Can I Fix Metal Drawer Runners?


While some drawers still slide in and out on a wooden rail, most now use a metal runner that screws into the side of the desk, dresser or cabinet. This metal runner provides drawers that slide in and out with more fluidity. Still, the addition of moving parts increases the opportunity for malfunction in a drawer. The possibility of repair to metal drawer runners depends on the amount of damage.

Off the Glide

  • Many types of metal drawer glides feature guards at the end of the metal glide. These guards prevent the drawer from sliding all the way off and falling onto the floor when it is pulled. Unfortunately, this very protection works against you when you are trying to reinstall the drawer onto the runner. Inspect the drawer runner for a bumper or an incline that is keeping the drawer from pushing in. Next try and angle the drawer to fit over this imposition and slowly slide the drawer both in and down at the same time. This will often get the drawer past the imposition and back on its runners.

Sticking Drawers

  • A problem for many homeowners, sticking drawers are drawers that only pull out part of their normal distance or, once open, will not slide closed easily. Several factors play a part in a sticking drawer from loose runner screws to drawer wheels that are not correctly seated in the runner track. If a loose screw is the culprit, remove the drawer and tighten the screw with a screwdriver, then replace the drawer on the runner. If a drawer seems incorrectly positioned on the runner, slide a small putty knife in between the drawer and the runner and tap the handle gently with a hammer. This will often pop the drawer back into place.

Bent Runner

  • Although some bends are too serious for repair, slightly bent runners are sometimes repairable. Whether bent from an impact during moving or bent by a drawer that was kicked or pushed, try repairing a runner by tapping the bend back into shape with a hammer or bending it back with a pair of pliers. Severely bent runners require replacement.

Broken Runner

  • As resilient as drawer runners are, some damage is just too extensive. Runners with broken parts will never work properly again and require replacement. Replace a broken runner quickly, since the break can often damage the drawer as well as inconvenience the user.


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