Your suitcase is still in good condition but even with all parts still intact it is not convenient to pull your suitcase. In this situation you may ask yourself if it is maybe possible to upgrade your suitcase e.g., from single wheels to double wheels or from a telescopic handle stopping at 3 levels to one stopping at every level. Not only could this help to prolong the lifetime of your suitcase but also be an alternative to buying a new suitcase.
To give you a better overview of what is possible we are going to answer the following questions in this article:
- What suitcase components can be replaced?
- Do I have to replace the wheels, handles or telescopic handles with the exact same type of spare part?
- Where can I find the right parts to upgrade my suitcase?
- Is there any risk in upgrading the components of my suitcase?
- Can I customize parts from another suitcase to fit my suitcase?
What suitcase components can be upgraded?
Generally, all components of a suitcase which can be removed and are available as a separate component from suppliers can be upgraded. Typically, this includes the wheels, telescopic handle, carry handle, lock, and zipper pullers. In most suitcases these parts are attached to the shell using regular screws so that the suitcase components can be removed, e.g., for repairs. It is however important to note that not every part of a suitcase may be available as a separate spare part e.g., in the case of a double wheel the wheel is typically only available as one spare part consisting of the entire double wheel including wheel housing.
Do I have to replace the wheels, handles or telescopic handles with the exact same type of spare part?
Unfortunately, in most cases brands do not offer official parts which are meant to upgrade your existing suitcase but only offer spare parts which are identical to the components already installed on your suitcase. The reason for this is that every spare part is designed to fit a specific product. One example of this are the wheels which need to fit the shape of the shell to ensure if fits exactly and to ensure that the suitcase is balanced and does not fall over.
In order to be able to upgrade your suitcase components you therefore have to pay attention to certain specifics for each part.
To be able to upgrade the wheels of your suitcase the new wheel must have the same form factor as the wheel currently installed on your suitcase. For instance, it will not be possible to upgrade castor / corner wheels with single or double wheels. You can read more about the different form factors in our suitcase wheel guide. Additionally, the following parameters must also match your current suitcase:
- Wheel height / Wheel diameter
- Wheel housing (shape)
- Wheel orientation
- Positioning of screw holes inside the housing
While it may sound attractive to upgrade your suitcase to a larger wheel it is recommended to select a wheel with the same height as a larger wheel could cause the suitcase to lose balance or to no longer roll straight. Equally, using wheels with a smaller diameter may cause the suitcase to touch the floor when pulled only on two wheels (in case of a 4-wheel suitcase). The wheel housing is used to connect the wheel to the shell of the suitcase. In many cases each suitcase wheel has a different type of wheel housing as the shell may have a different shape. At the same time the different wheels often have a different orientation e.g., for the left side and the right side so that different wheels are necessary to replace all wheels of your suitcase. Lastly, also the positioning of the screw holes in the suitcase must match the holes in the wheel housing of the new wheel.
Due to these many requirements, it is often not easy to find exactly matching upgrade parts for your suitcase. Read more below on how you can find parts to upgrade your suitcase on suitcase.repair.
For the telescopic handle there are only a few upgrade options available. These options may range from a different color handle to a handle with thicker tubing or even a telescopic handle which may be stopped at every height instead of just three levels.
The telescopic handle is among the most challenging components to upgrade as it is connected to the suitcase at multiple points. Specifically, it is attached both on top (visible from the outside) as well as on the bottom of the suitcase (typically on the inside) to prevent the handle from moving. In order to match the positioning of the screws from the current reinforcements inside the suitcase the new telescopic handle must have the same length as the original telescopic handle in its collapsed state. This will unfortunately prevent you from upgrading to a telescopic handle which is extendible to a longer height.
Lock & Zipper Pullers
Upgrading the lock of your suitcase to a new lock which may feature a different functionality (e.g. USB or a fingerprint sensor) you are typically limited by the size of the cut-out on your suitcase. Any replacement lock has to fit exactly inside this cut-out without falling through. For locks which are not integrated into the shell but are fixed on top of the shell, the new lock will have to have the same location for the screw holes as the existing lock.
As the zipper pullers are typically inserted into the combination lock to lock the suitcase the zipper pullers must be compatible with the lock. As the locking mechanism may defer between different lock types it is possible that the original zipper pullers no longer fit into the lock or are getting stuck.
Before upgrading the carry handles of your suitcase, you must first check how they are attached to the suitcase. Depending on model and manufacturer the handle may be attached to other components such as the telescopic handle. The mount of a new handle must match the mount of the handle currently used. Additionally, the length and width of the carry handle must be identical to ensure it fits into its original space.
In case the new carry handle has a different design compared to the original handle the height of the handle may also be relevant to ensure that you are still possible to comfortably pull up the carry handle.
Where can I find the right parts to upgrade my suitcase?
Most brands do not provide information on which alternative parts can be used on a suitcase or if upgrade options are available. As each spare part is designed to fit to a very specific set of suitcases most brands also do not include schematics in their spare parts. Hence, it can be a very long and frustrating endeavor to find a suitable upgrade option for your suitcase.
While some companies offer universal suitcase replacement wheels, universal suitcase replacement trolley handles and even locks these typically only fit a few selected models. In many cases this means that you must either customize your suitcase and/or the parts as part of a DIY project, must live with parts which do not really fit your suitcase or must even return them.
At suitcase.repair we aim to provide you with the matching spare parts for your suitcase. For this reason, our system will suggest to you at the first stage those products which have been designed for your suitcase and for which we can guarantee that they perfectly fit your item. In most cases these are identical to the component your product originally got delivered with. Based on the data the brands provide us we might be able to provide you with a list of wheels which are likely also compatible with your suitcase but for which we cannot guarantee that they fit. In case other compatible parts are available you will find these parts when scrolling down on the product page:
For the original spare part of a suitcase, we guarantee that the item fits your suitcase, and we provide a free return option if you have found this spare part by searching for the correct model number and if it does not fit. While the alternative options we display on product pages fit with a high likelihood the risk remains that the fitting might slightly defer from the original. For this reason suitcase.repair does not offer a guarantee for such alternative / upgrade options and would not be able to offer a free return for such items.
What can I do if no alternative products are displayed on suitcase.repair or only items if the same tyle?
Alternative options are displayed for spare parts for which we have sufficient data that they may also fit your suitcase. Unfortunately, we cannot influence the availability of alternative options / upgrade options as these depend on the model and the brand.
For many items which feature components in multiple colors we might be able to offer you the same component in a different color. However, for more complex upgrades such as an upgrade from single wheels to double wheels upgrade options are only displayed if the parts are likely to fit your suitcase.
Unfortunately, our service team will not be able to provide you with upgrade options if they are not already displayed on the product page.
Is there any risk in upgrading the components of my suitcase?
Upgrading your suitcase has many benefits and can help to make your suitcase useable again. However, such upgrades can also have risks associated with them. One of the biggest risks in this regard is the manufacturer warranty. Most brands provide a warranty on material and production defects with the purchase of one of their items. Replacing suitcase parts with parts not originally designed for this specific model may void your warranty not just for the part replaced but for the entire suitcase.
Other risks mainly arise from spare parts not exactly fitting your suitcase. In the case of wheel upgrades a wheel which does not fit your case exactly may lead to the suitcase no longer rolling straight or falling over. In many cases parts which do not fit well can be identified easily as it will be difficult to put them in place, require a lot of strength to put in or if there are visible gaps between the shell and the wheel housing. In rare cases wrongly mounted wheels may even cause more severe damage to the shell itself.
For other parts such as telescopic handles, locks and zipper pullers the risks are similar to those for wheels as parts which do not fit exactly your model may fall out of the suitcase unexpectedly, break quickly or cause damage to your belongings.
Important: Regardless of the component you are looking to replace you should avoid drilling new holes into the shell or trying to fit replacement parts with force.
Can I customize parts from another suitcase to fit my suitcase?
In cases where there are not suitable upgrade options available many may consider purchasing a spare part looking like the original item and customizing the screw holes or the wheel housing or similar parts to fit the suitcase.
From our experience at suitcase.repair such customizations are successful in very few cases as the parts may look similar but differ quite substantially in shape. In most cases the customized parts only fit approximately, lead to pressure points on the shell or only have a short life span.
In case no suitable components to perform an upgrade are available it is recommended to continue using the original parts instead.