Many people tend to throw away a suitcase with broken wheels. However, in most cases, changing the wheels is simple and quick. All you need to know is the brand and type of wheel in the suitcase to make the change. In order not to go beyond your budget, change the wheel instead of buying a new suitcase.
Method 1 of 3: Organizing the Suitcase to Change the Wheel
Step 1. Clean casters before replacing
Some casters sometimes stop working because they are covered in dirt or debris. Clean them with a damp cloth and see if there is anything stuck in the wheel. If there is, make the switch. In some cases, a good cleaning and removal of debris trapped in the wheel will solve the problem.
If you wash the casters, you will have a clean surface to work on
Step 2. Turn the suitcase upside down on a flat surface
Choose a place where the suitcase can be level while you work - it could be a table or a counter. Rotate the case with the wheels facing up to check the condition of the wheel to be replaced.
Putting your suitcase on the floor is a good alternative if you have to make an emergency exchange when you are not at home
Step 3. Find out if the case is screwed or riveted
This will determine the wheel replacement method. Bolt-on wheels are secured by small screws on both sides. The riveted ones are fixed in the center.
Know what type of wheels you have to buy the proper repair materials
Step 4. Buy a wheel of the same size and brand as the previous one
The replacement wheel will lock and work better if it is the same type as the original. If in doubt, call the manufacturer for more information on the wheel design of the trunk.
- If you buy the wrong size, it may not be possible to install or the case may tip to one side because the wheel sizes are different.
- Another option is to use roller skates or skateboards (such as the Rollerblade) as a replacement part. Use roller skates or skateboards the same size as the old one.
Method 2 of 3: Replacing the Bolted Casters
Step 1. Unscrew the wheel fixing screws
Check where the screws are located. Use a screwdriver to remove the screws. If they're not damaged, don't discard them - you'll probably also get some screws in the kit in addition to the replacement wheel, but it's okay to reuse the old screws if necessary.
Step 2. Push the pin that holds the wheel into the case
After unscrewing the case, you'll notice that the only object that keeps the wheel locked in the case is a metal pin attached to a screw on each side. Pull out the pin and screws and leave them in a corner in case you need to use them again.
The pin is probably located in the center of the wheel
Step 3. Remove the damaged wheel and install the new one
Remove and discard the old wheel. Put the new one in your hole and test it out. If it is securely fastened, screw the wheel into the case.
- The wheel hole is the one where the old wheel was fitted.
- You will know you bought the wrong size wheel if it gets too tight or too loose.
Step 4. Attach and screw the wheel to the case
Place screws on both sides of wheel and slide pin to secure object. Use the screwdriver to tighten the screws into place. Test the new wheel by sliding the bag back and forth - if it slides smoothly, this is a sign that the replacement was successful.
Tighten screws if wheel is loose. If it still hangs or doesn't move, you probably bought the wrong size
Method 3 of 3: Replacing the Riveted Wheels
Step 1. Put on the protective eyewear and ear protector
Use a saw bow to work with riveted wheels. Before handling the saw bow, put on your protective goggles. Also wear ear plugs or a noise canceling headphone if your ear is very sensitive.
Riveted wheels are more difficult to change than bolted ones
Step 2. Saw the rivet with the saw bow
Slide the rivet end of the case with the saw bow. Use a screwdriver to separate the old rivet and the bearings or washers that hold the wheel.
- Remove the old wheel from the hole. Discard the old wheel and keep the bearings and washers.
- Store bearings and washers somewhere while installing new wheel.
Step 3. Place the old bearings on the new wheel
Insert a bearing on each side of the wheel. This will keep it locked while you fit it into the hole.
Step 4. Insert the new wheel into the case
Place the replacement wheel in the hole and thread a two-inch screw through the wheel and bearing. Fit a washer on both sides of the screw to secure it in place.
Step 5. Tighten the nut and test the new wheel
Screw the nut onto the end of the bolt to finish the job of securing the new wheel. Test it out by moving the suitcase back and forth on a flat surface. If the case slides smoothly, the wheel fits correctly.
Tighten the nut again if the case becomes too loose. However, if the wheel doesn't move or remains slack, you may have purchased the wrong size
- Contact specialized luggage repair shops if you tried to change the wheel, but it didn't work. Ask if the store has any employees available to do the work.
- Call the suitcase manufacturer for more information on the type of wheel and the best method for changing it.