Many of us have faced this dilemma…we go to return the handle into the case and nothing happens…it’s stuck fast or we can’t get the damn thing to come up. Today I look at how to fix luggage handle that is stuck.
Before you even consider thinking of fixing your suitcase, refer back to the warranty when you first bought it. Some manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty which covers incidents like this. They will often repair it at no cost. This is the ideal solution so investigate this first.
As frustrating as this is, there are things you can do to see if you can fix it. Many people mistakenly believe that it is permanently broken and the suitcase is disposed of.
This is a mistake, you can fix it. Luggage mechanisms are pretty basic things. They are not the strongest however hence why they often ‘get stuck’ or worse break.
The parts tend to be generic too so they can be replaced but even if they are not, you can often get spare parts to replace the problematic parts you have identified. Have a look on eBay and Amazon first as they will often be cheaper than having to buy direct from the manufacturer.
There is a process you need to follow to identify what the issue may be. When they get stuck, they are often in the open position…as in the handle is extended but won’t budge, or the closed position…where the handle wont even come out.
So, as obvious as it sounds…identify which of the two is the issue.
The first thing you need to identify is what the issue may well be. This means you need to take a closer look. Try some of the following:
- Can you press the tab down in the handle which releases the mechanism?
- Does the tab spring back?
- Does the handle look like it is stuck in the holder?
- Open the case and expose the handle sliders running down the back of the suitcase. Are they bent in any kind of way or damaged? Are the pins which determine the height and lock into place stuck…are they still springy?
These are the things you need to look at initially. Once you have done this, you are in a better position to know what to do next.
What to do if the handle is stuck in a closed position
This is often the easiest fix and the solution is so simple.
People often find themselves tearing their hair out at this trying all sorts of strange things to resort to fixing it.
The solution is simple. Take a flat headed screwdriver and slide between the push tab and the back of the frame. This should loosen it and it should return to functioning normally.
Here is a video demonstrating this perfectly.
What to do if the handle is stuck in the open position
There may be a couple of reasons why the telescopic handle may be stuck in the open position. Essentially it may come down to two reasons.
- The pins in the telescopic handle are getting stuck in their position holes
- The telescopic poles are not touching the trigger mechanism in the handle
Let me now tell you what you need to do if you have these issues.
Pins in the telescopic handle are getting stuck
The solution to this is relatively simple but it does involve opening up the suitcase so set aside at least thirty minutes or so.
You need to expose the telescopic runners inside the suitcase. To do this, in most cases this involves a zip at the base inside the suitcase. Unzip this and you will see the internal frame and the runners for the handle.
The next step is to push the trigger on the handle and see what happens. The pins, if functioning properly should move in and out.
In some cases, they get stuck in the little holes that hold the position of the handle. Clearly this is where the issue is.
The solution to this is simple…sellotape. Simply wind the tape around the holes so that the pin cannot fix into the holes. This means that the pin is retained within the telescopic hole.
This will prevent it getting stuck and should free the handle to move inside and out. Assuming that the other side is running free and functioning as it should, this side will trap the height of the telescopic pole.
In an ideal world, both sides would do this but they can function almost as well with one side activated.
Another method that I am told works…albeit I have never tried is to make the holes in the telescopic poles larger to make sure they can move freely in and out.
To do this, you can use a drill or a file. Whatever method you use, you are making the holes slightly larger…a marginal increase. This should give the pins a little more flexibility to move in and out.
Telescopic poles are not touching the trigger mechanism
In some cases, the internal trigger mechanism in the handle may move which means that it is no longer touching the telescopic pole.
This means that it will not operate it. In most cases, it is one side that is the issue, rarely both.
The solution is to open the handle. In the vast majority of cases, this involves opening a few screws in the handle frame at the top of the suitcase.
Simply undo them, and have a look at the wire…does it sit in the handle or is it stuck in any kind of way? In most cases a ‘rough’ wire can be the issue. You may need to smooth this with a file and re-insert it into the handle.
This should be enough to fix the issue.
In some cases, the handle may not be touching the telescopic handle, therefore not moving it up and down.
The solution here is to place some tape in the handle internally where the telescopic pole sits. This will help the handle touch the telescopic pole.
The video below gives a great example of how to go about this. Sometimes its easier to watch the video compared to reading instructions in words.
Summary of how to fix luggage handle that is stuck
I hope I have given you some indication of how to fix luggage handle that is stuck.
The key thing to remember is that it is a relatively simple mechanism but they have a few points that can go wrong over time.
You can fix this. Your luggage is not ready for the garbage just yet. Examine and explore, you will find a fix and extend the usage of your ‘broken’ suitcase.
Let me know how you got on in the comments section. If you have any alternatives, let us know. I’m sure there are lots of things you can do to deal with even the most obscure issues.