How Luggage Wheels Get Damaged
While wheels and handles on luggage make maneuvering simpler, they also protrude out from the edge of the suitcase. This makes them more prone to damage during travel. For instance, during air travel, all the luggage goes into a small area beneath the plane. Handlers have a limited amount of time to get everything loaded, so luggage does not generally get the best treatment. Wheels can incur damage from bumps and drops during this ordeal.
Determining Whether to Repair or Replace
When luggage wheels get damaged, the owner has to decide whether to repair or replace them. Luggage wheels are generally made of hard plastic covered by a rubber coating that keeps them operating smoothly and quietly. When this coating is damaged, the suitcase rolls noisily and may even be more difficult to pull. Owners can use some plastic epoxies and other coatings to fix the surface of the wheel. When the wheel falls off or the mounting incurs damage, naturally, the owner needs to replace them.
How to Replace Luggage Wheels
Replacement luggage wheels are simple to install. First, owners need to gather a few essential tools and supplies.
New wheels for suitcase
Use genuine replacement parts for a specific brand of luggage or those with a universal fit
Screwdriver and wrench
Use to remove and replace bolts that mount wheels on some luggage
Use to remove old rivets
Rivet gun and rivets
Use for mounting replacement wheels
Once the materials are ready, the process can begin. The first step is to determine the best way to mount the wheels. Open the suitcase and check inside. On some luggage, the wheels mount right inside the suitcase. Others may have a lining inside. Owners must open this lining to access the wheel mountings. A zipper or Velcro generally secures these linings. If the lining is solid, pick out the seams in order to access the mountings. Mount the wheels using screws or rivets. The replacement process is slightly different depending on the mounting.
Wheels Secured with Screws
When mounting with screws, the wheels have a nut to remove inside the luggage compartment. A small clip holds the wheel on. Push it off to remove the bolt and wheel. Place the new wheel in the wheel well, and put a washer on each side. Replace the clip and secure the wheel assembly back into its original position. Tighten the nut back onto the bolt. Once the replacement wheel is secure, make sure to test the luggage. This ensures the wheel is on tightly and does not wobble or break.
Wheels Secured with Rivets
This process requires more work, but owners can still complete the project at home. The user needs a drill with a bit slightly larger than the rivet on the luggage. Drill the end of each rivet carefully, ensuring not to enlarge the hole in the luggage casing itself. Then push the rivet out and remove the broken wheel. Now mount the new rivets from the exterior of the luggage case to hold the new wheel in place. A washer slid over the shaft of the rivet on the interior ensures it does not slide through the case.