Broken or stuck zippers are a common problem, and many people believe that it means a handbag or a piece of luggage is no longer usable. There are other options besides throwing the whole bag away, such as fixing or replacing the broken or stuck zipper. Always try to fix the zippers first before replacing them, since there are a few easy fixes. People should learn how to repair and replace broken zippers, so that they do not have to get rid of their favorite black leather bag just because of a jammed zipper.
How to Fix a Problem with a Zipper on Luggage
There are a few main parts of a zipper: the slider, which moves up and down to open and close the garment; and the teeth, or the chain, which is on what the slider travels. The tape width, which may be referenced in some repairs, refers to the area between the teeth and the fabric of the purse or bag.
If the zipper is just stuck, the damage is likely not irreversible. The first thing to do is apply a lubricant over the teeth of the zipper. There are a variety of household items that can be used or else use a specialty product, such as WD-40. Apply a generous amount of lubricant right below the slider, then try to work the slider down so that it can run over the lubricated area. Work the slider on one side of the teeth, and then run it up and down the length of the zipper to make sure it is fully functional.
Another trick is to look for uneven or bent teeth along the track. The easiest way to check for this is to run your fingers over the entire zipper track to see if there are any areas that are raised, then take pliers to apply a little pressure over the area to bend the teeth back down into a uniform zipper track.
If the slider handle has snapped off completely, just purchase a souvenir key chain, threading the key chain ring into the zipper hole to make a handle. An even simpler solution is to find a paper clip. Straighten the paper clip and thread it through the slider hole, and then twist the two ends together for a makeshift slider handle.
These are solutions for minor zipper problems, but sometimes, the mechanism is broken beyond repair. When this happens, the only option is to replace the entire zipper itself. Making this repair or replacement to your luggage is less expensive than buying a whole new piece of luggage.
How to Do a Full Replacement
When it comes to replacing a zipper completely, there are a few tools needed to get the job done right.● Standard pliers
● Needle nose pliers
● Push pins
● Heavy thread
● Replacement zipper
First, remove the old slider by locating a pair of pliers to remove them. Two pairs of pliers are ideal. A needle-nose and standard pliers work best because some teeth are easier to grasp with needle-nose pliers than standard pliers.
Once you have pliers, the next step is to use the pliers to remove the old broken zipper by inserting the pliers into the space that grips the teeth. Then, apply a bit of vertical pressure to pry the slider away from the teeth. This is where two pliers come in handy: one set of pliers holds the zipper in place, while the other pair of pliers releases the slider from the teeth.
If you are unsuccessful in releasing the slider from the teeth, another option is removing the zipper stopper that is located at the very end or the very bottom of the chain. Typically, the zipper stopper is made out of a hard metal material, preventing the slider from sliding all the way off of the chain. Take the pliers and gently pry the stopper from the end of the chain, and slide the slider all of the way off the track.
Once the old zipper is removed, the next step is to install the new zipper. This is easily done by sliding the new slider over the end of the chain. The slider should secure the teeth together for a snug fit. Take the pliers to reattach the zipper stoppers with a little bit of pressure to bend the metal stopper back into place.
If the whole zipper track or the teeth needs replacing, there is no need to remove the slider. Just remove the entire zipper unit from the luggage by cutting out the entire zipper track. Be careful to cut in a straight line, leaving as much of the tape as possible. This makes it easier to attach the new zipper to the luggage.
Attaching a new zipper mechanism to the luggage requires a bit of craft. In most cases, the luggage is too bulky to sew together with a sewing machine so manual effort is used to sew on the new zipper. Remember that leather luggage requires specialty leather needles. The easiest way to attach the new zipper is to take some push pins and attach the new zipper to the tape, holding the new zipper in place while you sew it. Then, take a needle and thread to sew the new zipper on in a looping pattern. After the chain is sewn on, you can then attach the new slider.
Another solution for fixing or replacing a zipper on your luggage is purchasing a zipper fix kit. It is recommended that people keep an extra fix kit in their luggage at all times as they do not take up much space, and it can come in handy during travel. The fix kit contains a few sliders, handles, and an extra tape. The fix kit has everything needed to fix a broken zipper quickly.
Preventing a Broken Zipper on Luggage
One way to avoid a broken zipper is to take the necessary precautions ahead of time. Travel, especially air travel, is very hard on luggage and zippers because every piece of luggage goes through a series of automated sorting systems that bang and toss the luggage. Oftentimes, during the process, the zippers get caught on something along the way, causing them to break. Locking the zipper or tying the zipper up is a way to prevent this.
The easiest and cheapest way to lock the zipper, approved by the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) is to use a zipper tie, a thin piece of heavy duty plastic that threads through the zipper. One end of the zipper tie has teeth on it that accepts the other end of the zipper tie, so when looped through, the zipper tie locks down the zipper.
Be sure to check with the TSA ahead of time since it changes its rules and regulations often. It provides a list of the current approved devices for securing or locking zippers.
Buying Replacement Zipper Supplies on eBay
Travelers should not wait until a zipper breaks to purchase the supplies they need to repair and replace a broken zipper in case of an emergency. It is easy to build a zipper repair kit that can easily travel wherever you travel, so make a list of all necessary supplies beforehand. You can buy everything you need by searching on eBay for deals on the various items that are needed to either repair or replace a broken zipper. It has a great selection of the items you need for the zipper repair kit, all at very good, affordable prices. It saves you time and money as you can just order online and the items are shipped to your house. When possible, try to buy repair kits that are pre-assembled or items from the same seller, as this saves on shipping costs. As a last measure, buyers should be certain that the replacement zipper they purchase is the right size for their luggage, since they are often much longer than people suspect.
The basic steps involved in fixing, replacing, and preventing broken zippers are easy for anyone to learn. There is nothing worse than reaching a destination or being in the middle of an outdoor camping trip, only to find out that the zipper is broken. A broken zipper means that the contents of the suitcase are now in jeopardy of being lost, since the suitcase is no longer secure.
When the zipper breaks, the only remaining solution is to try to fix the zipper as soon as possible. Being prepared means having a zipper repair kit with you at all times, making it easy to fix the zipper right on the spot so that you can get back to enjoying your trip.
If you do not have a zipper repair kit or any means to replace the broken zipper, do not panic. There are other solutions available. Most airport locations have services available to repair and replace broken zippers on luggage for a small fee. eBay is a great online resource to shop for zipper fixer kits, saving you time and money so that you can spend time enjoying your trip instead.