How to Fix a Retractable Leash

Updated March 23, 2017

Retractable dog leashes provide both you and your dog with the freedom to roam while remaining attached. The owner can quickly regain control when need be; the dog can explore safely. Over time, twists, dirt or hair can impede the retractable mechanism. If it binds up, it is generally fixable, and that's good news for both you and your dog. Just make sure a warranty does not afford the chance for leash replacement before attempting a repair. Flexi is the No. 1-selling retractable leash and a "Consumers Digest" best buy.

Wind the leash in completely. Place the leash handle on a work surface with the screw side facing up. Use an Allen wrench or small Phillips screwdriver to remove the screws. Save the removed screws.

Pry the leash housing apart. A flat blade screw driver inserted between the two halves can aid separation. Remove the top half, exposing the leash winding mechanism.

Check the leash and the reel it winds around. Clean any dirt, hair or grime that clogs the winding mechanism. Undo any twists in the leash length.

Pull on the end of the leash and gently unroll enough to remove any impediments. Don't unroll the leash completely, and use both hands to maintain lease tension. Retracting mechanisms works the action of a spring or clip.

Replace the cover on the leash and replace the screws. Test the leash action to ensure smooth unwinding and retraction.


Opening the housing of the leash usually voids the lease warranty. Know your warranty limits before beginning repair.

Things You'll Need

  • Allen wrenches
  • Flat screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Replacement leash or parts
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About the Author

Dan Ravens began writing professionally in 1991, when he produced brochures and public relations for his high school's Advanced Placement program. He has combined his artistic skills and writing ability to produce corporate newsletters for most of the major consumer electronics and computer retailers. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in art from University of California-Berkeley.