How to Fix Sliding File Cabinet Drawers

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Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver

  • Rails

Place your paperwork in a box while you fix the drawer.

Whether you use a sliding filing cabinet at home or in the office, it is a good idea to learn how to perform some simple repairs. A number of things can cause a file cabinet drawer to start sticking, or even to become completely immobile. Knowing how to deal with these common issues means you can solve the problem quickly and get back to work.


Step 1

Pull the file cabinet drawer out as far as possible. Remove all of the papers, file folders and hanging files from the cabinet and set them aside. Keep the records together in an organized pile so that they will be easier to put back once the file cabinet drawers are fixed.

Step 2

Open the file cabinet drawer further if you can, then reach inside and feel along the sliding track. Pull out any labels, paper clips or other items that are sticking to the track and preventing the drawer from operating properly.

Step 3

Pull down gently on the file cabinet drawer if you cannot get it to open at all. Papers often become lodged in the top of the drawer, especially if the file cabinet is very full. Pulling down as you pull the drawer open helps dislodge those stuck papers and allows you to pull the drawer open and rearrange the paperwork.


Step 4

Slide the file cabinet drawer free of the rails if the drawers are still not sliding smoothly. Lift up carefully on the drawer as you slide it forward, then carefully disengage it from the rails built into the file cabinet itself.

Step 5

Examine the condition of the file cabinet rails. If the rails are simply sticking you can use a commercially available lubricant to fix the problem, then place the drawer back into the cabinet. If the rails are broken, you will need to purchase replacements and install them.

Step 6

Unscrew the existing rails from the sides of the filing cabinet and remove them carefully. Measure the rails so you know what size to order. Slide the replacement rails in place and secure them with the supplied screws. Slide the drawer back into the filing cabinet and pull it in and out a few times to ensure that it is operating properly.



Bonnie Conrad

Based in Pennsylvania, Bonnie Conrad has been working as a professional freelance writer since 2003. Her work can be seen on Credit Factor, Constant Content and a number of other websites. Conrad also works full-time as a computer technician and loves to write about a number of technician topics. She studied computer technology and business administration at Harrisburg Area Community College.