Repair Broken Luggage Wheels With Duct Tape





Introduction: Repair Broken Luggage Wheels With Duct Tape

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The wheel on my favorite carry-on bag had a chunk come off of it one one trip and it wasn't too many trips later that the plastic part of the wheel came off completely, leaving behind the little metal core that housed the bearings. This left me scraping through the terminal and carrying the bag through anyone's house as to not leave a trail of scrape marks behind me. Other than the wheel the bag was in fine shape so I hated to throw the thing away. Here's what I did to repair it. You can see this repair and more than 300 others at my website at

Step 1: Bum Wheel

Here's what I eventually was left with on my carry-on bag--a bum wheel. It changed the meaning of carry on to "always carry" because the thing sat crooked and was obnoxiously noisy too. Now, if you only have a chunk out of your wheel like I did originally you may need to go ahead and put the thing out of it's misery and just pry off the rest of the wheel so you are left with a round base. I don't think you can do anything with the lumpy wheel unless you want to try to build it up with something but that's for another instructable.

Step 2: Wrap the Metal Core With Strips of Duct Tape

If your wheel is missing like mine, and what you have is uniform shaped:
Start a tear in the duct tape so that the strip is just the right width to cover the wheel. You can tear off about two revolutions of the duct tape and then it begins to get too narrow. For me I was able to get three strips from one width of duct tape. Wrap up the wheel until it is the same diameter as the other wheel.

If your wheel is lopsided:
In the case of a lopsided wheel you'll need to either break off the remaining wheel or return the wheel to round shape (which is a whole other deal) if you're going to repair it the way I did.

Step 3: Bevel Edges If Necessary

My final wheel was a bit square and it rubbed on the frame of the bag so I beveled off the edges with a carpet knife.  Be careful not to cut yourself.

Step 4: Add a Final Layer of Electrical Tape for Looks

I added a layer of electrical tape to cover up the beveled edge of the duct tape so it wouldn't be so sticky as it rolled along and to make it black, like the other wheel.  I'd apply the tape in the direction so the natural direction the wheel rolls will want to help the tape stay on versus wanting to lift it up.

Step 5: Ready to Roll, Again

Now you've breathed life into your old bag. If you like this instructable please visit my website at for more fun repairs :)



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    35 Discussions

    Awesome! I love your sense of continuing to use something, not just throwing it away because it's "easier" just to buy a new bag. I feel that our society as a whole has become to used to the idea of "disposable". Great fix, and great Ible.

    1 reply

    Thanks for the feedback. I see stuff like this as a fun opportunity to come up with a solution, write about it, and interact with people on all the other ideas I could have used to solve it!

    a phrase go to heaven and come to earth can mean a person even if they dont understand something they can search or find the answers that will certify them on what they are looking for, however some might take it as a bad thing but it means they must do all they can to find information to certify themselves

    Thanks so much I was thinking of what to do with mine. Not long after I brought it burned out on me LOL

    1 reply

    Well, I'm happy to report that we took the bag on it's first trip and it worked great. All the way from Chicago to Phoenix and back.

    Duct Tape Wheel In Action.jpg

    I have yet to find out but I will update the post when I find out. Duct tape likes to dry out so this isn't a permanent solution for sure.

    damn, Macgyver would be proud son, i would have removed the rivets and put rollerblades or skate or similar wheels and fixed them with nut and bolt

    May I suggest that you always leave the bag with its wheels _off_ the ground, as I think the wheel will deform progressively if left with weight on it ?

    1 reply

    That's a good idea and, in fact, I store this bag on a hook in a closet under our stairs so the wheel will be resting in the meantime.

    A chunk broke out of one of my bags wheels, and I filled in the depression with Sugru.
    It's been a year and the bag is still rolling like new.

    1 reply

    Mine has a huge chunk out of it so it goes 'clackety clackety clackety' across any hard surface. The rest of it, like yours, is in too good a shape to throw away. I would like to see an update on how this worked out for you after your next trip.

    1 reply

    I will definitely keep everyone posted on how the wheel handles on the first trip. I don't know when that will be though. I walk 5 blocks to work, maybe I'll have to load it up and drag it there just for the love of science :) That wouldn't be the same experience as the mostly slick smooth floors of an airport though.

    very clever, but a lot of work for a temporary fix -- how about a more permanent fix like wheels from here: or here:, or here: you should be able to find a size that matches.

    Well, I'm not going to claim success yet, it hasn't even gone on a trip, but it will get me there without having to carry the crippled thing, and I'll update the results when I get them :)

    I have the same problem and the suitcase was expensive. We had many many trips but not buying a new one and repairing our existing is just what I need. Thanks for the tip!

    1 reply

    I had one person offer advice of trying self-amalgamating tape (plumber's tap) as the final layer, since it fuses to itself. The electrical tape definitely isn't going to last long :) I'd like to try that and will probably place an order for some:

    Post some pictures of your repair in the comments if you do! Thanks.