4 Steps to Fix Freezer Drawers That Refuse to Slide

Damaged fridge interior

Stuck trying to figure out why your freezer drawers won’t slide?

I know how you feel! Being unable to open or close the freezer drawers properly can be very frustrating.

Luckily, you’ve come to the right place to fix the issue.

If your freezer’s drawers refuse to slide, rearrange food items, defrost your freezer, and examine the rails and drawers. If they’re damaged, you’ll need to replace them.

Read on to fix your freezer’s drawers!

Freezer Drawers Won’t Slide? 4 Fixes to Try

Different reasons can explain why your freezer’s drawers aren’t sliding smoothly or refusing to slide.

Luckily, fixing the issue is very simple. You’ll need to:

#1 Rearrange Food Items

When I see a freezer drawer refusing to slide, I always rearrange or remove items as necessary.

You see, accidentally overloading the drawers can strain the tracks and cause them not to slide smoothly.

If the food items inside your freezer’s drawer push against the lid or are packed too tightly, try placing some heavy items on different drawers or shelves.

Organize freezer drawers
If your freezer drawers won’t slide, avoid overloading them.

Some manufacturers include the maximum weight recommendations for drawers in the user manual. So, it’s worth reading it to avoid exceeding the weight limit.

While you’re at it, please check that the freezer drawers are aligned correctly on their tracks. If they’re not, adjust them. Otherwise, your drawers will refuse to slide.

#2 Defrost Your Freezer

I find that when a freezer drawer refuses to slide, it’s typically due to frost or ice buildup.

Freezers can easily form frost buildup when warm, humid air comes into contact with the cold surfaces inside your freezer. Unfortunately, if the rails get frozen, your drawers won’t slide.

ice buildup in freezer
Frost buildup can affect your freezer’s performance and cause your drawers to refuse to slide.

Modern freezers have an Auto-Defrost feature that automatically activates a heating element to melt any ice buildup. However, if you have a traditional freezer, you must manually defrost the unit.

Don’t worry, though. Defrosting your freezer is easier than it seems. You’ll just need to follow these steps:

  1. Unplug your freezer from its power source.
  2. Transfer your food to a cooler or refrigerator to keep it from thawing.
  3. Place a few towels around your freezer to catch any water spills.
  4. To speed up the defrosting process, leave the door open and place bowls of hot water inside your freezer. Keep in mind that you should never use boiling water to melt the ice, as it could damage the interior.
  5. Once the ice has melted, clean your freezer with equal parts of white vinegar and warm water. Then, dry the interior with paper towels.
  6. Plug in your freezer and try opening or closing the drawers again. If they slide smoothly, then the issue is solved.

Tip: If you only notice frost buildup in the rails, you can avoid defrosting the entire freezer and use a hair dryer to melt the ice in the rails instead. Remember to avoid overheating or directing the hairdryer to any plastic components.

#3 Check the Rails

My usual advice when fixing a freezer drawer that refuses to slide is to inspect the rails.

Sometimes, crumbs or other debris can build up in the sliding mechanism and cause the issue. In such cases, you’ll need to remove the drawers and use a sponge to clean the rails thoroughly. If there’s a sticky residue, try using white vinegar.

However, if your freezer’s drawers are still not sliding smoothly or you hear a squeaking noise, you’ll need to lubricate the rails. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Remove the drawer to access the rails or tracks more easily.
  2. Ensure the rails are dry, and apply a thin layer of lubricant. I recommend using a food-safe lubricant or Vaseline (petroleum jelly).
  3. Ensure the lubricant is applied evenly along the entire length of the rails. You can use a paper towel to apply it.
  4. Reassemble the drawer and check if it slides smoothly. Make sure the drawer is properly seated in its tracks. If not, realign it.

If your freezer’s drawers still refuse to slide, please look at the rails closely. You must replace them with new ones if they’re rusted or damaged. Just keep in mind that rails can be expensive, as they can cost over $300.

If you want to get any replacement part – or see how much one would cost – click to enter your model number in the search bar below. Our partners at AppliancePartsPros stock almost every part with free guides on how to install them.

#4 Examine the Drawers

If you’ve tried all of the fixes above, but your freezer’s drawers are still refusing to slide, then you’ll need to take a closer look at them.

Over time, plastic drawers can crack or warp, resulting in sliding issues. In such cases, my usual advice is to determine whether the drawer can be repaired or needs replacing.

Examine your freezer’s drawers. If there’s significant warping, it’s often best to replace them with new ones.

It’s important to know the exact model number of your freezer before getting any replacement parts to ensure you source the right drawer model.

Once you replace your freezer drawers, remember to avoid overloading them and check the rails for ice buildup every few months. Regularly cleaning them can also extend their lifespan.

Fixing Your Freezer’s Drawers

Hopefully, now you know how to fix your freezer’s drawer issues.

Remember that if your freezer drawers are refusing to slide, you must ensure you’re not accidentally overloading them and check that they’re aligned. You’ll also need to defrost your appliance to remove any frost or ice buildup that could keep the drawers from opening or closing.

Don’t forget to examine the rails and apply lubricant if the drawers are still not sliding smoothly. Replace the rails or drawers with new ones if necessary.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article. Please check out our other related posts if you found this guide helpful.

Have a great day!

I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more