How to Adjust a Sliding Patio Door

Updated May 18, 2018

Sliding patio doors provide an unobstructed view to your backyard without losing warm or cool air from a home. New patio door installations require adjustments to enable the door to glide smoothly in its track. Older models require routine adjustments, cleaning and lubrication for ease of operation. The most common adjustments are for a door sticking as it slides, hard to slide doors and lock and latch adjustments so the door can lock fully in place.

Remove the plastic cap on the bottom of the sliding patio door by prying it off with a small flat screwdriver. Insert a Phillips screwdriver into the hole and turn the adjustment screw. Turn counterclockwise to lower the track wheel onto the bottom track. Turn clockwise to raise the track wheel from the bottom track. Replace the protective cap.

Remove older outside doors to clean them for better operation. Open the outside door partially and put one hand on the left centre of the door and the other on the right centre of the door. Lift straight up so the top of the door slides into the top channel and tilt the bottom out so that the door lifts out of the bottom track.

Set the door on a solid flat surface. Lubricate the bottom track wheel with a spray lubricant. Observe the bottom track of the patio door and clean any leaves, pine needles and debris out of the track by scraping with a large flat screwdriver. Spread a thick layer of paste car wax on the bottom track. Replace the door by putting the top into the top channel and sliding the bottom forward onto the bottom track.

Unscrew the four Phillips screws with a Phillips screwdriver to adjust the lock strike plate located on the doorjamb. The plate slides up and down in a channel.

Slide it either way to line up with the lock assembly on the door so that it will catch and the lock knob will turn easily to lock the door. Tighten the screws in the lock strike plate after making adjustments.

Adjust the lock assembly in the door with a small flat screwdriver. Turn the adjustment screw clockwise for the door to rest closer to the doorjamb and fit in the lock strike plate. Turn the screw counterclockwise to adjust the lock assembly farther from the doorjamb.


Some sliding doors may only require the adjustment of the track wheel to work correctly. If this does not help to improve a sticking door, use the two additional steps to help solve the problem.


Do not over-tighten the lock adjustment screw. There should be a 1/8-inch to 1/16-inch crack between the door and the doorjamb when the door is closed and locked. Over-tightening the lock adjustment can result in breaking the locking mechanism.

Things You'll Need

  • Small flat screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Spray lubricant
  • Large flat screwdriver
  • Paste car wax
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About the Author

Mary Lougee has been writing for over 10 years. She holds a Bachelor's Degree with a major in Management and a double minor in accounting and computer science. She loves writing about careers for busy families as well as family oriented planning, meals and activities for all ages.