Replacing My Broken Suitcase Wheel With a New Homemade Wheel

Last year when I decided to start traveling frugally on my own, I purchased a small suitcase that fit the dimensions allowed as carry on for most budget airlines. I tried to spend as little as possible on my suitcase, but even so it wasn't so cheap. Unfortunately, though, I guess it was too cheap to be well made, and after just one trip one of the wheels started giving me trouble. In the middle of my second trip the wheel completely died on me, stopped turning at all, and was completely unusable. Because it stopped turning, it ended up being dragged, which caused it to completely disintegrate, making it look like this..

Before my recent trip, as I was about to pack my suitcase, I remembered how bad the wheel was, and didn't want to have to suffer through a not rolling suitcase for the whole trip. It was the night before the trip and we didn't have time to go to the city and try to find a replacement wheel. I thought about maybe taking the wheel off another suitcase we had, but it was the wrong size.

And then Mike had an amazing idea.

Why not make one out of wood? He makes so many different things with wood, fixes many things with wood, so why not a wooden wheel?

Mike has an attachment for his drill called a hole saw or hole cutter which is used to cut circles. We chose one that looked approximately the same size as the proper wheel, but it was tough to guess.

Mike used his angle grinder to cut the axle of the broken wheel and removed it from the suitcase.

He had a scrap of wood that was exactly the right thickness. He used the hole cutter to cut the wheel out, and simultaneously it also drilled a hole in the center. He sanded it smooth.

Afterwards, he attached it to the suitcase using a screw with a bolt.

Voila. A wooden wheel. Cost = 0. Time? 10-15 minutes tops. 

Money saved? At least $50. Time saved? As long as it takes to travel to and from the city to the suitcase shop.

And saved an otherwise perfect suitcase from the landfill.

How did it work?


Far better than the original wheel.

When using it on my trip, I couldn't tell that it wasn't the original wheel when I was pulling along my suitcase.

I'm really glad we were able to figure this one out. Highly recommend you try something similar if you break a suitcase wheel.

Have you ever replaced a wheel on something that broke? What was the item? What did you replace it with? Does this look like something you'd try?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


Thank you for leaving a comment on your blog. Comments are moderated- please be patient to allow time for them to go through. Opposing opinions are permitted, discussion and disagreements are encouraged, but nasty comments for the sole purpose of being nasty without constructive criticisms will be deleted.
Just a note- I take my privacy seriously, and comments giving away my location or religion are automatically deleted too.

  1. That's a great idea! Now I'm sorry I don't have a broken wheel to replace.

  2. That's brilliant! A wooden wheel. Who would of thunk it.

Previous Post Next Post