Modern desk drawers utilize either ball bearings or nylon rollers to move smoothly along metal runners. Over time, the runners wear out, causing the drawer to scrape, turn sideways, bind, get stuck or fall completely out of the desk. All you need to fix desk drawers are new runners and a screwdriver. There are two sets of runners: one on the desk -- which contains no rollers or bearings -- and the other on the drawer. Typically, all you need to do is replace the runners on the drawer and leave the desk runners in place.
Remove the drawers from the desk. Turn them on their sides. Using a small Phillips screwdriver, remove the screws that hold the runners to the drawer on both sides and remove the runners.
Sand off any dried adhesive after removing the runners, if necessary. Some manufacturers apply adhesive to help stabilize the runners and extend the life. Use an oscillating tool fitted with a hook and loop pad accessory and medium-grit sandpaper or sand it by hand.
Purchase runners of the same type and length, using one of the old runners for comparison.
Stand each drawer on its side. Place the new runner where the old one came off. The runners are marked either "L" or "R" for left and right. But don't worry -- they won't fit unless they are on the correct side.
Screw the runners back onto the sides of the drawers using the new screws that come with the packaged runners.
Insert the drawers into the desk. If the drawers will not close tight, remove them. There are two holes in the runners that are oval shaped. Loosen these screws. Move the runner up or down and tighten the screws again.
Insert the drawers again. If they don't fit tight, adjust the screws the opposite way and test again until the drawers fit.
Tips & Warnings
- Place a small amount of powdered graphite on drawer runners for smooth operation.
- Check the desk runners that are still in place. If any of them are loose, tighten them before installing the drawers.
- Always wear safety glasses when operating power tools.
Things You'll Need:
- Phillips screwdriver
- Oscillating sanding tool
- Hook and loop pad accessory
- Medium-grit sandpaper
- Replacement runners
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