Are you planning to replace the rivetted wheels on your suitcase, and you want to know how to do it? You’ve come to the right place, for we have researched this question, and we have the answer for you.
Here are the general steps to remove the rivets from your luggage wheels:
- Use a thin kerf saw blade to cut the rivets that hold the wheels in place.
- Insert a flathead screwdriver into the cut area to push the rivet out.
- Take the old wheel out.
Alternatively, you can drill out the rivets using a slightly smaller drill bit. Use pliers to fold and removed the loose rivet. Either method requires appropriate tools and safe DIY skills in using them.
Let’s talk about these steps in greater detail in the succeeding sections. Learn another method of removing the rivets in the wheels of your suitcase below.
Wheels On Luggage: A Historical Tidbit
There was a time in history when luggage was dominated by steamer trunks—suitcases made of leather or wood. These cases were large and had enough space for almost anything you’d want to take with you on a trip.
However, their bulk and size made them difficult to maneuver and carry around. It wasn't until 1970 before suitcases -modeled on these previous travel trunks -had added wheels.
Bernard Sadow was the first to install wheels on a suitcase. His design was officially patented in 1972. His original design was a suitcase with a set of ball casters on the bottom and a rope serving as the suitcase's handle. This initial design was difficult to maneuver.
It was Bob Plath—a Northwest Airlines pilot—in 1987 who invented the two-wheeled suitcase with an extendable handle. It is a design that is familiar to most travelers today.
How to remove the rivets from luggage wheels?
You've just learned how to remove luggage wheel rivets using a thin kerf saw and screwdriver. Using a saw to remove the rivets could be challenging and might take longer to complete because of the small space inside the suitcase.
Another way to remove the rivets from your luggage wheels is by using an electric drill. You can replace any rivet that you remove with a nut and bolt combination that has the same size.
Drilling The Rivets
Separate the wheel assembly from the luggage to make it easier to remove the rivets. Look for screws inside the suitcase and loosen them. You can use a drill to remove the rivets of wheel assemblies.
Start with a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the diameter of the rivet that is holding your luggage wheels in place.
Drill the center of the rivet. This can be tricky to do, so make sure to secure the wheel before you start drilling. Drill the side of the rivet that is not smooth.
Drill until you can push the rivet out. You don’t have to drill too deeply.
If you’re removing the rivets on the wheel assemblies, you can use pliers to fold the edges of the rivet towards the hole made by the drill, then you can try to push the rivet out. The space on the wheel might not allow you to use pliers on the rivets.
If the rivet still doesn’t fit, use a drill that is slightly bigger than the first but no bigger than the hole that holds the rivet.
If the rivet is not smooth, you can skip using a small drill bit and use a drill bit that has the same diameter as the rivet. Drill the center until the drill bit wears out the rivet. Do not drill all the way through or will drill the hole that holds the wheel.
Use a screwdriver to push the rivet out.
Removing The Wheels
Check the old wheels after you remove them. Keep the washers and spacers.
Pick a replacement wheel around the same size as the old wheels. If you need to replace one of the wheels, you will have to replace all the other wheels as well. This ensures that your suitcase will be on a level height.
Having different wheels would lead to uneven wheel height. This will lead to an uneven suitcase that will easily tip over.
Fastening The Wheels
After you remove the rivets of the old wheels, you will need a way to fasten the new wheels in place. You will no longer be able to reuse the old rivet. Rivets are normally made for single use only.
You can use a nut and bolt combination to hold the new wheels in place.
Do not forget to insert a washer on both sides of the new wheel. The washer will help prevent the new wheels from rubbing against the inside of the wheel well.
Is luggage worth repairing?
The answer to this boils down to the price of your suitcase. Repairing an expensive suitcase would be worth it. Who doesn’t want to get more use from an expensive suitcase?
On the other hand, if you have a cheap suitcase with a broken wheel, it will make more sense to just replace it with a new suitcase. It wouldn’t make sense to spend time and money to repair a suitcase that you can replace easily.
Once you’ve decided that your suitcase is worth repairing, it can be difficult to find a good repair shop to put your suitcase back in shape. And since some of the repairs that your suitcase needs are simple enough to DIY, you can do the repair yourself.
This brings the cost of repair down and makes it worth it to repair even a cheap suitcase. Have a look below to see a great DIY solution to refresh worn, yet usable luggage:
Are luggage wheels covered under warranty?
A warranty will cover the replacement or repair of luggage wheels that break down because of a defect in the assembly (missing screw or loose rivet) or manufacturing (uneven wheels).
However, the warranty of your suitcase will no longer cover any problems with the wheels that come from normal use.
This means that if you never had any problems with the wheels during the first few times of using the luggage, then any problem with the wheels later can be due to regular wear. In this case, the warranty will no longer cover the wheels.
Do Rimowa suitcases have a lifetime warranty?
Rimowa suitcases purchased from July 25, 2022, onwards will carry a lifetime warranty.
Rimowa expects to attract many new customers with the extension of its five-year warranty to a lifetime. It has a 120-year legacy in the luggage industry and continues to innovate—this time, the warranty aspect of the suitcase.
The warranty covers the functional aspects of a Rimowa suitcase from the time that you purchase it up to the suitcase’s lifetime.
The warranty does not cover any cosmetic wear and tear. Additionally, it does not cover any damage that will come from the misuse or abuse of the suitcase.
The warranty will also not cover any damage that comes from the mishandling and negligence of any third-party personnel, like damages from flight or transport.
Limited Lifetime Warranty vs. Unconditional Lifetime Warranty
A limited lifetime warranty covers damage that your suitcase will incur during normal use. This type of lifetime warranty will no longer cover any damage from mishandling by airline personnel.
A limited lifetime warranty will not cover any damage from accidents.
An unconditional lifetime warranty, on the other hand, will cover damage or functional defects even if it comes from mishandling of airline personnel or accidents. It will even cover any functional defect that results from misuse.
You can choose between two methods to remove the rivets from the luggage wheels. The first method uses a thin saw while the second method removes the rivet using a drill.
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