How To Repair A Dishwasher Rack

How to easily repair a broken rack on your dishwasher.

There is not a whole lot that can go wrong with your dishwasher racks. And those things that do go wrong are easily fixed.

Perhaps one of the prongs that stand erect is bent. Did you try to jam an extra dish in there? Whatever the cause it can be repaired. Very gingerly and softly bend the prong back to perpendicular. You must be careful with this act. If bent with too much force the prong may snap off.

Or perhaps the tip of the prong has worn off over time. All prongs are a shaft of metal with a rubberized over coating. Almost all hardware stores sell small tubes of liquid material that can be put over the prong's end. Left to dry it turns into a solid coat re-covering the metal. You can also find this liquid repair in many specialty catalogues that may come to your door through the mail. It is important to keep the prong's metal covered. If not covered the metal will rust and the rust will eventually destroy the prong in a wet environment like the dishwasher.

You can't get your dishwasher's bottom rack to pull out? First, make certain there is nothing (e.g., long knife) protruding from the bottom rack into the upper rack. This will keep the bottom rack from rolling out. If that is not the problem then you need to check the rack's wheels. Most bottom racks roll on wheels set into a ledge in the dishwasher. Make certain the wheels are free from any obstructions. We once found a small toy jammed between the wheel and the ledge in our dishwasher. Our boy pleaded innocence.

Once that is cleared check the wheels themselves. On very rare occasions the axle upon which the wheels rotate may rust or become jammed stopping the wheel from rotating. If that is the case, remove the jammed material from the wheel's axle. You should also repair the rusted axle. This can be done by sanding the metal with rough gauge sandpaper. Your goal is to remove the rust. Once you have removed the rust you may want to cover the axle with a rust resistant paint. Be careful not to get the paint on the dishwasher's interior. You might also consider the ecological issues of having paint in the place where you wash your dishes. If you do not apply paint, apply some oil or grease to the axle to protect it from the water and to help it roll freely. This too carries its own environmental issues. Be careful. Apply stingily.

Finally check the ledge upon which the wheels roll. Clear all material from the ledge. Make certain there are no nicks in the ledge that may compromise the wheels rotation.

Problems with the upper rack? Then let's look into it. Once you have straightened all the prongs there is not much else to fail except for the rack's ability to roll in or out. First check that there is no piece from the bottom rack stuck into the top rack stopping it to roll.

If it is free, then you need to check the sliding mechanism. The slide mechanism is almost always made of metal and operates like a cabinet drawer glider. Not much can go awry with this glide. Rust may appear but the gliders are always made of a metal that is incredibly rust resistant. More likely there is something wrong with the sliding mechanism. These mechanisms are usually made of two interconnected parts. The connection may occasionally come apart. Simply reconnect the two pieces. It is not difficult. It is usually a matter of sliding or snapping one piece back into the other. Some material may also get caught in the glider keeping it from sliding smoothly. Remove that material.

If all this fails, you can remove the glides and replace them. This is a little more difficult. The glides are usually attached to the dishwasher's interior wall with a screw set. If you are replacing the glide make certain you purchase one that matches your worn out guide. You need to make certain the holes on the new glider also match the holes on the interior wall of the dishwasher. In a compartment that is aflood with water you do not want to have a couple of open holes.

Some glides may be attached with a plastic screw. Do not over-tighten the screw. Plastic screws can easily be stripped of their threads and lose their ability to hold the glide to the wall. Lastly some glides may be attached to the side wall of the dishwasher with a bolt and not. The bolt goes completely through the interior wall and is secured tightly to the dishwasher with a nut on the outside of the inner wall. If this is true you will need to pull your dishwasher out from its cubby hole so you can reach the outer wall. Dishwashers usually slide out far enough to be able to work on most of its side. If you need to slide it farther you will have to disconnect the hoses.

Make certain to turn off the house water before you do this. You don't want water spewing from the disconnected hoses. Water can be turned off to the entire house at the main valve. This is always found wherever the water enters the house. Some dishwashers, and the sink to which they are attached, have turn off valves that stop the water for just that sink and dishwasher. This is nice because you can stop the water at the sink, but somebody can still use the shower. Remember where each hose goes. This will make it easier to reattach them when you are finished. You may want to mark each hose as you remove it. Each hose can be marked with a piece of tape with its location written on the tape. You can also draw a pencil sketch of which hose goes where.

If all else fails and you think the rack is simply beyond repair you can order a new one. Go online, use the web. Search for a company that carries your brand's parts. Visit your local hardware store or big box hardware store and see if they have replacement parts for your appliance. You can also search via the web or business directory for appliance part stores. At least one of these places will have your part. What you need to know is the manufacturer's name, the appliance's model number or name, and the number of the part you want to replace. If you still have the manual that came with the appliance when you purchased it, then the part number can be found there. If you don't have that part number any quality appliance parts store will be able to find the part if you know the manufacturer's name and appliance model.

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