Luggage Wheels Not Spinning – What To Do?

Have you ever had the frustrating experience of your luggage wheels not spinning correctly? It can be really hard to maneuver your bag around an airport or crowded sidewalk when the wheels aren't cooperating. Luckily, we compiled all our research on how to handle this issue.

One of the most frustrating things that can happen when you're trying to get through an airport is when your luggage wheels suddenly stop spinning. It's even worse when it happens in the middle of a busy terminal. If you find yourself in this situation, there are a few things you can do to get your wheels spinning again.

  1. Check to see if the wheel is jammed.
  2. Take a look at the axle.
  3. Inspect the wheel itself.
  4. Contact the luggage manufacturer for assistance.

Keep reading to learn a few tips on how to fix the problem. Also, watch out for other necessary instructions to prevent this problem.

Old man with suitcase on wheels. Male with luggage bag walking down the street from airport. Homecoming after travel trip. Jet lag effect. Back view - Luggage Wheels Not Spinning - What To Do

What Do You Do If Your Luggage Wheel Doesn't Spin? 

Traveling can be stressful enough without having to worry about your luggage. After all, your bags are supposed to make your life easier, not add to your woes. So what do you do if one of your luggage wheels suddenly stops working?

These tips will get you back on track.

1. Check To See If The Wheel Is Jammed

Try gently pushing the wheel back and forth to free it. Start by removing any obvious debris, such as hair or string, that may wrap around the wheel. Then, use a soft cloth to clean and wipe away any dirt or grime that has built up on the wheel.

If the wheel is still not rotating freely, you may need to use a toothpick or other sharp object to clear away any stubborn debris blocking its movement. The wheel should turn smoothly after removing the obstruction.

2. Take A Look At The Axle

If the wheel is not spinning, you may need to tighten the axle. However, if the wheel is rotating but not rolling smoothly, then the axle may be bent. In either case, a quick adjustment should get your luggage wheels spinning again.

Use a pair of pliers to straighten a bent or damaged axle. However, you may need to replace a severely damaged axle.

3. Inspect The Wheel Itself

Make sure that the wheel is clean and free of any debris. Then, check to see if the axle is adequately lubricated.

You can lubricate the wheel with WD-40 or a similar product. If the wheel still isn't spinning freely, you may need to replace the entire wheel assembly.

Further, evaluate whether the wheel is correctly attached to the luggage. If not, reattach it using the screws or clips that came with the bag.

See this WD-40 lubricant on Amazon.

4. Contact The Luggage Manufacturer For Assistance

Your luggage manufacturer can help you troubleshoot the problem and determine the best action to take - repair or replace the wheels. Additionally, they can offer replacement parts or a new suitcase if necessary. 

What Are The Signs That Something Is Wrong with Your Luggage Wheels? 

close up of suitcase wheels

Getting around the airport or train station can be a nightmare if your luggage wheels are defective. But how can you tell if there's something wrong with your luggage wheels? Watch out for these signs.

Uneven Wear And Tear

If one of your luggage wheels is significantly more worn down than the others, there is a problem. It is probable that the wheel is defective or not aligned properly. Either way, it's best to check it before your next trip.

Wobbling Or Shaking

If your luggage starts to wobble or shake while you're rolling it, that's another sign that something isn't right. The issue may be a loose wheel or a defective axle. Again, it's best to address it before your next trip.

Noisy Grinding Or Squealing

When the bearings in the wheel start to fail, your luggage may make strange noises like grinding or squealing. You'll want to get this fixed as soon as possible, as it will only worsen over time and could eventually cause the wheel to fall off.

Difficulty Rolling

Broken traveling luggage wheel at the airport

If you find that your luggage is suddenly much harder to roll than it used to be, there's probably something wrong with the wheels. They could be warped or bent, making them less effective at rolling smoothly.

Get this checked out before your next trip, so you don't have any issues.

Missing Parts

Inspect for missing parts from your luggage wheels, such as axles or bearings, as they clearly indicate something is wrong.

You'll need to fix the issue before using your luggage again. Don't try to travel with missing parts, as this could worsen the situation.

If Your Luggage Wheel Isn't Spinning, Is It Time to Buy a New Suitcase?

When your luggage wheels fail to spin, you may or may not need to buy a new suitcase. In some cases, a little troubleshooting can help fix the problem. But some cases may warrant that you buy a new bag.

If your suitcase is old and has seen better days, buying a new one is probably your best bet. The same goes if the damage is extensive and would require more work to fix than it is worth.

What Are the Causes of Luggage Wheels Damage?

Over time, luggage wheels can become damaged for a variety of reasons. These are some of the most common causes.

close up Wheel luggage suitcase

Poor Quality Wheels

One of the most common causes of damaged luggage wheels is using poor quality wheels in the first place. Cheaper luggage often has lower-quality wheels that are more prone to breaking and becoming defective.

Over time, these wheels will wear out and require replacement. So, if you want your luggage to last, it's crucial to choose a bag with high-quality wheels that can withstand heavy use.

Hitting Curbs And Steps

Another common cause of damaged luggage wheels is hitting curbs or steps. Accidentally hitting a step or curb with your bag when rushing through the airport is easy. This can damage the wheels, especially if they're made of fragile materials like plastic.

To avoid this, always be careful when handling your luggage and keep it away from hard surfaces.

Overloading The Bag

If you pack too much into your suitcase, it can put a strain on the wheels and eventually lead to damage. The damage is especially prevalent if you frequently have to carry your bag upstairs or over rough terrain.

Always leave room for extra items when packing so you don't have to force the bag closed - this will help protect your wheels from damage.

Checking The Bag

Checking your bag at the airport can also lead to damaged luggage wheels. Once the baggage handler loads your bag onto the conveyor belt, it's out of your control.

These handlers may not handle your bag with care. It could get thrown around or dropped.

If possible, avoid checked luggage and use a carry-on instead - this will help reduce the risk of damage to the wheels.

Dragging The Bag

Dragging your luggage behind you is one of the quickest ways to damage the wheels. The constant friction will wear down the material, making it more susceptible to breakage.

When possible, try to lift your bag rather than drag it. If you must drag it, use both hands, so you don't put all the weight on one side.

By taking these precautions, you can help extend the life of your luggage wheels.

How To Properly Maintain Your Luggage Wheels

close up Wheel suitcase

Here are a few tips on how to properly maintain your luggage wheels:

Keep Them Clean

Over time, dirt and debris can build up on your luggage wheels, making them harder to roll and more likely to break down. To keep them clean, wipe them down with a damp cloth or brush after each use.

Check For Damage Regularly

Bumps and scrapes are inevitable when you're traveling, but it's essential to inspect your wheels for damage regularly. If you see any cracks or chips, replace the wheel as soon as possible to avoid further damage.

Be Gentle

Your luggage wheels are strong, but they're not indestructible. Avoid putting too much weight on them or dragging your bag over rough surfaces - both of these things can cause damage that will result in a loss of rolling performance.

These simple tips can help keep your luggage wheels in good condition for many travels.

Old man with suitcase on wheels. Male with luggage bag walking down the street from airport. Homecoming after travel trip. Jet lag effect. Back view

Final Words

When you're pulling your luggage, and the wheels don't spin, it can be very frustrating. You may think that your luggage is broken or you're doing something wrong. But fear not. Instead, follow the things discussed above to get those wheels spinning again. 

To get more ideas on a safe and happy journey, see our posts below:

Can You Replace Wheels On American Tourister Luggage?

How To Add Wheels To A Duffel Bag

Can You Travel With Pins On Your Backpack?