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In this blog post, we’ll show you how to fix luggage handles. This is very detail post that you don’t want to miss.
Imagine this – you just arrived at your destination, itinerary in hand, excited about your new adventure. You are now waiting for your luggage bag on the conveyor belt. You spot it. You grab it. As soon as you put it on its wheels, you feel as if something’s wrong, but you paid no mind. You’re just excited on your new adventure.
You’re just ready to get on with your vacation. You move. Then at once, you extend the luggage handle and there it was. You had a feeling this would happen. It’s the handle. Maybe it doesn’t extend anymore. Bent? Snapped in half? Maybe. But one thing is for sure – it’s broken.
When this happens, and trust me, they do happen a lot, there’s really nothing you can do but bend on your knees and drag the luggage across the floor. It’s not going to be a pretty sight but what you can do? That’s the only way you can move it. Suffice it to say, that’s not a good way to start your travel.
There are a million ways for your travel to go wrong. More often than not, the problems are introduced by something you have no control over, like a misplaced luggage. Maybe a canceled/delayed flight.
Whenever this happens, you just have to grit your teeth and deal with it. As the saying goes, you shouldn’t focus your anger on something you can’t control.
But there are things you can have full control whenever you travel. The quality of your luggage bags comes to mind. That will be the focus of this article. Not exactly the focus but one that we will discuss at length. To be specific, we’re going to zero in one specific part of the luggage bag. The handle.
Whatever the brand or model of a bag is, it seems like the part that’s usually causes many of the issue is the handle. Even if you go to your bag’s Amazon page and check the 1-star reviews, most of them comes from luggage handles issue.
It doesn’t matter what price category they belong to. Luggage handles are usually the first part to fall apart. Well, except the zipper and wheels, but that’s for another article.
In this article, we’re going to talk about the most common issues of luggage handles. Even better is we’re also going to discuss how to prevent it from happening. Prevention is always better than the cure, am I right? That applies here, too.
Without further ado, let’s start.
Fixing The Luggage Handle Yourself
It may seem daunting at first but fixing a luggage handle by yourself is not a hard task at all. Even if you’re not handy about these things, as long as you have the right equipment and replacement parts, you’ll be able to fix it. It’s like LEGO. You just put the parts where they seem to belong. It’s that easy.
But before you replace anything with the handle, you must first inspect the issue. You have to figure out the exact problem of the handle then make a corresponding plan of repair. Determine the extent of the damage. Many times, handles just get stuck for no particular reason and would fix itself with a few smack.
Here’s a short Video on How to Fix Luggage Handles.
I will list the most common luggage handle issues down below.
Push Button Not Functioning Properly
This is probably the most common issue there is for handles. Even premium bags will randomly have their handle button stuck for no particular reason at all.
Lucky for you because this is quite an easy fix. I wouldn’t always recommend this but try to maybe hit the button squarely to make sure that it isn’t just lodged on something inside the tube handle. That’s often the case with cheaper bags. The mechanism inside isn’t all plushed and it simply got stuck.
If smacking it doesn’t work, I’m afraid you may need to out the right screwdriver.
Remove the housing of the handle. The screws are usually visible from the top. Some luggage bag models will have it on the side. As soon as you spot these screws, you usually won’t have any trouble removing them.
Once you’ve successfully removed the housing or case, you can now easily dislodge the button from whatever it got stuck into. It’s difficult to describe the insides of a luggage handle but it will make sense to anyone who opens it. The mechanism is easy to decipher and you will have no trouble putting it back together.
Stuck Luggage Tubes
This is yet another issue that stems from luggage handles. If you’ve dealt with anything that resembles a sliding handle mechanism, you must already be familiar with this issue.
If the handle tubes won’t budge, or will only budge if you put a lot of force into moving it, chances are, the tubes are just stuck and are probably scraping off the side of the tube casing. If this is the case, a little grease is all you need.
Additionally, sometimes the tube are just misaligned so make sure that the tube handles are perpendicular to the luggage case before you try to move them.
If neither of these fixes work, perhaps the problem lies within the casing itself. In that case, you need to remove the top part of the handle entirely (the one where the button is).
You then need to fish out the metal tubes inside the telescopic tubes. You may need to use a flashlight for this. Check if there are any debris inside. That’s usually the case with these stuck handles.
If you can’t see anything, maybe the metal rod inside aren’t aligned with the buttons properly. Make sure to fix it to the button at the top of the handle. Use grease if necessary. Just a reminder – never use soap or mineral oil as that will probably do more harm than good.
If this still does not fix the luggage issue, you may need to replace the entire thing.
Handle Won’t Stay Up
If one or either of the handle can’t stay up or even falls out of the handle housing, there’s a good chance a screw is loose. This is something you can fix almost instantly. Just check the item for loose screws and tighten as you see fit.
Telescopic Handles Won’t Work
Now, this issue is usually where most owners give up and send it for repairs. Some people even throw the whole bag out because this isn’t exactly an easy fix.
When the telescopic handles don’t work anymore, you have two choices for fixing, basically. You can either replace the entire telescopic mechanism, or reverse-engineer the issue until you find the problem.
The easier task would be just to replace the whole thing but it will cost you a lot more. Reverse-engineering won’t cost you anything but your time. It’s also not a guaranteed fix.
Telescopic handles aren’t that easy to fix because they are machined to a specific dimension and will only open using specialized tools. This would require you to open up the whole handle mechanism at the back of the bag.
There’s really not a specific instruction that would apply to all luggage bags because while the mechanism in used are practically the same across the board, the parts and implementations are different.
This leaves you to the easier fix – replacing the entire handle with a new one. This one’s easy as long as you have access to the right screwdrivers. Just remove the whole thing and replace it with another. They usually have instructions inside the replacement part but you can just eyeball everything. You’re basically just copying the original setup anyway.
One downside to this is it costs a lot more than usual. And you need to pick out the right replacement handle or you risk it not working. And that directs us to the next section.
How To Pick Out The Right Replacement Handle?
First things first, you need to know the exact model and manufacturer of your bag. If you’re not sure what exact model it is, you can check your receipt. You can also call the brand and ask their customer support. If you bought it online, just check your purchase history and off you go.
In most cases, you won’t find an exact model online. Manufacturers don’t usually make spare parts available because they want the repairs to go through them. Some big name brands will have OEM parts but those are still hard to find.
Your best bet to getting the right luggage handle is to message the manufacturer and state your issue. They are usually very helpful in these situations and will sometimes send you a free replacement item if you’re persuasive enough.
This could be a real hassle, though. It’s now easy to understand why owners often just throw their luggage out when the handle stops working. Buying a new one is sometimes the better choice, especially if you need the bag right away. That brings us to the next part.
Is Fixing The Luggage Handle By Yourself Even Worth It?
In all honesty, I’m leaning towards a NO.
You see, most companies offer some type of warranty for their luggage bags. After all, luggage bags aren’t cheap to buy. Some known brands have warranties extending up to 10 years, that is, as long as the damage was caused by a manufacturing defect, they’ll fix it for free. I can’t say the same for cheaper brands out there.
If your luggage bag costs a lot, it will probably be best if you let professional fix it for you. The cost depends on the warranty, of course. Premier/luxury brands are usually durable enough to withstand decades of use so as long as you buy something quality, you shouldn’t expect the handle to give out even after years of continuous use.
As for the cheaper luggage bags out there, you can also get them fixed by a professional but sometimes it will be more trouble than it’s worth. I know this goes against the recycle and re-use movement, but some luggage bags are so cheap, you’re just better off buying a new one anyway.
But the quality may not be up to par compared to the expensive ones which means that you may need to keep on buying and buying new luggage every time something breaks.
It all depends on the kind of buyer that you are, really.
If you have the time, sure, you can fix any type of luggage handle no matter the size.
However, in some rare cases, wherein the extent of the damage forces you to replace the entire luggage handle, the hassle of sourcing the materials may not be worth the effort. You can always get a professional fix it for you. But I understand the feeling of accomplishment when you get to fix something for yourself, so it’s entirely up to you, still.
The key takeaway here is fixing luggage handles is doable for anyone as long as the extent of the damage isn’t that bad. As for more serious defects, getting a professional is recommended.
I’m hoping this article will have shown you the importance of choosing a luggage bag that is both durable and quality. Like I said in the beginning of this article, you won’t need to know how to fix the luggage handle if they never break.
To see where the quality luggage bags are, you can check out my other articles. I’ve already reviewed plenty of luggage bags that you may be interested in.