The oven is a high temperature chamber. The heating element creates enough heat to cook everything from bread toast to frozen casseroles. This makes it essential for your oven to keep the heat on the inside. To heat to 400+ degrees, you certainly don’t want all that heat sweltering the kitchen instead of efficiently cooking your meals. To do this, your oven door needs to close completely.
When the oven door doesn’t close, it’s incredibly well-insulated design is wasted. The temperature of your kitchen will fly through the roof and your food will cook more slowly. The oven will require more electricity, the kitchen will heat up, food won’t cook evenly, and someone might get burnt. There are many possible reasons why your oven door won’t close completely. You will need to closely examine the oven in order to know what the answer is and enact the right solution.
Measure the Level of the Oven Door
The oven door should be level with the floor, as should the oven. You can usually identify a crooked oven door with the naked eye. The oven door will look tilted to one side and possibly lean significantly over to the right or left. When the oven door is not level, the seal cannot form and therefore heat will escape.
You can confirm the door’s level or tilt with a bubble-level tool. Set the bubble level on the top rim or the handle of the door to find out if it is level. You can also set the level on the door edge as you open the door to see how that level changes in the hinge swing arc. The bubble level is a great tool for the rest of your door repairs. When the door is level and aligned with the oven aperture, your work should be done.
Look for Dents and Impact Damage
Inspect both the door and the oven for signs of an impact. Someone falling against the oven can knock things out of place. In the kitchen, it’s also possible for the oven to be hit by a heavy pan or implement. In this case, a dent can change the shape and alignment of the door. If possible, you may be able to hammer the dents out of the oven cabinet or the door elements. If you can’t reach the dent because ovens are multi-layer, you can often disassemble the oven. Remove the panel, hammer it into shape, and then rebuild the door assembly.
Open the Door Fully & Examine the Hinges
The next step is to fully open the door and watch closely how it opens. This is to diagnose the hinges and how well they are swinging open then closed. If the hinges are bent or have somehow come loose in the door sockets, you may be able to see this by watching how the oven door moves as it opens. A lop-sided oven may settle back to straight or get worse as the oven door opens. You may even find that the oven door doesn’t open all the way if the hinges are too badly damaged.
Unhook the Hinges and Remove the Door
After examining the full motion, prop your oven door a few inches open. From this position, you can lift the oven door up off the hinges. The hinges are like long posts that fit into slots or sockets in the door. Bent hinges may not remove easily and you might want to ask a friend to help you carefully lift the oven door, which is multi-layered and heavy.
Examine, Bend, or Replace the Hinges
Now that the hinges are fully exposed, give them another close examination. This is a good opportunity to bend the hinge lengths back into line. Use a ruler to make sure the hinges are straight from the door bracket to the tips. Use pliers to grasp and bend the hinges into alignment. If the hinges can’t be bent back into shape or if they are clearly damaged, remove them by disassembling the bracket. Uninstall the bracket, then install the replacement hinges in place. They should clearly align now and be ready to reattach the door.
Disassemble and Repair the Door
You can also fully take the door apart. The oven door has inner and outer layer panels. It can be taken apart by laying the oven door handle-side down on a towel. Use a screwdriver or nut driver to remove the mounting screws around the perimeter of the door. This will allow the halves of the door to come apart. You can hammer out a dent in either the inner or outer panel. You can replace the oven door handle and clean or replace the glass if it is cracked.
Clean or Replace the Door Seal
Wrapping up the repair process, take a look at the door’s sealing gasket. This is a slightly inflated rim around the inner edge of the door, fitting into the door pocket. Wipe this down with a gentle soap and water mix. Keep cleaning until the sponge rinses clear. If the door seal is damaged, remove and replace it to improve the way the oven door connects.
Rehang the Oven Door & Test the Level
Now you are ready to rehang the oven door and see if it hangs straight after your repair process. Make sure the hinges are extended, then lift the oven door and set it down onto the hinges. You may need the help of a friend to align the door while you set it down, as the oven door is heavy.
Now close the oven door and snag your bubble level. If the door is level now, your efforts were a success. Open and close the door while holding the level along the top edge of the door. Watch how the bubble moves to confirm that the door is level and seals correctly.
An oven door that won’t shut is not just wasting energy and inefficient at cooking, it can also be dangerous. If your oven doesn’t close and DIY methods don’t help, it’s time for applied maintenance. You may need seal repairs, new inches, or dent removal before your oven closes safely again.