The drawer underneath the oven has debatable purposes. Officially, it’s a “warmer drawer” where you put pans of food to defrost or stay warm from the heat of the oven. But most people use it for large pan storage. It is, actually, the most convenient place to put large oven-sized pans. And we both know that we’re not putting food down there, based solely on the stupendous number of crumbs that winds up all over your pans. Who wants that on food, right?
The only problem with the oven drawer as storage (other than the crumbs) is the fact that it often hangs crooked or has trouble closing. It’s pretty rare for an oven drawer to hang evenly and glide smoothly, especially as the oven gets older. But, of course, you want it to. So today, we’re here to talk about what to do when your oven drawer hangs crooked, won’t roll, or won’t close properly.
Here’s how to troubleshoot your oven drawer:
Pull the Drawer All the Way Out
The first step to any drawer repair is to fully remove the drawer from the space below your oven. All the important components are only visible when the drawer is pulled out. Start by emptying your drawer of everything inside, especially if it’s full of heavy pans. Place your pans aside and consider re-cleaning them if they are covered in crumbs.Then lift the drawer slightly as you pull it all the way out of the space. You may need to tilt or wiggle it, especially if the drawer is already off its track. It’s okay to tilt the drawer fully upward as you pull it out.
Inspect the Tracks and Wheels
The next step is a full inspection to see if there’s anything immediately obvious with the wheels or the track of your oven drawer. The wheels, naturally, will be on the bottom of the drawer itself. If there are no wheels, this is a major part of your problem but also intended for the model of oven.
Check to see if the wheel tracks are filthy or if they look bent. Check the wheels to make sure they’re attached properly and if they, too, are filthy. You might also see something else down there, like a missing pan on the floor, that may have been causing the trouble unseen below the drawer.
Clean the Tracks
The first and easiest problem would be if the tracks are dirty. Grit in the tracks, especially larger grit (food crumbs) can actually throw the wheels completely out of the track, causing the drawer to fall when you pull it out. Think of it in terms of a train track and it makes sense. A large rock on the train track can cause a train to “jump the track” and derail. That could be what’s happening to your oven drawer. So while you’ve got the drawer out, take a cloth or sponge and completely clean out the track. You may have to do this a few times a year to keep the constant addition of new crumbs from causing the same problem.
Realign or Replace the Tracks
A more challenging variation would be damaged drawer tracks. If the tracks look bent, they may no longer align with the drawer which would explain the troubles you’ve been having. It’s possible that you can simply bend the tracks back into alignment and everything will be fine again. You may also find some success with tightening the track mounting screws, in case they had loosened and were causing the track to hang loose. A loose track can swing away from the pressure of wheels, which can also drop a drawer.
If the track can’t be realigned, you’ll need to buy a new track and replace it. Fortunately, this is only a matter of a few mounting screws, so the repair should be fairly easy. Simply remove the screws from the broken or bent track and install the new one with screws in the same holes.
Clean and Tighten the Wheels
The wheels of your oven drawer can be treated with the same care as the track. If your drawer has wheels, inspect them closely and grab a scrubbing sponge for cleaning. Soak and scrub the wheels until you get all (or most) of the grit out of them. Be sure to check the axles as well, as the post inside each wheel can get stuff (like hair) wrapped around it. hair blows in under your oven from the rest of the house.
Once the wheels are clean, check to see if they, too, need to be tightened. If the wheels are loose on the drawer, they will wobble when the drawer moves which can also cause alignment and track-hopping problems, resulting in a drawer that sticks or falls. The mounting screws on the drawer wheels should also be easy to find, and a wheel easy to replace if one is broken.
Add a Stopper or Brace
When you’ve done everything you can with the tracks and wheels, try your oven drawer and see if it works. If you’re still having trouble with a lopsided, sticking, or falling oven drawer, then consider a little additional DIY. You can add a small stopper at the back, for example. The stopper sticks up over the back lip of the drawer so that it hits the front of the oven as the drawer pulls out. This can, theoretically, prevent the drawer from coming out too far and falling. Make sure the stopper’s screw is just loose enough that it can be rotated down to remove the drawer on purpose.
Alternately (or additionally) you can add a brace along the bottom. A single wooden post holding up the drawer along the center may fix many of your track-based problems with alignment and falling because the drawer will be supported by more than untrustworthy tracks.
Keep in mind though that if a product is still under any type of manufacturer warranty, any DIY modification may void the warranty so reach out to the customer service for the particular brand of product you own with any questions.
—If your oven is not doing what it’s supposed to, don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and do a little troubleshooting. Whether or not you are comfortable with a screwdriver, knowing what’s wrong and knowing what you can fix easily can get you that much closer to a satisfactory solution. Contact us today to learn more!