Depending on the person, refillable lighters go through a fair amount of wear and tear. Absentmindedly flipping open the top and spinning the thumb wheel over and over again can certainly be a difficult habit to restrain, but, nevertheless, the action does take its toll on the lifespan of the lighter. This article will go into how to fix those little troubleshoots that impair the lighter with age. More specifically, this article deals with Zippo lighters.
Determine the problem with the lighter. Some ailments can be fixed, whereas others must be sent in to the manufacturer (Zippo, for one, repairs lighters for free minus the shipping and handling costs). If the thumb wheel spins but creates no spark, then it's a problem with the flint. If there's a spark but no light and there's plenty of fluid, then it's a problem with the wick.
To replace a flint, find the spring that holds the flint to the thumb wheel. For Zippos, the screw is on the bottom. Hold the Zippo by the windscreen and slide the metal casing off the body of the lighter. Unscrew the bottom and remove the lighter fluid pad. Tap out the old flint and replace with a new one. Screw the bottom back on and try the thumb wheel again.
For a wick, repeat step 2 to get the bottom off of the Zippo lighter. Carefully remove the cotton wadding underneath the fluid pad. Know that the cotton doesn't come out in just one piece but more like layers. Set the cotton aside in the order it was pulled out. Put the new wick in through the top of the chimney. Use the tweezers to bend the copper wiring in the wick so that the wick doesn't fall through the hole. Replace the cotton, return the screw, and slide the casing on. Light the fire.
Send the lighter back to the manufacturer if none of the above solutions works.
Try not to play around with a refillable lighter. Zippo lighters, for instance, break after a year or two and can break just a few months after purchase due to fidgeting with the parts. In short, they're more fragile than one would think.
When removing the bottom, take extra precaution as you're handling flammable materials.