5 Steps to Fix Sliding Aluminum Windows

The majority of the windows Most windows come with aluminum frames surrounding the glass and operate on a track system with small plastic wheels. Over time, these wheels can accumulate rust and wear, leading to their seizing up. This not only makes it challenging to open and close the window but can also result in excessive track wear. In some cases, if the damaged wheels are not replaced, the window may cease to open altogether or, even worse, fall out completely.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through a fast and cost-effective solution to this issue, which should provide long-lasting results without the need to replace the entire window.


The majority of these sliding window designs lift out. Many sliding window designs are designed to be lifted out. If your window doesn’t lift out, check for small locking lugs at the top on both sides that can be unscrewed to allow you to lift and remove the object.

Gently flip the window upside-down to inspect the small nylon plastic wheels. If your window hasn’t been sliding smoothly, there’s a good chance these wheels are cracked or clogged with debris.

Next, examine the actual metal track on the window sill. It’s likely to be dirty, but more importantly, check for any damage or flat spots.

These nylon or plastic wheels, responsible for enabling the window to open and close smoothly, are affordable and incredibly easy to replace. The most challenging part may be finding the right size. Make sure to note the left and right wheels, which are typically mirror images of each other and move to either end of the window.

Tip: Occasionally, spare wheels may be attached to the tops of the windows. Be sure to check for these!

Using a flathead screwdriver, unscrew the old wheels and carefully lever them out. Thoroughly clean the window’s bottom with a brush. Install the replacement wheels, paying attention to their left and right positions.


Now, let’s prepare for the installation of the new window track.

Begin by using a brush and a vacuum to thoroughly clean the entire track area.

Next, measure the old track. It’s perfectly fine if your new track is slightly shorter by a fraction of an inch; in fact, it can make the installation process easier.

Transfer your measurements to the new track section and cut it to the correct length using a hacksaw. Use a file to smooth the edges of your cut, and now we can proceed with the installation.

Install new window track

Using a caulk gun or a tube of silicone, apply a thin bead of silicone along the entire length of the bottom of the new track.

Position the new track by looping one end over the old, damaged track. Be cautious not to bend it. As you lower it into place, gently press down on the new track, ensuring that it completely covers the old track along its entire length. Verify that the spacing at both ends is even once it’s in place.

Enjoy a smooth sliding window operation

Clean up the mess, set the kettle on, and relax. By consistently practicing occasional vacuuming and checking the window as soon as you notice the wheels getting stiff, you can avoid further issues with that troublesome, jammed sliding window for several years to come.