How to clean sliding patio door wheels?

by Carol
My glass sliding patio door is difficult to use, and I can hear a squeak which seems to be coming from a wheel. We do not see a way to access the wheels unless we take the entire (heavy!) door out of the track. I'm hoping there is a trick for this!
  15 answers
  • E. Kuespert E. Kuespert on Feb 04, 2016
    If the door doesn't move smoothly on the track, it probably needs to be replaced. And yes, to do that you will have to lift the door up out of the track. Replacement rollers are available at the hardware store where you can also get instructions on how to replace. It's not as hard as it sounds!
  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Feb 04, 2016
    There is a fabulous product called Aluminum Lubricant I found at Ace Hardware that works wonders. Easy to use. Follow manufacturer instructions and you'll be very happy with end result. I have used this for sliding doors, windows and hinges and have been very pleased with how it works. Can't say enough about this product!
  • Jo earp Jo earp on Feb 04, 2016
    Have you tried WD40? That might work... I used it on mine and it took care of the problem... I vacumed the track first while the door was open.. then I sprayed the WD40 along the whole track... Hope it helps!
  • Eloise Eloise on Feb 04, 2016
    Graphite may be a better option than WD40, which collects dust. Graphite is availabe at Home Depot, Lowe's, and Ace Hardware.
  • B. Enne B. Enne on Feb 04, 2016
    Here are a couple of videos.
  • Linda Y Linda Y on Feb 04, 2016
    Brush out the track with a stiff brush then put blobs of petroleum jelly onto the wheels and open and shut a couple of times. Works wonders!
  • Kay Kay on Feb 04, 2016
    Clean the track with hot sudsy water and a tooth brush. Wipe it out and let dry overnight. This will ensure a clean smooth track for the wheel to run on. Spray the wheel with graphite. Slide it back and forth and spray it a couple of times to make sure it is coated really well. The squeak should stop. Keeping the track clean and the wheel sprayed ever so often will ensure it will operate for years to come without a problem.
  • Debbie Debbie on Feb 04, 2016
    It may be that your door needs a new inner "wheel" that runs in the track along with the cleaning. My husband found that our door had this problem and got one of the wheels at our local Lowes. He cleaned the track and installed the wheel. No more squealing or hard work to open and close the 30 year old door!
  • Stacey Mitchell Stacey Mitchell on Feb 05, 2016
    I just did this after my hubby tried and failed (at least he tried)! He thought the wheels needed replaced. I used rubbing alcohol to thoroughly clean the tracks, then I used WD-40 with the red straw like precision applicator and put the WD-40 just in the wheels. Several people have slammed the door, thinking it would still be difficult. Don't put WD-40 on the track as it will collect dust (or in my case Akita fur). Graphite may work as well, I have never tried it. If it doesn't move, I use WD-40. I also repaired my front door handle last year, my hubby was at the store with a $200 replacement in his cart, I removed the screws, sprayed it down and saved $200.
    • Carol Carol on Feb 05, 2016
      @Stacey Mitchell Thanks Stacey! I will be trying the rubbing alcohol first. Alcohol is my 'go to' for carpet spots, it works wonders!
  • Carol Carol on Feb 05, 2016
    Haven't done it yet, but will be cleaning as well as we can and then using graphite. We have been cleaning the track often, but didn't have to do to this so often in the past, that's why I think a tiny piece of gravel is somehow stuck to the wheel.
  • Amy Amy on Feb 07, 2016
    Get some paraffin (wax) at your local grocery and rub it along the tracks. This will " grease" the door for a long time.
  • John Grimley John Grimley on Mar 18, 2016
    These wheels often come as 2 sets (like inline skates) and are adjustable for height. down the edge of the sliding door you should have a trim. Remove this to reveal a hole near the bottom. Inside the hole you should see a slot where you can insert a flathead screwdriver... You will see the door raise up or fall depending which way you turn. Careful, with the door at its lowest point it should fall out of the frame - a good time to clean out all the detritus that tends to accumulate in there as well as greasing the wheels etc. To replace the door, simply sit it on the track and adjust each set of wheels. Ideally, the wheels should be adjusted so the top of the door is 'just' clearing the frame otherwise the neighbourhood villain will be able to lift the door off the track & access your house!
  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Mar 18, 2016
    I worked at Ace Hardware and discovered a great product called Aluminum Lubricant (spray) and it worked wonders! For real. I used this to clean my Mom's glass sliding doors, and all my aluminum windows. Just spray it on the track, clean with old rags, and everything will work like new....easy peasy. Seriously, this product works! Best of luck.
  • John Grimley John Grimley on Mar 20, 2016
    The only lubricant you should use on aluminium is paraffin (as Amy said ^^^). No idea why it works like it does but an old firefighter told me about it. Of course, it's easy to apply in the form of an old candle, simply rub the candle on the track & around the wheels - sometimes, the wheels are simple aluminium wheels with an aluminium rivet!
  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Mar 21, 2016
    An old bar of soap will work just as well. Works on light bulbs too.