Zipper Problems? Getting a Zipper Repair Kit Will Solve Them

March 2, 2022

A broken zipper is a difficult problem to fix. The clueless will spend hours joining together the claw-like things, wondering how that magical little metal effortlessly does it.

It doesn't have to take your time. You can fix zippers quickly with the right repair kit and adequate knowledge, starting with labeling the parts.

Parts of a Zipper

Before you fix your zippers, it's good to have a handle on its different parts. Identifying them will make it easier for you to fix them. Depending on the zipper type, you'll see some of these parts in every zipper component.

  • Top/bottom stop: These are the small rectangular things at the top or bottom end of a non-separating zipper system. They function as their name suggests: to stop the slider from getting separated from the zipper's teeth.
  • Slider: The slider is an essential component of a zipper and has its own parts (which we’ll discuss in another article). It allows the zipper to open (unzip) and close (zip). It runs from top to bottom until it reaches the stops, concealing whatever is underneath the zipper.
  • Pull tab: The slider would be difficult to move across the zipper without the pull tab. The pull tab is the piece of metal or plastic sticking out of the slider. You pinch and drag it to move the slider.
  • Teeth: The zipper's teeth are the tiny knobs aligned across the zipper system. Also called elements, these things clamp together tightly when they run across the narrow part of the slider. They also separate easily when the slider retracts.
  • Tape: The teeth must have a surface to stick to. That's what the zipper tape is for. The zipper tape is like your gums, in a way: it holds the teeth and keeps them aligned and functional. 
  • Box: The separating zipper system would be incomplete without a box. The box functions as both a bottom stop and a place to insert the pin.
  • Pin: A partner to the box, the pin also serves as a bottom stop. But its essential function is to go inside the slider and the box to align the elements and make sure the zipper works.

Basic Zipper Systems

As many as 15 zipper systems exist today. Each has different uses depending on the product type, but all of them boil down to the most basic functions. Below are the two most commonly used zipper systems.


This system separates the zippers and joins them together with two essential components: the pin and the box. The rest of the zipper components, such as the teeth, the tape, and the top stop, act as one of two units. Connected to one of the two zippers is the slider.

Jackets, hoodies, and outdoor gears such as tents use a separating zipper system.


Commonly referred to as the closed-bottom or closed-loop zipper system, this design has both top and bottom stops. It also uses only one zipper tape wide enough to accommodate the left and right zipper teeth. 

Bags, wallets, and fabric casings are fitted with a non-separating system.

zipper repair kit - A black slider attached to a black, partially closed zipper teeth

Common Zipper Problems

Now that you know the parts and the basic types of zippers, we'll give you a list of common zipper problems. We also have some quick tips on how to fix them, with or without a zipper repair tool kit.

Separating zipper teeth

Unfastened zipper teeth are a common problem with the separating zipper system. It happens when a segment of knobs don't clamp with each other as you move the slider up to close your jacket. As a result, portions of the zipper—or even the entire strip—remain open.

The solution to this is to get your zipper repair kit for clothing, take out a spare slider and zipper pliers, and replace the worn-out part with a new one.

Stuck zipper slider

Sometimes, you can’t move the slider further across the zipper line because something is blocking its track. If it is a piece of clothing or a bag, the slider could have some thread or fabric stuck underneath it.

If the zipper is partially closed, you can flip it inside out, check underneath, and then pull out the stuck material with your fingers or tweezers. If the zipper is fully closed, use a lubricant and gently retract the slider.

Broken or damaged zipper teeth

Zipper tooth damage can range from mild to severe. A zipper with minor damage can still function. You'll notice this when one or perhaps a handful of knobs are missing from one side or both. On the other hand, a severe one would look chewed up, torn, or cut out from the tape. Unfortunately, the only way to fix severe damage is to replace it with a new set of zippers.

Broken zipper box and/or pin

A broken box looks severely dented, and you can no longer insert the pin inside. On the other hand, a common pin issue is when it detaches from the zipper. In this case, your only option is to replace the entire separating zipper with a fresh set.

Don't worry. While this is a common issue, the likelihood of it happening goes down if you take care of your zipper properly. It means avoiding forceful downward pulling of the slider and zipping up your jacket before putting it into a heavy-duty washer.

Broken slider crown or missing pull tab

Another common habit of some people is tugging the zipper's pull tab with a lot more force than it can handle. You'll break the crown or the pull tab with just a few heavy tugs. The crown and the pull tab are like a chain, except the former is often made of plastic or thin metal. Breaking it will make the slider inoperable. 

If the pull tab gets ripped off the slider, get yourself a 6-piece zipper pull replacement repair kit and use one of the six sliders included in the pack to replace it.

Missing slider

Several things cause a missing slider. One instance is when the box falls off the separating zipper system. In this case, you'll have to replace the whole thing. If a missing top or bottom stop caused the missing slider, you'd have to replace both. Finally, if only the slider is missing, this means the component is loose, and it fell off the zipper.

No matter the situation, a 6-pack Fix-a-Zipper repair kit will help you replace the missing slider.

Bring a Zipper Repair Kit with You All the Time

No matter what zipper problems you're facing, always have a repair kit ready. You'll never know when the next one will come. And if you're not prepared, you will suffer the effects of unnecessary clothing or accessory malfunction. So it's always better to be ready. Now that you know more about zippers, it's time to get the tools.

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