Most dishwasher racks are built tough and are made to withstand being constantly pulled out and pushed into your dishwasher without breaking. However, sometimes accidents happen or normal wear and tear result in damage that needs to be repaired.

If your rack has become faulty, this guide will help you identify the specific problem and fix it. The good news is most of these repairs are easy to make and will cost much less than buying a replacement rack.

Here’s how to repair your dishwasher rack.

Step 1 – Make sure the racks are secure

One of the main problems people have with their dishwasher racks is they come off the rails. This prevents them from going in and out of the dishwasher properly, or at all.

The easiest solution to this problem is to make sure the rail (or track) latches are securely closed. If you look at the end of the rails, you’ll see a small cap that can be turned to lock the racks onto the rails or opened to remove the racks from your dishwasher. If your dishwasher racks are not staying in place or have fallen off the rails, place them back onto the rails and secure them by placing the cap correctly into position.

Step 2 – Make sure the rack isn’t bent

The next step to repair your dishwasher rack is to make sure the rack isn’t bent out of shape. Sometimes metal racks (which are coated in vinyl) bend out of shape, which causes the rack to not operate correctly.

Getting your dishwasher rack back into shape is simple. Carefully bend the rack by hand or use a pair of pliers to bend the rack. Then put the rack back into the dishwasher to check that you’ve correctly reshaped it. If it’s still not properly shaped, keep making slight adjustments until it is.

Step 3 – Fix a broken rack

The next step is to check that parts of the rack haven’t broken off. The main parts that break off are the tines. Tines are the small plastic bits that help keep the items (e.g., dishes) that you load onto the rack in position when your dishwasher is running. Fixing these small plastic parts is easy to do.

First, purchase some replacement tines and some vinyl paint that is suitable for a dishwasher. You can find these at most hardware stores or through an online retailer. Once you have the replacement tines, you simply put them into position (you may need to cut them to size) and attach them using the specialty vinyl paint, which acts as both a pigment and a glue to hold the tines in place. Once the repair is made and the vinyl paint has dried completely, test the sturdiness of the tines by applying a sufficient amount of pressure by hand.

Step 4 – Repaint your dishwasher rack

Even if your dishwasher rack isn’t broken, you may want to touch it up with some specialty dishwasher vinyl paint. This is actually necessary if you have a rusted dishwasher rack because using dishes that have been contaminated with rust is not good for your health.

To repaint or touch up your rack, remove it from the dishwasher and move it to a suitable work place that has plenty of ventilation. Use sandpaper to remove all the rusty areas from the rack and wipe those areas with a damp cloth. Then apply a layer of vinyl paint evenly onto the metal rack and let it dry. The paint also acts as a sealant to ensure water doesn’t come in contact with the metal to cause more rust. Once the vinyl paint is dry, you can put the rack back into your dishwasher and start using it again.

Step 5 – Make sure the wheels are working

If your dishwasher rack isn’t working, it may be because one or more of the wheels is broken off or bent out of shape. When this happens, the broken wheel will most likely need to be replaced. This is another easy repair to make.

To replace a wheel, first check that nothing is stuck underneath it. If there is an obstruction, remove the debris and see if this fixes the wheel. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to get a replacement wheel. In this case, remove the old wheel and attach the new one. For most dishwasher racks the wheel should simply snap into place. Repeat this process, if necessary, to fix additional broken wheels. Once repaired, place the rack back in your dishwasher and check if it is now working correctly.

Step 6 – Make sure the dishwasher is level

The final step to finding the cause of a broken dishwasher rack is to make sure your dishwasher is sitting level. When it isn’t sitting level, the rack might not be able to operate correctly. For example, it might slip out of place during a wash cycle and cause a spray arm to become stuck.

Checking that your dishwasher is sitting level is simple. All you need to do is place a bubble level on top of the dishwasher. If it isn’t sitting level, adjust the dishwasher legs until the bubble level shows that it is. Once your dishwasher is sitting level, run it to check if the rack stays in place.

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