I’m always surprised when someone doesn’t know this, so I’ll point it out, and try to clarify some issues.
Your Zippo has a lifetime guarantee. Lifetime. At no charge! I’ve had my lighter around 30 years or so, and they still repaired it. Assuming your grandfather handed down a Zippo to you, and it stopped working, you could send it in, and they’d repair it.
Here’s the part that a lot of people find confusing. Your case will NOT be replaced. You’ll still get back the same 30-year-old lighter that you sent in. Only the insert inside, the part with the flint wheel, chimney, and lighter fluid reservoir will be replaced. So if you have that beloved Vietnam Zippo and you send it in, the only part of the lighter that will be replaced is the “guts” of the lighter. Your original case will be returned. If you’re romantically attached to the insert, they’ll return the old insert as well as replace it with a new one.
Now, say your hinge breaks or is coming loose. Send the lighter in, and Zippo will repair the hinge and send the lighter back to you.
If you have an attached logo, say a 3D Harley-Davidson emblem on the case and it comes off, Zippo will re-attach it for you.
The one thing they will not fix is scratches. Painted Zippo’s almost always develop scratches, presuming they’re being used. So that cool looking black matte finish lighter will eventually look scraped and scuffed up.
So you’ve tried waving your Zippo around to clear vaporlock, and you’ve trimmed and replaced the wicks over and over, and none of that is keeping you from having to strike the lighter more than once, it’s time to send it in.
Also, if you’ve switched from cigarette or cigar smoking, to pipe smoking exclusively, you can send in your Zippo and request a pipe lighter insert.
It’s good to send the whole lighter in to Zippo, as they can snug up the case onto the insert. I had sent my inserts back in a couple of times without it helping, and finally sent the whole lighter in for repair, and the insert fits snug now, and I haven’t had any additional problems.
The best way to send your Zippo in for repairs is to allow all the fluid to evaporate (I gave mine 3 days). Put it inside a padded envelope, and send it in the mail. Unless you have proof of cost, not worth, it’s not worth putting insurance on, but you can use Delivery Confirmation to track when it got there. If it’s a really valuable lighter, send it Registered Mail. Registered Mail is how diamonds and gold are mailed through the postal service. Each Registered package is transported under lock and key from the minute it enters the Post Office, to the moment it’s delivered.
If you enclose an email address, Zippo will also email you to tell you that the lighter has arrived. The whole process from start to finish takes around 10 days, depending on how you sent it. Registered Mail moves a little slower because of the hightened security involved. International repairs will take longer (and yes, overseas Zippo’s can be repaired).
Your Zippo is guaranteed for life, and it’s one of the best guarantees on anything. Don’t let a beloved Zippo lay around abandoned because it’s broken. Send that puppy in.
You’ll find complete repair information here (and follow the dang instructions): Windproof lighter FAQs
On a non-repair related subject, check the bottom of your Zippo. You may see a series of slashes, dashes or similar marking. These may indicate the year the lighter was manufactured, or provide additonal information about the Zipp. Here’s the Collector’s Guide. It’s in PDF format.
Here’s an old Zippo ad. Did you know they had a theme song?
Here’s one for the kids. Encouraging smoking. I’m going to hell for posting this one.
And an example of the kind of tricks you can do with a Zippo. Unless you’re me, as I’d probably set myself on fire.