have tracks. The track acts as a guide for the door and also allows roller wheels to help the door run smoothly.


Standard sliding glass doors have tracks


Over time the sliding glass door track accumulates dirt and grime. This slows down your door considerably.

Use a toothbrush or wire brush to clean the inside of the sliding glass door track. I tried using a toothbrush at first but then switched over to the wire brush I use for cleaning my golf clubs. If you know someone who golfs you could borrow this kind of wire brush from them.


Use a toothbrush or wire brush to clean the sliding glass door track


Once all the dirt is cleared from the track use a vacuum to suck it up.


Vacuum all the dirt and grime removed from the sliding glass door track


Step 2: Lubricate the Sliding Glass Door Track

Use WD-40 or a silicone based lubricant  and spray the entire track.


Lubricate the entire sliding glass door track

As some fans of Home Repair Tutor know, I love using Blaster’s Garage Door spray lubricant because it’s silicone based and doesn’t attract dirt buildup. It costs about $5 and can be found at any Home Depot or Lowes here in the states.

Make sure to wipe up any overspray that lands on the floor. It will create quite a slippery surface :)


Step 3: How to Adjust Sliding Glass Door Rollers for a Smoother Ride

Inside a standard sliding glass door there are adjustable rollers that help it slide back and forth on the track. There are holes on your sliding glass door that conceal the adjusting screws to these rollers.

On my door the holes had plastic plugs in them. I used a steak knife to pry the plugs loose. There are two sets of rollers on each side of the sliding glass door.


Remove the plugs that cover up the sliding glass door roller adjusting screws


I used a phillips head screwdriver to turn the roller adjusting screw. This adjustment screw will move the roller height up or down and thus, your sliding glass door height will go up or down by as much as 1/4 inch or 1/2 cm. Tinker around with the roller screws to see if the door glides better when it’s at a lower or higher height.


Turn the sliding glass door roller adjusting screws to make the door higher or lower


At this point it may not be a bad idea to spray some lubricant into the adjustment screw opening. This will help the sliding glass door rollers operate a bit better.

So that’s how you perform a quick tune up on your sliding glass door. And, now you know how to adjust your sliding glass door rollers, too. Sweet!

I hoped this quick tutorial was helpful. If you have any questions please ask away in the comment section below, I’d love to help. Do you have additional tips? Add those to the comment section as well-I love learning knew things!!

Follow me on Facebook by clicking this link. I post about home repairs and renovations (and goofy random entertaining stuff).

Make it a great day.


Jeff Patterson


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43 comments… add one

  • SheilaG September 15, 2012, 10:07 AM

    I never knew about those adjustment screws. Hmm, probably could have saved ourselves some headaches when we had sliding doors. Pinning this for possible future doors! :)

    • Jeff September 15, 2012, 1:27 PM

      Thanks Sheila for the Pin. Those adjusting screws are really great to know about. I hope you’re having a great weekend :)

  • Leida September 16, 2012, 11:34 AM

    WOW!!! GREAT info. I also never knew about that hidden screw. Will definitely try this on my sliding door as it is a little hard to open/close. Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Jeff September 18, 2012, 5:38 AM

      You’re welcome Leida. Let me know if you have any questions when you tackle your sliding door :)

  • Doralee September 17, 2012, 11:00 PM

    We just installed two new sets of sliding glass doors and will now need to maintain them. Good info to know!

    • Jeff September 18, 2012, 5:39 AM

      So glad I could help Doralee.

  • The Girl @ POS September 20, 2012, 4:56 PM

    We were just talking the other day about how incredibly difficult our “sliding” doors are to open. I read one tutorial that required taking the doors completely off (to clean tracks and check for broken rollers), which is scary, since I am so accident prone and glass is …. well, it is glass. Thanks so much for this post – I will try all of these fixes first, they just might do the trick!! (and I have used steak knives and butter knives as “tools” for years! ha!)

    • Jeff September 21, 2012, 5:52 AM

      LOL, I feel your fear of breaking glass. I hope you can get your door moving better without having to take it off the track. But if you do I’m sure you’ll be able to fix the roller is no time. You’re right about kitchen knives, they’re kind of like the MacGyver tool in the kitchen.

  • Jacky L January 29, 2013, 12:38 PM

    First, thanks for the information.
    Hi, I just want to know where I can buy the sliding door tracks? If you know a specific place.
    My sliding doors are very old and heavy and cost a fortune to replace them. I always do the cleaning and really work hard to keep them clean.

    • Jeff Patterson January 30, 2013, 8:09 PM

      Great question Jacky.

      Are the tracks in your door removable?

      If so, try to determine the brand of the door. Once you determine this do a search on Google for the parts. You could also give a shot.

      If all this fails you should take a picture of the door & tracks and take it to Lowe’s, Home Depot or another hardware store to see if they can help you.

      I wish I had better advice :(

  • josh September 12, 2013, 10:53 PM

    my adjuster bolt was rusted and it broke off when i was twisting it, cant get it out now. the door is very hard to move now.

    • Jeff Patterson September 14, 2013, 7:42 AM

      Hi Josh,

      That stinks!! I’m sorry to hear this happened. Is there any way that you can take the door off the track and access the bolt from the bottom? That way you might be able to remove the bolt with a wrench or pliers and replace it.


  • Nana Kat November 13, 2013, 4:40 PM

    wow this so good thanks so much for sharing

  • Julie November 13, 2013, 5:05 PM

    I have to disagree with the WD-40, maybe it’s just me, but it seems like it runs everywhere, (usually black ugly liquid) I have started to use votive candles.(just cheap ones)…just rub on the tracks, granted they crack, but easily swept up or blown outside…

    • Jeff Patterson November 13, 2013, 6:40 PM

      Interesting Julie, if the candles work then go for it. I’m all for whatever does the job ;)

    • Dave September 25, 2014, 8:42 AM

      I use a piece of paraffin or a candle to wax the track too, and it slides easily for a while after that.

      • Jeff Patterson September 29, 2014, 5:47 AM

        Great suggestion Dave. That’s a lot cleaner than spraying lubricant on the track!!

  • Karen January 30, 2014, 9:05 PM

    Door was not sliding well and I tried the screws on bottom of door. Don’t know what happened but door won’t slide at all now.

    • Jeff Patterson February 1, 2014, 6:23 AM

      You may have lowered the door too much Karen. I did this as well while trying to figure out the right height of the wheels.

      Try turning the screws the opposite direction, this will raise the door off the track. Also, there could have been debris on the track and now it may be lodged in the wheels. If this is the case you may need to take the door off the track if you can.

      But start with turning the screws the other direction.

  • Kelly January 31, 2014, 8:45 PM

    Great tutorial, but since I am not very fix it savvy, I have to ask, should be be tightening the screws? Or loosening them? Or, trial and error….??
    Thanks! :-)

    • Jeff Patterson February 1, 2014, 6:20 AM

      Good question Kelly, if you’re referring to the screws that control the wheels on the bottom of the door you should try trial by error. It won’t hurt anything and will only raise or lower the door.

      But let me know if you get stuck and we’ll figure it out together :)

  • Barbara June 24, 2014, 7:56 PM

    Jeff – I just fixed my sticky sliding door by following these tips. Thanks, I really thought the door was a goner.


    • Jeff Patterson June 25, 2014, 5:35 AM

      That’s awesome Barbara, thanks for you kind words. Keep up the great DIY work :)

  • William July 12, 2014, 4:52 PM

    Some good info, but still didnt help I’m afraid. Now door will open partially, and then hang up to the point I’m afraid it wants to come off the rail. I can’t tell which way lowers or raises it, and how to match one side up withmthemother. Also, should there be rollers on top, as I don’t see or feel any on my door?

    • Jeff Patterson July 13, 2014, 6:59 AM

      It’s very hard to see the rollers and feel them William. You’ll have to tinker with the adjustments to see what works well. It doesn’t take much to raise or lower the wheels. Maybe a quarter turn with the screwdriver.

      I’d recommend doing the exact same thing to each wheel so that your get equal changes on both sides of the door. For example, 1/4 on the right side and 1/4 on the left side. Let me know if you’ve got more questions.

  • Jenny Lee September 19, 2014, 8:18 PM


    Thank you so much for your instructions! It was a life saver!

    I’ve been begging my husband for months to fix the sliding glass door! With your help I was able to fix it myself & it slides like a charm!!

    • Jeff Patterson September 21, 2014, 10:36 AM

      Great job Jenny Lee. Glad to here you took matters into your own hands :D

  • Marcie September 27, 2014, 9:12 PM

    Thank you! It worked!

  • Serena September 29, 2014, 4:56 AM

    Thank you so much :) Is it safe to try to adjust the screws to make the rollers higher? I have very old glass sliding doors. Kind of worried that I might break the old rollers or the rollers will get stuck. Will appreciate any other tips you might give :)

    • Jeff Patterson September 29, 2014, 5:31 AM

      It’s safe Serena, slowly turn the screws and see how the door responds. If you door is super old I bet a spray of WD-40 on the wheels would help, too.

  • Bonnie October 6, 2014, 12:43 PM

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. My sliding glass doors were so hard to open I was getting ready to replace them. This worked perfectly in a very short amount of time. I will go to your website first from now on!

    • Jeff Patterson October 14, 2014, 6:00 PM

      Aww, thanks so much Bonnie.

      Glad to hear this tutorial helped you :D

  • Nancy November 23, 2014, 12:30 AM

    Can I use the garage door lubricant on the rollers on the top of the door? There seems to be felt weatherstripping up there and I don’t want to interfere with that?
    Thanks for this great “how-to”!

    • Jeff Patterson December 1, 2014, 5:54 PM

      Hmmm, I’m not envisioning your setup Nancy. If you think it will help then try it with the least effective dose that you think will work.

  • Debra Uhouse December 21, 2014, 10:18 AM

    Since my husband passed away I find myself having to do things around the house that I’ve never done before. I followed your directions and now my patio door is working great! Thank you!!!

  • Teresa Clark December 27, 2014, 1:50 PM

    Okay..I knew about the screws and have used them with success. We have an automatic door opener that slides the door back and forth for my dogs. Over the years, dirt, dog hair, grease and WD40 buildup have gotten up into the rollers and mucked them up. BAD. I have the slider door out. I have the roller set out. I’m in the process of cleaning out the rollers of 15 years of GUNK. They were so bad that I began spraying a silicone based lubricant in the adjustment screw holes and it worked for a while. My automatic door opener finally stopped working and I thot it was the door opener. Now I know it was the rollers on the door. My question is do I spray a lubricant, or not, on the newly cleaned rollers because it appears like the lubricant might have been the magnet to all the gunk. Thanks.

  • Karen January 8, 2015, 6:30 PM

    All good info that I’m sure will come in handy! However, my ‘big’ question is, is there any way at all to keep the track cleaner longer? We pass by ours several times a day, and it’s always filthy no matter what I do or how often I do it! It even looks horrible right after I clean it. I’m so embarrassed by it — wish there was some other option. Can they be covered? Or perhaps ours needs replaced? (It’s 14 yrs old.) It always looks so bad, I’m thinking of replacing it with a standard door because I can’t find a good solution and am tired of looking at it! Ideas or suggestions are much appreciated! Thanks!

  • Gary January 18, 2015, 6:19 PM

    Our sliding doors do have those screws at the bottom and top edge, but they are on the side of the door (compared to concealed inside a hole as you have shown in your photos ).
    I unscrewed all these 4 screws and then on pulling on the door , the frames came off the glass , now we have a frame-less door which still doesn’t move easily.
    I tried to get the door out by pushing it up and trying to tilt it, the bottom part is still stuck .

    Any help appreciated..

    Thanks and Regards

  • Armando Rubio February 8, 2015, 2:51 PM

    Youre a beast from the east my friend. Very efficient and concrete information. Time to tackle this damn door down! =D

    • Jeff Patterson February 10, 2015, 8:05 PM

      LOL, glad you liked the post Armando.

      Hope your project goes well.

      Sometimes doors are a big pain in the you know what!!

  • tim March 21, 2015, 1:18 AM

    I used pam on the track and it works wonders

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