How to Fix a Suitcase Latch

Suitcase latches come in many different sizes and styles, so when a latch breaks it may seem like a difficult problem to fix. Luckily, many hardware suppliers carry a wide variety of latches and latch mounting hardware. Usually, a latch similar to the original can be found for a reasonable price. A few simple steps can be taken to detect and fix a latch problem before you invest in new hardware.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Forceps, nail or bobby-pin
  • Penetrating oil
  • Replacement latch
  • Pen


  1. Fix Loose or Missing Screws

    • 1

      Inspect the latch to determine if any screws are missing or damaged. If so, obtain identical screws from the hardware store.

    • 2

      Determine the type of screwdriver required for the screw-heads.

    • 3

      Tighten all screws with the appropriate hand-operated screwdriver.

    Fix a Sticky Lock

    • 1

      Check the hole for debris. A nail, thin forceps or bobby pin will work well to feel inside the keyhole and force out any obstructions.

    • 2

      Inspect the keyhole for signs of rust.

    • 3

      Spray the key and inside the rusty keyhole with a penetrating oil. Only use enough oil to lightly wet the surface.

    • 4

      Insert the key into the lock and turn back and forth.

    Replace Latch

    • 1

      Obtain a new latch. The suitcase manufacturer may still produce identical latches, so contact it first to request a new latch. A general hardware supplier may sell a similar latch.

    • 2

      Remove the broken latch from the lid and bottom of the suitcase. Loosen and remove all mounting screws, bolts or rivets. Pull the latch off of the suitcase.

    • 3

      Close the suitcase and position the clasped new latch against the suitcase.

    • 4

      Insert and tighten the mounting hardware. Some latch types cannot be installed when the suitcase is closed. In this case, mark all mounting screw locations with a pen and open the case to complete the installation.

Tips & Warnings

  • Follow any installation instructions that come with the new latch.
  • Do not pry at an old latch to remove it because you may rip the suitcase fabric.
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  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/ Images

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