Diy luggage repairs

Updated March 28, 2017

Travel is difficult enough without having to worry about malfunctioning luggage. Common luggage problems include stuck wheels and handles, small tears in vinyl, lost casters and stuck zippers. Taking a few moments to remedy these suitcase snafus may mean the difference between a frustrating trip or one that goes smoothly. These repairs can be made at home before you hit the road, or in a hotel room with some small tools.

Cut out a small piece of the vinyl patch the size of the tear on the inside or outside of vinyl luggage. Sandpaper the back of the patch and around the tear on the luggage to make the vinyl more porous and receptive to the epoxy.

Smear epoxy on the tear and back of the patch. Place the patch on the tear and hold for five minutes until the epoxy sets. If possible, let the epoxy set for 24 hours, or at minimum four hours.

Unscrew a stuck handle mechanism using either hex wrenches or screwdrivers, depending on your luggage. Find the screws around the handle. Pull the handle mechanism out and lubricate the telescoping arms and the handle rest in the housing. Screw the mechanism back into place and pull the handle up and down several times to test the lubrication.

Unscrew any stuck wheel using the hex wrench or screwdriver. Squirt lube into the bearings and rollers in the centre of the wheel. Screw back into place after pushing the wheels to remove stickiness.

Grip the zipper slider with the vice grips and slowly but firmly pull it open. Squirt dry, graphite based lubricant onto the zipper as you pull the slider over the tines. Once open, slide it open and closed to work the lubricant into the zipper tines.

Things You'll Need

  • Replacement casters
  • Hex wrenches or screwdrivers
  • Vinyl patch and epoxy
  • Sandpaper
  • Lubricant
  • Scissors
  • Vice grips
  • Graphite dry lubricant
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About the Author

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.