If you have a broken suitcase handle or a handle that just isn’t functioning as it should (we’ve all been there), then there are a couple of things you can do to solve this issue. While the first thought that may come to your head would be to junk the broken suitcase and buy a new one, why not just learn how to fix a broken suitcase handle? This is a very recommended way to solve the issue of a broken handle, by opening it up and examining the issue yourself. In this article, we’ll be looking at ways to fix multiple types of suitcase handles and breaking down the functioning and mechanics behind a common suitcase retractable handle.
Table of Contents
- 1 Retractable Or Telescopic Suitcase Handle Mechanism Basics
- 2 Can Suitcase Handles Be Repaired?
- 3 How To Fix A Stuck Handle On Luggage
- 4 How To Fix a Suitcase Handle Button
- 5 How To Replace A Telescopic Suitcase Handle
- 6 How To Replace A Suitcase Grab Handle
- 7 What to Do if Your Suitcase Handle Breaks in the Middle of Your Trip?
Retractable Or Telescopic Suitcase Handle Mechanism Basics
A suitcase’s retractable handle is comprised of a few more parts than you may think by just looking at it attached to your luggage. Looking purely at the handle, it has a button on top that can be pushed down to retract the handle automatically. This is all the handle has been designed to do. But what does this one button trigger?
Going from top to bottom, if you unscrew and open up a suitcase handle, you will see that the button pushes down on a compression spring which gives it its smooth bounce-back action when pressed. The spring itself, when pushed down, transfers the force it receives to the extension legs or 2 poles which make up the legs of the handle. Each pole then pushes down on its respective essential luggage handle mechanisms.
This mechanism is the one piece of the whole handle solely responsible for retracting and extending the handlebars. This mechanism is seen with a small pin sticking out from its side in its default position, but when force is applied to its internal spring, the pin retracts and unlocks the handlebar, allowing you to extend the handle or retract it back to its shortest form.
A very simple mechanism overall, but one that could get stuck or broken easily depending on its build quality and usage.
Can Suitcase Handles Be Repaired?
Suitcase handles can be repaired instead of being junked. You could even repair it yourself, but to save you time, effort, and possibly money, you should first make sure to check if your luggage has a valid warranty. If it’s still within the warranty period, you could send it over to the manufacturer for fixing, free of charge. It could cover the costs for both fixing a stuck or broken handle. But if it isn’t valid anymore, then there are still a few other ways to address suitcase handle repair.
Depending on what type of handle you have, you could just purchase a replacement handle from the same brand or even search for a generic brand handle from Amazon or eBay that fits well. The latter option will probably cost you lesser than getting a replacement handle from the original brand. Fixing the handle will require a bit of your time, but it really is worth the effort. A broken handle doesn’t mean a broken suitcase.
However, before you go searching for replacement parts, first always identify what the issue is with your handle. It could be that the handle is just stuck in place, not broken. Many times, a telescopic suitcase handle could be stuck in the open position.
To find out the root of the issue, open up the case and expose the telescopic handle poles. Are the poles bent in any way? Does the pin lock mechanism feel tight or lacking springiness? This is what you should look for. Identifying the exact spot where the issue seems to be stemming from is a big part of fixing a suitcase handle.
Your suitcase handle could also be stuck in the closed position, unable to be pulled out of its holder. Another possible issue with your handle could be that the handle button is damaged and not triggering the pin lock mechanism when pressed down. In the latter case, it could be a damaged part because the handle buttons on suitcases are far less hardy than other parts.
Most of the time, suitcase handles may not necessarily be broken if they aren’t working properly. So, always be sure to try to identify the problem yourself before junking or sending your suitcase away for repairs.
How To Fix A Stuck Handle On Luggage
Repairing luggage handles yourself can vary from being easy to quite difficult and tedious depending on what way the handle is stuck in place. If it’s stuck in its closed position and unable to extend its legs, then this could be due to its pins being unable to retract and unlock the handlebars. This could be the same reason behind a telescopic handle stuck in its extended position.
There are other likely ways it could be stuck. The retractable pins could be rusted, reducing its free motion to lock and unlock the telescopic poles to a considerable degree. There could be dust and debris keeping the poles from extending, or it may not be receiving any trigger from the handle’s button. If it’s the latter, then you need to look closely at the button, push down on it multiple times, and analyze if it’s getting stuck as you push it down or if its motion is too smooth and not triggering the pin mechanism.
These issues are all repairable, but each method will be different and may have its own challenges. So, to make it easier for you, here are a few ways your handle might be stuck and how to fix it.
The Suitcase Handle Stuck In Down Position
If your suitcase handle is stuck in the closed position, then the solution could be simpler than you think. The problem is most likely with the handle’s button which is meant to trigger the pins to unlock the extension legs. You might find the button to be stuck on one side and unable to be pushed down. If this is the case, then you could try using a flat-edge screwdriver and gently insert it into both side gaps of the button, which should get it unstuck.
The Suitcase Handle Won’t Go Down
If you’re having trouble retracting your suitcase handle or extending it, then it could be 1 of 2 reasons. The first possible issue could be that the pins are getting locked in the holes on the telescopic poles. To know for sure and to fix it, you’ll need to set aside 25-30 minutes.
First, disassemble the whole handle. After this, look at the pin holes closely and press down on the handle’s button. If they are getting stuck, then you could make the holes a little larger by using a drill or a file. The latter tool is most recommended as it just needs to marginally increase the hole sizes to give the pins a little more freedom to move in and out. If you feel the pins themselves are the issue and that they could be a bit rusted, apply some WD-40 around them, then make sure to press the handle button multiple times to lubricate the pins entirely and let it sit for around 10 minutes. This should solve any sort of rough movement with the pins.
The second possible reason behind your suitcase handle being unwilling to go down could be that you’re able to push the button down with ease but it doesn’t seem to be unlocking the extension poles. This could mean that the button’s trigger isn’t touching the telescopic poles. A very simple solution to this problem is to place some tape inside the handle in the space between the telescopic pole ends and the base of the button. This will help the handle touch the telescopic pole.
A more recommended and durable way to fix this issue is to disassemble the telescopic handle and examine the ends of the rods which push down to move the pins. For some suitcases, the ends of these rods may not be filed well enough and may be getting stuck in the handle’s grooves and unable to reach the pins. Once you’ve unscrewed the whole handle, you’ll be able to see the ends of these rods. If you feel they are getting stuck at the base of the main handle, then lightly file the ends and apply a very small amount of oil or WD-40 around both rods to ensure even and smooth movement when engaged by the handle button.
If the button of your suitcase handle seems to be permanently pushed in, then don’t worry, it can be fixed with a little effort. First, you’ll have to carefully disassemble the whole handle. Unscrew all visible screws that keep the handle attached to the case with an appropriate screwdriver. If they are Philips screws, then a Philips screwdriver would have to be used.
Once you have the handle separated, you may have already fixed any jamming issue there was when it was attached to the case. But what if a piece of the button is broken or fell off the handle? Simple, super glue. Any part that you feel should remain in place but is loose, stick it back on with some super glue and let it be for at least 30 minutes to properly dry. Once all the glued parts are dry, reassemble the handle back onto the suitcase. Just make sure that when you screw it back on you don’t tighten the screws with too much force as this could damage pieces of the handle.
How To Replace A Telescopic Suitcase Handle
Replacing a telescopic suitcase handle can be relatively easy if it is attached with rivets to the case. However, if you want to replace the handle of an older model suitcase that has screws fastened with nuts in depression pockets, then it would be almost impossible to replace the handle. But, the latter type of suitcase is rarely available anymore, so let’s just focus on replacing a telescopic handle of a newer, riveted suitcase instead.
First, you’ll need to drill through the rivets by using a drill bit that is 0.5mm larger than the size of the rivets. Drill through each rivet steadily until you make a hole and it falls out. The screws will be easy to remove now. Once this is done, the entire handle system can be removed from the base of the tube holders in your suitcase. The tube holders basically act as the central piece that attaches the telescopic handle to the body of the suitcase. There’s no need to remove this part.
Now, once the old handle system has been removed, it will be very simple to put in a new handle. Place the poles of the new handle through the same holes where the old telescopic handle was attached and screw it on well. Next, apply some lubricant to the poles and extend and retract them multiple times until it moves very smoothly up and down. And that’s it! You’ve successfully replaced your suitcase’s telescopic handle. Though it may have taken you some time and effort, it’s still much better than junking the whole suitcase because of a handle issue.
How To Replace A Suitcase Grab Handle
It may not happen that often, but if your suitcase grab handle breaks, just follow these steps to replace the handle.
To begin, go out or shop online for a new handle that is the same size as the old one. Handle replacements are commonly available at baggage stores and on the web. Take the old handle off your luggage before installing the new one. In most cases, this will require removing screws or nuts that hold the handle to the casing. Keep any screws or bolts you remove in case you need to reinstall them when you replace the handle.
The next step is to attach the new handle to the luggage by aligning the screw holes. Set the bolts or screws in place and make sure they’re snug. When you’re done, give the new handle a try to see whether it holds up under your suitcase’s weight. Tighten the nuts or bolts even further if the new handle seems shaky.
What if you have luggage with a leather handle that is damaged or has torn off?
First, you’re going to need a few tools and materials. Bring together a belt, 6 washers, 6 bolts and nuts, scissors, a screwdriver, and a leather punching machine. The belt of your choice could be an old one, but make sure it’s still in good condition.
Next, trim the belt down to an appropriate handle size and shape that you feel is best for your suitcase. For the bolts to go through, punch a few holes into the belt using the punching machine, or you could just use a nail and hammer and a little precision to do the same. Finally, after removing your old handle, place the newly made handle in its place and secure it with the suitcase’s own bolts and washers. Now you have a perfectly usable leather handle for your bag.
What to Do if Your Suitcase Handle Breaks in the Middle of Your Trip?
Until you’re in a position to get your suitcase fixed, you still have to navigate your way to your home or hotel with your luggage. Consider one of the following temporary fixes to tide you over until then.