Although traditional canning jars feature screw-top lids, glass jars with hinges, commonly called bale jars, are also used for canning and storing foods. Many people use bale jars for keeping staples such as sugar and flour fresh on the counter top. Even with careful use, a bale jar hinge may become dislodged or misshapen and prevent the jar from working properly. Don't toss the expensive jar; salvage it by trying to fix it yourself with a few simple steps.
Release the lever at the front of the jar. If the handle doesn't easily move upward, press down on the lid to loosen the resistance. Flip the clamp down so that the jar is completely open.
Look at the metal piece that connects from the jar lid to the jar base, in the back of the jar. If the wire pieces aren't parallel or straight, bend them back into place. Gently tap the wire in the appropriate direction with a small hammer. Be careful to not hit the jar with the hammer.
Inspect the bottom part of the hinge for build-up or rust.
Scrub rust or residue with a piece of steel wool. Brush away any debris with a clean towel.
Dab a few drops of oil onto the hinge area and move the jar lid back and forth. This ensures that the oil works all the way into the hinge. Wipe away any excess oil with a towel.
Push the lid down and engage the clamp in the front.
Check around the gasket inside the jar. Food or debris left on the gasket or around the mouth of the jar may prohibit the jar from completely closing. Nicks around the gasket or mouth of the jar also weaken the seal of the jar.
If the lid still doesn't fit tightly on the jar, don't use it for foods that might spoil.