How to Change the Rollers on Aluminum Sliding Glass Doors
*Note: This is a general article that can be used to replace the rollers in most aluminum sliding glass doors without having to remove the sliding panel from the door frame. Depending on door and roller, process may differ slightly.
*Note 2:Most aluminum sliding glass doors use single-assembly rollers. Most are steel, although some use nylon. The best way to figure out which rollers you need is to use steps 1-6 to remove your rollers and buy replacements that match.
Summary of Steps
Unscrew and remove both aluminum stiles of moving panel.
One person lift up door while other slides bottom rail over so roller screw can be accessed.
Unscrew and remove roller.
Repeat to other side, again picking up glass and sliding bottom rail over so roller screw can be accessed.
Put door back together.
Adjust rollers so door sits squarely in frame.
To access and remove rollers on sliding panel, unscrew stiles (side components of aluminum frame).
Once unscrewed at top and bottom, gently knock a block of wood against the frame with a hammer as shown in the picture below. Do this at top and bottom until stile comes off--should be left with glass edge in rubber boot. *Note: if rubber boot comes off, it easily slides back on. In the project depictured in the photographs, the boot came off; we left it off and put it back in place before we re-installed the stiles.
Repeat on other side. Only rails (top and bottom components of aluminum panel frame) should remain on sliding panel.
Place wood block (block must be 3/4" wide or smaller so as not to hit glass) against bottom rail and gently knock with a hammer to nudge it along the track, independent of glass. Goal is to expse screw hole on top of bottom rail so roller can be removed. Rail should only need to be moved a few inches. *Note: When moving bottom rail, have partner gently lift panel (easy to do with large suction cup) to take weight off rail. Another picture of this process is shown after step 9.
Using screwdriver, remove screw in top of rail holding roller in place.
Using a hook tool (we used a balance hook), a bent hanger, or needle-nosed pliers, grip underside of roller housing or roller adjustment screw through side of door and pull out.
Before installing new rollers, adjust them to lowest possible position (so panel is low in door, not raised up). Rollers adjust via adjustment screw on side of roller body.
Install new roller by inserting it into side of bottom rail, wheel-down, and sliding it into panel until screw hole in roller is lined up with screw hole in panel. Screw in place through top of bottom rail.
Lifting panel again, slide bottom rail back in opposite direction and follow steps 6-8 on other side.
Lift glass panel again and slide bottom rail back into original position, centered on glass panel.
Gently replace stiles, one side at a time. Use handle of hammer or hammer a block of wood (working up and down entire side of panel) to fit stiles back in place correctly. Do not use head of hammer directly on aluminum to fit back in place.Direct contact of hammer head on aluminum frame will dent frame.
Re-install screws at top and bottom of each stile.
Adjust rollers for corrct height. Use a pry bar to lift panel, insert screwdriver in adjustment hole and turn screw to raise and lower panel within door frame. Adjust both sides equally.
Check operation of door, making sure lock functions correctly (lock on sliding panel lines up with strike on frame). Adjust until door is in correct position.
Click below to download your own printable guide from All About Doors & Windows to help you replace rollers in your aluminum sliding glass doors.