How to Repair Luggage Wheels

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How to Repair Luggage Wheels

Deciding whether to repair or replace wheels on luggage depends on the severity of the damage. Most luggage wheels are made of hard plastic with a rubber coating. When the coating of a wheel chips off, the luggage rolls noisily and may be difficult to pull. Plastic epoxies and other types of coatings can fix this problem.

However, when the wheels fall off or when the mounting loses its hold, owners can replace the damaged parts. There is also a process that allows DIYers to do away with replacement wheels. Knowing the types of repair or replacement of luggage wheels allows owners to extend the life of their luggage.

Materials for Repairing the Luggage Wheels

The materials for repairing luggage wheels can vary depending on the situation or wheel type. DIYers may only need plastic epoxy as the main material or may have to purchase replacement wheels along with other components.


Type of Repair/Replacement


Damaged Coating of Plastic Wheels

Repair with Epoxy

Plastic epoxy; popsicle stick or similar item; small disposable container

Broken Wheels (No Replacement Wheel)

Repair with Duct Tape

Duct tape; electrical tape; carpet knife

Broken Wheels Have Rivets

Replacement Using a Drill

Drill with a bit slightly larger than rivet on wheel; new rivets; washers; replacement wheels

Broken Wheels Have Screws

Regular Replacement

Washers; replacement wheels

Repairing luggage wheels whether they have rivets or screws can be an easy process. DIYers who do not want replacement wheels can even create makeshift wheels of their own. Each process requires certain steps, and getting to know those steps helps steer DIYers in the right direction.

Repairing Damaged Coating with Epoxy

For a luggage wheel with damaged coating, plastic epoxy can solve the problem. To start repairing luggage wheels with epoxy, in a small container mix equal parts of the two epoxy liquids that come in a package with a popsicle stick or similar item. DIYers should apply the epoxy mix immediately as it hardens quickly.

Using the popsicle stick or other type of flat stick, fill the cracks with the epoxy mix and spread some more on the surface to level with the wheel coating. Allow the epoxy to set up as instructed in the package. The epoxy should dry transparent.

Repairing Broken Luggage Wheels with Duct Tape

DIYers can choose to replace a missing wheel with a roll of duct tape. To begin, start a tear in the duct tape so that it has a width sufficient to cover the wheel. Slap the tape onto the metal core that held the wheel, then roll the metal core to feed it with the tape, while ensuring that the unused part of the tape is still useful later. DIYers can have three strips from one width of duct tape. Continue to feed the metal core with tape until it is as thick or has the same diameter as the other wheel.

If the custom wheel rubs on the frame of the travelling bag, DIYers can bevel the edges with a carpet knife. Finally, wrap a layer of electrical tape to the custom wheel so it is black and resembles the other wheel. The electrical tape also covers the bevelled edge of the custom wheel so it is not sticky as it rolls along.

Repairing by Replacing the Wheels

The replacement luggage wheels should be the same size as the old wheels, and ideally the same type. Replacement wheels can come as original equipment manufacturer (OEM) wheels or as wheels with a universal fit.

Before starting the replacement process, DIYers need to determine the best way to access the wheel mountings. Some luggage has wheel mountings right inside the suitcase while others have a lining inside that DIYers need to uncover. A zipper or Velcro generally secures the linings; in some luggage, however, the lining is solid and DIYers must pick out the seams. After accessing the mountings, users can mount the wheels with one of two hardware items:rivets or screws.

Mounting Wheels with Rivets

To secure the wheels with rivets, DIYers need a drill with a bit slightly larger than the rivet on the luggage. Begin by drilling the end of each rivet while making sure not to enlarge the hole in the luggage casing itself. By pushing the rivet out, DIYers can remove the broken wheel. Then mount the new rivets from the outside of the luggage case to secure the new wheel. Finally, slide over a washer to the shaft of the rivet to ensure it does not slide through the case.

Mounting Wheels with Screws

Remove the nut inside the luggage compartment and then push off the small clip that holds the wheel to remove both the bolt and the wheel. Insert the new wheel in the wheel well and place washers on both sides. Next, replace the clip and ensure that the wheel is back in its original position before tightening the nut back onto the bolt.

How to Buy Luggage Wheels and Repair Items on eBay

eBay has a lot of luggage wheels and repair items to offer. Given the variety, however, buyers need to ensure that the replacement luggage wheels they are buying are the right size for their luggage. Some eBay sellers, including top-rated sellers, may offer free shipping. Buyers can also visit eBay's Deals page to find discounted items.

Wheels are prone to damage because they are the most used parts of the bag. A damaged plastic wheel coating only requires epoxy, while wheels that are beyond repair may need replacement wheels along with other hardware and tools. Owners who know how to repair or replace damaged luggage wheels can extend the life of their luggage and still enjoy it when they travel.

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