How to Fix the Expanding Handle on a Suitcase

Updated March 28, 2017

Many modern pieces of luggage have a telescoping, or expandable, handle. The handles compress and house into the dedicated enclosure at the top of the bag, letting you open it to drag the luggage through the airport or hotel. When the handle malfunctions, it needs repaired. Getting the expanding handle to function properly requires entering the housing to get to the moving parts. Once in, diagnose the problem and get the handle working for hassle-free travel.

Unscrew the retaining screws at the top of the handle holder. The screws may be Phillips or flathead. Some are hidden under plastic caps that must be pried off to access the screws.

Pop the plastic handle housing off the bag and pull the handle up from the side holders where the two arms compress into the side of the luggage.

Check the telescoping mechanisms for stickiness of any stuck rod blanks. Apply several dollops of the dry lubricant at the telescoping points on each side of the handle's rod blanks.

Compress the handle and open it several times to work the dry lube into the rod blanks. Feel that the mechanisms work with little to no friction, letting you know the problem is fixed and the bag is ready for use.

Screw the top back onto the luggage and push any screw caps back onto the suitcase.

Things You'll Need

  • Phillips or flathead screwdriver
  • Dry graphite lubricant
  • Can or compressed air
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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.