Updated: Nov 23, 2019
Our wheels have been on their way out for a while now. Do you have this problem??
Not just on one of our bags but all four of our bags. After checking if the brands we own offer any help with wheels, i.e. replacements, they don't, but worth checking with them first.
If they don't, as I see it you have three main options (I am sure there are others but...):
1. Donate/recycle it - someone else out there will fix it
2. Throw it away - then it goes to landfill (trying to avoid polluting the earth)
3. Replace wheels yourself - not as hard as you may think, interested? Read on
Here is my guide to replacing the wheels yourself. I have even managed to make a short video, of how to do this, fingers-crossed it makes sense to you!
I will explain how step by step, in the order that worked for me. FYI - I had a terrible first attempt. Here goes:
1. No branded (i.e. Samsonite, Tripp, Antler, etc.) replacement wheels - check first that this is the case, and if not, check whether there are any unbranded/generic wheels available for your brand of suitcase. I did find through my searches that some brands do have unofficial replacements. I mostly used Amazon and eBay to search for wheels. Samsonite do not have any for the model I have. Tip - before you buy anything read the reviews from people who bought a particular wheel. I found this invaluable, as to whether they would work with my bag!
2. Wheel size - I suggest, the easiest and most accurate way to work this out, is to take your wheel off first. I did it without taking it off and the measurements were wrong - I had to start my search over again. The photo below shows you what you need to measure.
3. Removing the wheel - my wheels were the sort that were completely attached to the outside of the bag. If yours are the same or similar, use a hacksaw to saw through the axle. The axle is the metal piece that goes through the middle of the wheel. A hacksaw is a simply a saw that cuts through metal. They aren't expensive. See the photos and video.
4. Measure all parts of the wheel - it is easier to see in the photo below (these are the measurements for my bag -yours will/may be different). Really important to get these right, if any part is too big or too small your bag will not roll! If your wheels are as damaged as mine were, you will need to be extra careful to get the size right. The wheel diameter will probably measure smaller because of the damage. Tip - Make allowances for that and check against the undamaged wheels as best you can.
5. Size - the difficulty I found was finding a set of wheels with small replacement axle length but there are a lot of choices once you know your measurements. The set I bought, above, were for a different branded suitcase, in the end, but you can also use skateboard wheels. Most important, is to get the right size wheel parts, be it called a suitcase wheel or skateboard wheel! Tip - size matters, measure carefully.
6. Putting the new wheel on your bag - this so easy after all the rest is done! And the best part is, if you have to replace it you only need to unscrew it, no hacksaw required. Tip - save the allen (or Hex) keys (this is the tool you get with the wheel to screw it on -see below) from the wheel set. Tip - If you lose them they are easy to buy at a hardware store.
7. Travel - it is now very important to test your handy work! You don't have to go far... Happy rolling!
Hopefully, this, the photos and the video, enable you to successfully change your wheels, renew rather than replace. For me it was very satisfying! Cost was £6.00 for two wheels, bargain.
If you have anything to add or any questions?
Please get in touch!
A very special thanks to my friend Bianca (helped me think this through) and my daughter Amanda (for filming the clips)!