How To Repair Your Luggage – DIY Fix Broken Suitcase

By James Smith
how to repair luggage
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DIY Tips on How to Repair Your Luggage

Knowing how to repair your luggage can come handy when traveling after you found out one or two rips and tears in your bag. 

When often traveling you sometimes need to deal with some torn edges in your bag. 

While expensive brands of luggage have their own repair and maintenance crew, you will need to deal with your personal luggage maintenance issues if you have a low-cost travel bag.

Here are some DIY tricks I’ve learned.

Tips on how to repair your luggage:

The most common issues with luggage are stuck, tangled or damaged zippers.  The most excellent way to displace stuck zipper is to use wax. Apply it along the teeth of the stuck zipper. 

There are lubricants available specially made for this scenario, but in case you don’t have one, the wax will do the trick. It is highly advisable to wax zippers most especially those made of zippers on a daily basis avoid them from being tangled (and susceptible for damage)

A coil zipper is increasingly utilized for the bag, and it is self-healing, most especially when the zipper is fuzzy it can be restored quickly to its previous state by pulling back the slider.

  • Replacing the Luggage Zipper

Usually, replacing the broken zipper is not a Do It Yourself luggage repair work. Once the zipper is distorted beyond repair and requires replacement, it makes sense to have it replaced professionally.

  • Luggage Zipper Repair Guide

Of course, you can’t travel with luggage which has damaged or broken zipper. Once the zipper breaks or stops working while you’re moving, you often have an option instead of replacing the entire luggage. Therefore, it does not make sense to take a trip with a suitcase with a crooked zipper in the first place. If the zipper of your luggage is dodgy or the baggage is not opening or closing correctly, then it requires a repair.

  • Luggage Fabric Repair Tips

Tear and stains in the fabric are one of the most common Do It Yourself luggage repair. If the damage is minimal, you can sew it. Though, you might choose to glue it, most essentially for more significant tears. You must use glue intended for fabric.

Apply glue to the inside edge of the worn out fabric and the press the worn out edges jointly to close the slash. In case, there is still some gap, use glue down the seam on the exterior as well. Clean excess glue and let it dry completely before applying the luggage.

If the rip is large, then you may need to use scrap from matching fabric under the tear.

The most significant setback with hard case luggage is likely to be scratches and dents on the firm surface. To fix these dents in luggage made of metal like aluminum, tap the interior of the bags with a firm plank of wood until it pops back into shape.

You need to be extra careful though, and if you do it firmly, you can injure your luggage for good.

To repair the dents in the bag made from synthetic materials such as ABS, polycarbonate, and polypropylene, hold a hair dryer to the injured part. Heat the damaged part for about ten minutes. Then the heat must resolve the hollow, but if required you can use light pressure from at the back to assist the hollow to go back on.

How To Repair Luggage Wheels

Most broken or loose wheels can be replaced or fasten yourself easily.

The common issue with luggage wheels is they falling off or coming loose. You can fix this issue yourself. All you need to do is to fasten the wheel back on or screw the coils using a screwdriver.

Avoid tightening the coils or twists too fast because it can lead to cracking the wheels. The screw should be fastened decisively enough to make the luggage robust and sturdy once the wheeled around is fully packed. 

  • Tips to Replace the Wheels of your Luggage

Frequently wheels get broken or stuck and then you’ll need to replace them.

Your first step is to purchase a replacement wheel. Then put back the damaged one with the newly bought wheel. Usually, luggage wheels are fastened to the base of the bag with either rivets or screws.

Keep in mind that screws must be simple to remove or detach with a screwdriver. However, a rivet is more challenging.

If it is hard for you to the base of the rivet, then you may be capable of pulling it out, like for instance utilizing power drills. If you can’t get the base of the rivet, then you will face an issue. You might be capable of having the wheel replaced professionally, or you may need to replace the luggage.

Read more about cleaning luggage wheels here.

  • Guide Tips in Luggage Repair

Always try your bag after replacing or fastening luggage wheel. Ensure the wheels are flat or level and the luggage is strapping if you’re pulling it. An empty bag is always shaky so ensure you try the luggage with some grave or heavy stuff inside.

Some Other Useful Tips in Repairing You Luggage By Yourself


  1. Common luggage material like vinyl can be restored using cement most essentially made for vinyl. You can buy this from repair stores that fix clothes. It is reasonable than having a professional repair the bag. You tear off a piece of cement and stick it to the affected area. It’s like patching a hole in your roof.
  2. If the tear is big and cannot be fixed easily using the cement, you can also use both cement and vinyl patch. Buy vinyl patch and cut it off to the perfect size of the tear you’re fixing. Affix under the torn portion. Seal the area with the vinyl cement.
  3. If your luggage is made of leather, and it has a big rid or tears, you can try the same approach as tip #2. Buy leather patch and cut it into the perfect size which can be affixed to the affected part. Ensure it’s the same texture and color of leather to have a consistent look. Attach it using fabric glue. You can purchase this from the fabric store.
  4. In case there are dents in your hard-sized metal suitcase or metal luggage, open your bags and use a solid material like a plank of wood to knock the cut on the inside. You can try wrapping the wood in cloth first to keep away from the scratching the metal surface.
  5. A lot of broken handles can’t be fixed. You need to replace it. Buy a replacement handle. Get rid of the old handle of the luggage. You may need to loosen up screws or get rid of stitches. If you have eliminated the old one, fasten the new handle. Use the same bolt to secure the handle in place. If it needs to be covered by fabric, then purchase fabric similar to your luggage and then sew in on the bag.
  6. When repairing stuck zipper, try using a bit of greasy product on the zipper like soap to loosen it up. If bunches of fabric are stuck in the zipper, pry it off so you can open up the stuck zipper. Once it is crooked, you need to replace it right away. In case the bag is made of soft material, get rid of the stitches of the zipper and buy a replacement zipper with identical color and length. Sew up the new one to the luggage. If you have a hard-cased bag, you must have the zipper fixed by an expert.

One More Valuable Luggage Repair Tip: A Very Important One

It is extremely inconvenient if the bag stops working while you’re traveling. In most cases, you’ll have the tools or time to repair the bag yourself, so it only means that you need to purchase replacement luggage on the spot.

Therefore it is good practice to dirt free your luggage as soon as you arrive at home from your travels. By doing this, your bag will be in a right condition if you need it on your next trip. If you see anything risky on your luggage, like hard to close or open the zipper, or the telescoping handle mechanism is sticky, you have to fix it right away before it stops working. And keep in mind, at some point luggage might be beyond repair.  You have to accept it and purchase a replacement bag instead of risking your bag breaking down on you if you least need it.

What You Need to Fix Your Luggage and Where to Purchase

There are extensive selections of luggage repair kit available online. A good idea to have a repair kit available if you need it, here’s one kit I recommend.

Luggage is, and it is costly as well. So, it is essential to know how to repair your luggage to save money and to make the best out of your travel experience as well.

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Hi, I'm James Smith, I love traveling and always looking to optimize the traveling life to make it as comfortable and stress-free as possible. I especially love to nerd out about choosing the right luggage.

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