How to thread a two way curtain traverse rod

Updated June 13, 2017

Traverse rods are curtain rods with a pulley system and sliders that move across the length of the rod. This system makes it easy to open and close heavy drapery. The rods can also be helpful in extending the life of your curtains because the fabric is not being tugged on every day. The draw cord in the rods can wear and become damaged. A frayed draw cord will cause the sliders to become stuck and not open or close the curtains efficiently. When this happens it is time to thread a new cord into the rod.

Remove the drapery panels from the traverse rod sliders. Remove the traverse rod from the brackets and lay it on a working surface such as a table.

Cut a piece of new cord a little longer than the one you just removed. Insert the end of the new cord through the right hole in the upper carriage and tie a knot. Carry the other end of the cord to the right end of the traverse rod. Run the cord over and around the top pulley; then thread the cord between the top and bottom pulleys.

Insert the cord through the right side of the lower carriage and out the left side. Continue pulling the cord to the left. Insert the cord between the two left pulleys and pull it taut. Pull the cord over the top pulley. The excess cord will create a loop that hangs down. Put the end through the left hole in the upper carriage and tie a knot to secure it in place.

Slide the loops over the top of the tension pulley and pull the cord until the top carriage is all the way to the right. Hold both sides of the cord taut. Move the lower carriage all the way to the left. Lock the cord on the locking finger in the back of the lower carriage.

Remove the slack in the cord by going to the rear of the upper carriage and pull the knotted cord as tight as you can. Make sure the tension pulley moves up as far as it can.

Tie a knot close to the upper carriage. Release the cord to allow the tension pulley to become slack and be about 3/4 of the way up.

Test the cords to make sure the carriages are moving freely and the sliders are working. If not, the cord may have become twisted or knotted somewhere. Once the traverse rod is functioning properly, cut the cords to length with a pair of scissors and tie them in a knot. Place the rod back in the wall brackets.


Keep the cord straight as you thread the rod. Twisted cord can cause the traverse to malfunction.


Do not cut your thread until you have confirmed the traverse works properly.

Things You'll Need

  • Traverse rod
  • Scissors
  • Draw cord
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About the Author

Jennifer Terry is program director for TriCounty Agency for Intellectual Disabilities. As a University of Alabama graduate, she holds a Masters in rehabilitation counseling and a Bachelor in psychology with an emphasis in child development. She also earned an Associate in business management and second Associate in computer information systems from Bevill State Community College. She holds a grant writing certificate from North Georgia College and State University.