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A broken backpack zipper is the second most annoying thing that can happen right before you leave your home (not finding your backpack tops the list!). Luckily, we have a quick and easy fix that’ll put a smile back on your face if your backpack zipper came off on one side.
Hang in here to find out how to get your zipper to work again, without replacing it.
Your backpack zipper came off on one side of the track: Why did that happen?
When your backpack‘s zipper is on only one side, it’s usually because the slider has gotten worse from all the opening and closing. This happens when the bar that’s supposed to keep the slider firmly on the track wears out, and the clamp space opens up on one or both sides.
However, problems with one track could also cause the zipper to hang on the other. In either case, you’ll need to increase the slider’s clamping effect for your backpack zipper to work again.
How to fix a zipper that’s on one side when the issue is with the slider?
Make sure you have a good quality plier before you begin the process.
1. Inspect your zipper and its tracks and fix underlying issues
This is a no-brainer, but often a skipped step.
Inspecting the tracks and zipper can save you from repeating this process several times. For example, both slider edges could have lost their clamping power and widened up. So, when the zipper seems to hang from one track, it could create an illusion that the other is perfect. There’s no practical way to tell if you don’t give your zipper a close look.
Another issue that you could discover from inspecting the zipper and tracks are missing or bent teeth. To fix a zipper with missing teeth, you’ll need to place a stop at the spot where the track’s teeth runs. This way, the zipper won’t move into the missing-teeth area.
Straightening bent teeth with your plier or fork works if the teeth are metal. However, you could easily use your fingers to align the plastic ones.
To top it off, giving your zipper a closer look could reveal that the issue is with the stops on the track. In this case, you only need to realign them before you move on to the next step.
2. Use your plier to widen the slider
Next is to get the clamping effect that you would have in a new backpack. However, you first have to open the sliders with your plier and unstitch the closings at the ends, which will expose the end of the tracks.
For this step, you’ll need to be extremely careful, so you don’t break the slider before you even get to fix it. Moreover, applying to much force could chip the paint off the zipper.
You can move on to the next step only when the slider is wide.
3. Put the tracks back on the slider
With a widened slider, the next step, if your backpack zipper came off on one side, is to slip the tracks into the slider (to thread a zipper). Here you have two options:
- Fix a zipper with a fork
- Fix a zipper with your hands
In either case, it’s best to start from the closed side of your backpack.
Fixing a fork is much easier than doing so with your hands. First, you need to place the slider on the middle thongs. The other thongs should be on the inside of your backpack and close to the end. Then, pull the fork up.
The job is almost complete once the slider is on both sides. However, you’ll still need to ensure that they are both tracks are aligned. Also, make sure the zipper works by moving it up and down. But be careful not to run them out of the tracks.
4. Tighten the sliders
The last step is to pinch the sliders until they are tight. Like before, pinching too hard can cause problems and lead you right back to where you started: a zipper on one side.
Give your zipper a run once you’re done tightening them. If it doesn’t glide through the teeth, then go back to step 2. However, if your zipper’s slider works smoothly, then you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
Tips for fixing a backpack zipper that came off on one side
Here are some of our top recommendations that’ll help make your zipper work again:
1. Add lubricants to your zipper’s teeth
Sometimes, your backpack’s teeth could use a little help from lubricants to work again. Anything from chapsticks, crayon wax, and petroleum jelly works. However, keep things moderate, and ensure the material you use won’t stain your backpack or its zipper.
2. Don’t use your teeth as a plier
Feeling frustrated is a common emotion if your backpack zipper came off on one side. However, that’s no leeway to use your teeth as pliers when opening or tightening them. If anything, using your teeth is a sure way to damage the sliders beyond repair.
3. Use masking tape to help you thread your zipper from the bottom
Aligning tracks and threading zippers can be challenging if you have shaky hands, and your zipper came off the track. However, masking tape can help make the process easier by providing smooth space for the slider before it gets to the teeth.
Wrap small equal pieces of masking tape around the edges of the backpack’s tracks. Also, ensure you leave ample space hanging from both of them. This is the smooth area you need to slip on the slider easily.
We could bet that anyone will want to beat themselves up or get a new bag if their backpack zipper came off on one side. However, if you follow the quick fix we’ve highlighted to the letter, you can get your zippers to work again without paying a dime.
All you’ll need is a plier, a fork, and willpower to get the job done.
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