How to Repair a Suitcase

Updated April 17, 2017

Suitcases are large, sturdy pieces of luggage, designed to protect their contents during travel. A suitcase might get damaged on a baggage carousel or a luggage rack or in other situations. A prompt repair can prevent the entire piece from falling apart. If you have trouble with the wheels, handle or side of a suitcase, you can return them to good working order.

Locate the points securing the wheels onto the suitcase. You need to determine whether the wheels are held on by screws or by rivets.

Remove the screws that fasten the wheels from the inside of the suitcase using a screwdriver. If the case has rivets, drill out each rivet with a power drill until it falls out.

Hold one of the new wheels against the bottom of the suitcase, and insert the screws you removed from the old one until the wheel is tight. If rivets were used, insert new rivets into each hole with a riveter.

Attach the rest of the new wheels in the same way. Add a drop of lubricating oil to each of the wheels to break them in smoothly.

Remove the screws or rivets holding the telescopic handle onto the back of the suitcase. Make sure you get the fasteners all the way down at the bottom of the handle so you can remove the handle from the case.

Push the new handle assembly down into the slides and rest it on the suitcase. Make sure the top of the handle is resting securely on the top edge of the suitcase.

Attach the new handle to the suitcase with either screws or rivets. Use the same technique you used for the wheels to secure the handle.

Measure a tear or rip in the suitcase using a ruler. Add 4 inches to the length you measured.

Cut a piece of duct tape for the total measurement from Step 8. Duct tape is very durable and sticks well, making it ideal for repairing rips and tears.

Put the duct tape over the tear of rip and press down using as much force as you can. Make sure that the ends of the tape aren't peeling off the bag.

Use smaller pieces of duct tape to secure the corners of the first piece of tape you applied.


Take the old wheels and handle with you to buy the replacement parts to ensure you get properly sized items.


Do not use a suitcase if the wheels are not working, because you will tear or damage the bottom by dragging it across the floor.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Power drill
  • Replacement suitcase caster wheels
  • Screws
  • Rivets
  • Riveter
  • Replacement suitcase telescopic handle
  • Ruler
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
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About the Author

Based in New Hope, Pa., Stephanie Abir has been writing business- and health-related articles since 1980. Her work has appeared in “Business Week” magazine and “American Health” magazine. Abir holds a doctorate in American literature from the University of South Carolina.