Wheels and zippers are the two weakest elements of our luggage. By the way, the wheeled suitcase or luggage was invented in 1970. In this other article, I already told you how easy it is to open zippered luggage with a pen, even if you have a lock. In the same post, I explained 4 possible solutions so that nobody can open our luggage. Now that you know the weakness of the zippers, they can also break. And it is a task if it catches you in the middle of the trip. But tranquility. Do not buy a new suitcase. The zipper can be repaired or replaced by another.
Let’s see how it’s done.
The broken or jammed zippers are a common problem. Many travelers believe that this setback means that you can no longer use your bag or suitcase.
There are other options, besides throwing the luggage in the trash, like changing or replacing the broken or stuck zipper.
First always try to fix the zipper before changing it, since there are some arrangements that are easy.
You must learn to know how to repair and change the broken zippers so you don’t have to get rid of your favorite luggage just because of a stuck zipper.
How to solve a minor problem of a zipper of a luggage
Before we get to fix the zipper of a luggage we must know what the main parts of a zipper are:
Cursor: Consists of the shooter, the bridge and the body
Puller: is the element we pull to open or close the zipper. If it breaks, it is easy to fix it
Body: is responsible for joining or detaching teeth
Bridge: it is the part that joins the shooter with the body (it tends to break easily)
Teeth: they are inside the tape and the cursor is responsible for opening and closing them
Tape: is the tissue that goes between the teeth and the fabric of the suitcase
Bumpers: all zippers have a top and bottom bumper so that the cursor does not come out
If the zipper is only stuck, the damage is reversible.
The first thing you should do is apply a lubricant on the teeth of the zipper.
There are a variety of household items that can be used. For example, the bath gel works very well (then it dries the zipper teeth very well so that they do not oxidize). Machine oil also works.
Apply a generous amount just below the sliding body, then try to lower or raise it so that it can pass over the lubricated area.
Act with the sliding body on one side of the teeth and then move it up and down along the zipper to make sure it works again.
It may also happen that the teeth of the rack are uneven or crooked.
The easiest way to check it is to run your fingers through the zipper to see if there are raised areas.
If so, take a pair of tweezers or pliers and apply a little pressure on the affected area to bend the teeth until the zipper becomes even again.
If the shooter broke, make use of that key-chain that you bought one day on a trip and you have never used it.
Put the key ring on the bridge of the body of the zipper and you will have a new handle.
You can also use a clip. It may not have the same consistency as the key-chain trick, but at least it will help you get out of the way.
These are solutions for minor problems of a zipper, but sometimes, the mechanism breaks without any possibility of repair.
When this happens, the only option is to replace the entire zipper.
Changing the zip will always be less expensive than buying luggage. Try to do it before purchasing a new one and always keep in mind the measurements of the luggage that each airline has.
How to change the zipper of a suitcase or luggage
When it comes to changing a zipper some tools are necessary :
- Standard pliers
- Needle nose pliers
- Spare zip
Remove the zipper body from the suitcase
First, you have to remove the old sliding body of the zipper. Two pairs of pliers are ideal for this job.
Both needle nose pliers and standard pliers are necessary because some teeth are easier to grasp with fine nose pliers than standard pliers. Although if you do not have fine nose pliers nothing happens.
Take the body of the zipper with the pliers, apply light pressure and remove the body from the zipper.
This is where two pliers are useful: pliers hold the zipper in place, while the other releases the sliding body of the teeth.
If you cannot release the sliding body of the teeth, another option is to remove the zipper closures that are located at the upper and lower end.
Normally, the zipper stop is made of hard metal which prevents the body from sliding completely out of the guide.
Take the pliers, pry the stop at the end of the chain and slide the body out of the teeth.
Place the new zipper body
Once you have removed the old zipper body, the next step is to install the new one.
To do this, slide the new body over the end of the chain. The body must secure the teeth together for a perfect fit.
Take the pliers to replace the zipper stop. It will only take a little pressure to put the closure back in place.
Change the zipper of the suitcase
If the entire zipper has to be replaced, it is not necessary to remove the sliding body.
In this case, remove the entire zipper from the suitcase by cutting the entire track with scissors. Be careful to cut straight and leave as much tape as possible. This will facilitate the placement of the new zipper in the suitcase.
Placing a new zipper requires a bit of skill.
In most cases, the suitcase is too bulky to sew with a sewing machine, so you must do it by hand.
Remember that leather bags require special leather needles.
Sew the new zipper over the old tape. It will take you a little time, but it is better than buying a new suitcase.
After sewing the zipper, place the new sliding body. And you will have the zipper ready again.
Zip repair kit
One solution to fix or replace a zipper in your suitcase is to buy a zip repair kit.
It is advisable to have a zipper repair kit in your suitcase, since it costs very little, does not take up much space and can be very useful during a trip.
This repair kit contains 86 pieces: sliding bodies and handles of different sizes, lower and upper plugs, and pliers.
This repair kit has everything you need to fix a broken rack quickly.
How to anticipate a broken zipper before traveling
One way to avoid a broken zipper is to take the necessary precautions in advance.
Travel, especially air travel, is complicated for zippers because each piece of luggage goes through a series of automated sorting systems that hit the luggage.
Often, during the process, the zippers get caught somewhere along the way so they can break. Locking the zipper or tying the zipper up is a way to avoid problems.
The basic steps to repair, replace and prevent broken zippers are easy for anyone to learn.
There is nothing worse than arriving at a destination or being in the middle of a trip and discovering that the zipper is broken. A broken zipper means that the contents of the suitcase are in danger of being lost.
When the zipper breaks, the only solution is to try to repair it as soon as possible.
Being prepared means having a zipper repair kit at all times, which facilitates the repair of the zipper so you can enjoy your trip again.
If you don’t have a zip repair kit or some means to replace it, don’t worry.
There are other solutions available.
Many airports have services available to repair and replace broken zippers for a small fee.
Or you can buy a safety belt to get out of the way.
You also have a few luggage accessories that can help you.
Everything, to have a pleasant and trouble-free trip.