Here are some quick tips to repairing butane lighters and flint lighters that are not working or sparking
I've decided to write down some of the techniques that I have used over the years to help customers fix their butane lighters that have become broken or just simply don't work anymore.
These suggestions work about 95% of the time. If they don't work for you, buy a new lighter.
Like with any mechanical device, from time to time you need to give your lighter a tune-up for optimum performance.
Now, here are some little known techniques :
Type of butane fuel you are using:
Just like with the gasoline for your car, some butane fuels are cleaner than others. Choose a butane fuel that has been recommended for jet torch or flameless lighters. The brands I recommend are Zippo BLU ,Lucienne (quadruple refined),Colibri Butane, Prometheus Butane or Dunhill butane. They seem to be the cleanest and work better than others. Additionally, I recommend that you never use most of the other brands most often found at a drugstore. Your local tobacconist or premium lighter retailer should have premium butanes in stock.
What's the difference in butanes? Well, the difference is the amount of oil present in the butane. The higher the oil content in the butane, the quicker your lighter will gum up.
Just a little bit of common sense prevails here. If you put oil in your butane lighter, the oil will eventually clog up the butane release valve. Your lighter will not light properly if the butane valve is stopped up with oil or any other foreign matter. (The butane release valve, as I call it, is the place where the butane comes out to be ignited and cause a flame).
Refueling your butane lighter:
Always bleed your butane tank before refueling. Bleeding your butane tank releases all the air that has been trapped in the tank and any unused butane that hasn't been used.
Again, some common sense really works here. Butane is a gas and it has to be tranfered from the butane cannister to your lighter through the fill valve on your lighter. Just remember that you must first bleed the air and old butane (if any left) out of the lighter's fuel tank so that the residual air/butane in your lighters butane tank wont displace the amount of new butane fuel the lighter can hold. Consequently, your lighter won't light or will "sputter" and the less it will light if air is present. Remember, air doesn't necessarily ignite by itself. The proper mix of butane and air works perfectly every time.
Here is how to bleed your butane tank on your lighter. Turn your lighter upside down, and using a small screwdriver or some other small metal device (never use a ball point pen because the ink will blow out all over the place), depress the refill valve on your lighter. Let all the air and butane escape.
Use some common sense here. Always bleed your butane lighter tank away from any flames and people and please do not smoke when you are doing this. You could catch something on fire.
If your butane lighter has a flame adjustment valve, turn the valve to its lowest level. Sometimes lighters have a "memory" and if you do not turn the lighter adjustment valve down when refueling, the lighter might "remember" that this is the lowest setting. Your adjustment valve may not work properly and the flame may be too low for you.
Quartz lighters not sparking:
At times your quartz butane lighter may not spark and ignite the butane when you depress the ignition button. (You know the clicker) If you hear a click, then the quartz is working. If you do not hear a click when you depress the ignition button you need to buy a new lighter as it will no longer work.
Look and see if the lighter is sparking. Please be careful and keep the lighter away from your face when you try this. It may ignite and burn you.
If the lighter is sparking, then check to see if it is sparking towards the butane release valve. If it is not sparking towards the butane release valve, this is why the lighter doesn't work. The spark is not igniting the butane. Again, using a small screwdriver readjust the electrode. (The electrode, as I call it, is the little wire where the spark comes out). Be careful and adjust the electrode wire towards the middle where the butane release valve is. Little adjustments are all that is needed. After each adjustment, try lighting the lighter. If you break the electrode you will need to buy a new lighter.
Flint lighters not sparking:
Always check to see if you have a flint in the lighter. If you don't, then put a new flint in and your lighter will probably work. If you do have a flint and your lighter is still not sparking, then try turning the flint around to the side that has not been used.
Also, look at the flint wheel (this is the little steel wheel with tiny raised spots that rub against the flint to cause a spark). Is it "gummed" up? If so, take a brush, like a toothbrush (one that you won't use again of course) and brush the flint wheel to get all the flint residue cleaned off.
Another possible reason for a flint lighter to stop working is that the flint may not be connecting with the flint wheel. If this is the case, simply take the flint out and stretch the flint spring a little bit.Caution: do not over stretch the spring.
Vintage Butane Lighters
90% of old Vintage Butane Lighters will need NEW seals . You can look online for a place to send for repair or try to replace the seals yourself. The seals get old and brittle over time !!! Be aware of this when purchasing Vintage Butane Lighters Online- More than likely it will not work unless it has been serviced- Look for photos and Stated working Lighter in the description listing . Most sellers who have working lighters actually show a picture of it working. Dont assume it will work unless stated by a reputable seller with positive feedback.
VINTAGE FLINT LIGHTER
The most common reason for a Vintage Flint lighter to not work is the old vintage flint gets fused into the flint tube. This can cause damage to the lighter and render it a NON working lighter if the flint tube gets split or damaged from the pressure of the expanding flint over time (worst case scenario). Most of the time 90% it has not done damage and can be readily removed if you know what you are doing. To remove the fused flint it takes knowledge of taking apart the lighter. Most lighters have a curved flint tube so removal of the fused flint will require to take the lighter apart. I always try to access the problem flint from the top of the lighter as that is where it gets fused in. You sometimes have to actually use a dremel and a tiny drill bit on the really bad ones. Most of the time you can just take a small long thin screwdriver or a rod (PAPER clip) that will fit and pick the old flint out (will turn to powder). Sometimes you have to push hard to get it to break up... I then use compressed canned air to blow out the flint tube to clear the remaining powder and flint. Make sure to Take the flint screw and spring and test that it goes all the way in from the bottom before you put the lighter back together ... I offer a service on Ebay to remove the fused and stuck flints as I have alot of experience and have made special tools to remove and not hurt the lighter in any way... Please see my listings for the service !!!
Always use a quality flint in your lighter. I prefer Ronson or Zippo Flints as they always work great.
If all else fails then hey, you can always buy a new lighter !!!!
Cleaning your lighter:
From time to time your lighter needs to be cleaned. Take a cotton swab or a pipe cleaner and wipe it around the area where the flame comes out. Be careful to do this when the lighter doesn't have a flame, after all, you could catch the cotton swab or pipe cleaner on fire. You can also use some Nevr-dull wadding polish to polish up the metal as it is non abrasive and will remove dirt and grime from the outside. I dont recommend cleaning the outside of most vintage lighters as it will remove the wonderful patina that has been created over time and collectors like the antique original look that it may have from being old.
After cleaning this area, gently blow out any dirt, dust, or tobacco particles .I use canned compressed air. Again, please be careful and don't do this when the lighter has a flame.
Buying a new lighter:
When you are shopping for a lighter, I always suggest that you buy a flint type lighter because they tend to work more often than not and they simply last forever.
Please see my Auctions for Vintage Lighters. All my lighters have been tested and are working unless noted in the listing description .
Please feel free to leave comments or contact me if you have any questions . If this has been helpful to you, please vote on it !!!
Sparks of Time Vintage Lighters and Collectibles