SOLVED: Fixing a Swissgear suitcase handle (telescopic)

Swiss company Wenger S.A. produces a decent range of suitcases under the brand of Swissgear, but they aren't generous when it comes to spare parts. When the telescopic handle on our suitcase stopped working (ie, the push-button wouldn't allow the handle to extend) we did some web searches to figure out our options. The first option was the Swissgear 3-year and 5-year warranties, but our suitcase was too old for that. Swissgear didn't offer any spare parts - and (amazingly) neither did eBay. In fact, all we could find was people complaining about their broken handles!

Don't throw away a perfectly good suitcase

Not wanting to give up on an otherwise excellent suitcase, we unzipped the liner and unscrewed the plastic cover at the handle end of the two metal tubes. We also undid the screw holding each tube to the foot of the case. After a bit of tugging the rods came free and we simply pulled them free of the suitcase.

To actually get to the mechanism inside each black tube, we unscrewed the handle (two more little screws) and the ends of the push-rods were now visible. We found that each one could be removed from its black tube simply by pushing the spring-loaded retaining pin in and pushing the push-rod down and out the bottom of the black tube. When we did this, we found a break in one of the green plastic chunks holding the spring-loaded pin. In fact, the plastic chunk was in two pieces - which explain why pressing down on the suitcase's telescopic release button was having no effect!

To fix this we simply super-glued the plastic chunk back together, being careful to keep glue away from the actual springy mechanism contained therein. After that (plus a bit of WD-40 to help), pressing on the rod caused the spring-loaded pin to disappear inside the mechanism. Success! We put each push-rod mechanism back inside its black tube, fixed the handle back on, and checked that the handle button now made both spring-loaded pins to retract.

In the end, a simple fix

Our handle appeared to be fatally broken, but in reality needed only a fairly simple repair. Very satisfying result and definitely worth the time to take it apart before binning the suitcase.


by Michael on 02 April 2024
Thanks for your article first of all. So the problem I have is one side of the pins retract when the handle push button is pressed in and one side doesn't retract the pins. I tore down the whole assembly as you did but I can only get so far with the tearing down of the handle. The rest of the handle is a mold which can't be opened without breaking it. When shaken you can hear that there might be a loose piece but again you can't get or see inside that part of the handle. I've spent quite a bit of time shaking it hoping that the loose piece might happen to fall into place and the rod and whatever is inside happen to catch each other. But it could also be that the mechanism is just broke somehow. I just wanted to share my issue with everyone to see if a related problem is out there and possible fix or maybe hopefully I can order that whole handle if that's possible. Anyways, thanks again for your article.
by A on 25 March 2024
Hey how did you remove the white plastic cover at the end?
by John Swindells on 25 March 2024
Hi there, I can't remember specifically - but thought that it was just held together by a couple of screws.
by Brian Forbes Colgate on 13 November 2023
Thanks for your post, John. My Swiss Gear carry on handle had a large piece snap off at one end so it no longer would lift the tube on one side. I managed to put it back together with Gorilla glue but the glue failed the next time I used the bag. I’ll try to clean off the glue when I get home and see if SuperGlue plus a wrap of duct tape will hold it. Otherwise I’ll look to Amazon or eBay to replace the entire extension mechanism. It’s sad that Swiss Gear does not offer parts when I see so many postings about failure of the handles or the entire extension piece.
by John Swindells on 13 November 2023
I agree Brian, a replacement mechanism would be the right thing for them to supply.
by Alistair on 02 November 2023
Another satisfied reader John!

I had a lovely Victorinox case which I was so sad to have broken as one of the arms of the pull handle just comes out on extension so I carefully used it in this semi broken state for several years until I read this. Sure enough once I had unzipped and disassembled a broken plastic piece had come unstuck from the bottom of the arm. Currently waiting for the glue to dry, thanks again!

by John Swindells on 02 November 2023
That’s great - I hope the glue holds! 🤞😀
by Chris on 08 March 2023
Thank you John. It may be 5 and a bit years since your post but I have found it to be helpful and have just repaired my handle. In my case the button in the grip had broken so I was unable to apply pressure to the locking pips. Superglue and a reinforcing piece of polycarbonate and all is working again. As you said, "a very satisfying result and definitely worth the time".
by Walter on 22 April 2023
Very useful. My issue was both gears in the handle had a piece broken off and the cable dislodged on one side. I was able to glue the pieces back and it functions fine.
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by Al Lopey on 25 August 2021
We did this and it worked. Thank you so much for this post!
by John Swindells on 25 August 2021
Glad to have helped!
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