How to Fix Drawer Slides with Ball Bearings: Repair Guide!

| Last Updated: April 14, 2021

How to Fix Drawer Slides with Ball BearingsThe easiest retrieval of drawer components can be achieved with a properly working ball bearing slide. This smooth and effortless opening, as well as closing gear, can perform very well when installed the right way. Especially within a few toolboxes and cabinet drawers, the ball bearing slides are hugely popular to use.

However, sometimes due to many circumstances the functioning of ball bearing starts to become irrelevant. It could be because of many reasons. And identifying those issues with knowing how to fix drawer slides with ball bearings are what we’ll be doing today.

How to Fix Drawer Slides:

Reasons, Lubricants, Lubrication Method, Other Solution & More…

Fixing the drawer slides with ball bearings is not limited to one solution. In most cases going with a little lubrication does the trick. While sometimes circumstances will lead you to think about the replacement of slides. We’ll talk about both but before that let’s know why this problem occurs in the first place.

Why Does It Happen?

The drawer slide getting stuck is usually due to high humidity. Usually, this problem comes during summertime. Due to humidity, the wooden drawer tends to swell. This makes friction to cause and also rubbing take place. And eventually, the drawer becomes hard to open.

When it’s during the fall or wintertime, humidity levels drop a lot lower. And that’s when swelling of drawer subside gradually. This makes the drawer to wobble a lot. Usually, it happens with drawers that are reduced by the thickness of swollen portions. Or sometimes this is due to the distortion of wood.

First step to this issue is discovering the problem. You need to remove it when the drawer seems to stick out or not sliding at all. Pulling it out of cabinet completely check the slides. You’ll be able to determine potential issues such as obvious obstruction or damages that end up swelling, wear, and warping.

Lubrication is The Primary Solution…

If error is still at its primary level, a little bit of lubrication should do the trick. Here we’ll discuss the right lubricant and entire method of lubricating slides with ball bearings.

Right Lubricant for The Job.

The first type of lubricant is made for wooden drawer slides. These are for cases where the friction comes from a wood-on-wood contact. You can find such problems in the old furniture and kitchen cabinet of your home. Here you can try using a number of different products as lubricants. The ideal ones are paste-wax, silicone tape, wax paper sheet, candle-wax, spray-dry lubricant and more.

On the other hand, if you own a plastic or metal drawer slide, then too, you can use solutions mentioned above. But for best results, try lubricants such as white lithium grease. Don’t use something harsh in this case. It can ruin the entire finish.

Lubricating Metal Slide Drawers.

Lubricating Metal Slide Drawers.

When it comes to know about how to fix metal drawer slides, you don’t need to worry about sanding. For such types of slides, you’ll need white lithium grease as the ideal choice and a damp fabric.

Start by removing the drawer and make sure you pull straight. To completely detach, you may need to lift it a bit. Make sure to empty it beforehand for easy removing.

Now with clean damp cloth, start wiping the area where you’ll be lubricating. Don’t forget to wipe both runners and dry them after. If you are using the spray lubricant, make sure to hold its nozzle closer to runners.  Use short bursts and spray it in increment manner. Make sure you are covering the entire area.

If the squeeze lubricant is what you are using then make sure to cover runner entirely. Once you are done with these, put the drawer back. Open and close it to check whether the whole area is covered well and working right. You should always wipe away excess lubricant by the end.

Lubricating Wooden Slide Drawers.

Here you will need spray-dry lubricant, wax or tape for greasing. Also, get fine-grit sandpaper for an optional step.

Slide the wooden drawer straight out and lift it upward to completely detach. If the wooden drawer is showing serious worn troubles or broken then you will need to replace them.

However, with slight roughness, you can fix this with the sandpaper. Sometimes debris or other elements get stuck in tracks. This obstructs that area and you only need to clean that space for fixing such problems.

Now for greasing, simply use spray-dry lubricant or wax to rub on the entire runner. A tape can also do a perfect job to fix the trouble. Once you are done lubricating, put drawer back to the runner. Open and close its multiple times to ensure that it is working properly.


Lubrication is just a repair or fixing step to try only when there is an issue of drawer sliders not working. It’s basically a part of maintenance and you should always follow the routine to keep operation smooth. The drawer lifespan can be extended with proper lubrication time to time. So, don’t just sleep over this essential part of drawer upkeeping.

Replacement is The Ultimate Solution…

Usually, when people ask me about how to fix center drawer slides, it leads to going for a replacement. Yes, in most cases you can’t fix the problem with slides and need to think about replacement.

Finding a right slide replacement is your first task here. And then you can contact a professional to help with the remaining change process. Here’s a quick sum of how the replacement basically works.

Removing Drawer to Eliminate Broken or Damaged Slides.

Get rid of every screw from the drawer and detach it from cabinet. Now you need the similar design slides matching opening and size with screw positions right as well. Handheld power tools help a lot to remove this hardware pretty easily. While reattaching screws, you should set tension on low. This will avoid any drawer splinters.

Attaching New Slides That Match.

Now bringing your drawer slides out from package. Read the labels clearly to start attaching it with existing drawer. You should sort out the right and left hardware following labels and guides. There should be screws coming along that will help you attach tracks and slides to the cabinet and drawer. There should be adjustment screws at every end. Don’t overtighten these parts.

Finishing Installation to Test & Adjust.

Once you finish attaching, slide the drawer back to cabinet. Now pull it in and out to pay closer attention. It should move straight and there can’t be any rubbing or sticking out involved.

If there are any of these incidents happening, you need to loosen adjustment screws. The alteration in oval shaped holes while tapping it in direction should fix such problems. Make sure to keep testing and adjusting until the drawer slides smoothly. Finally, tighten the adjustment screws without overdoing it.

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And that was everything about how to fix drawer slides with ball bearings. You can try lubrication method if the problems are still not badly serious and fix it nicely. While for severe broken and damaged parts go for replacement of slides.

Usually, your maintenance routine should always include the lubrication step. In many cases, you find out that slides with ball bearings are not working after entirely damaging it. And so, proper lubrication and greasing are very important to keep slides in a better condition for a long time.

2 thoughts on “How to Fix Drawer Slides with Ball Bearings: Repair Guide!”

  1. Ball bearings sure have their way of fixing so many things. I am glad I read this article and found out about repairing the drawer slides with ball bearings. Damn, these bearings are a really useful tool that come in handy every now and then!

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