How to Fix a Lighter


The vast majority of refillable lighters are high-quality devices that can provide many years of excellent service. There will be those moments, however, when the lighter won’t light as expected and when one is left a bit vexed, and perhaps a bit embarrassed, by the failure. Most often, the failure is traceable to a few different issues which are easily fixed.

Most lighter problems will be traceable to a few specific areas. There may be debris in the fuel jet, there may be an air bubble in the fuel line or there may be something physically obstructing the igniter mechanism. All of these difficulties are easily remedied.

Start by looking into the fuel jets. This is a particularly easy problem to troubleshoot on multi-jet lighters. If two out of three jets ignite, it’s almost certain that the third is obstructed. To remove any obstructions, tap the lighter, very gently, on a hard surface while keeping the jets inverted. Most often, whatever is clogging them will fall out. If this doesn’t work, simply use a wire or toothpick to gently free the obstruction.

If the lighter has an electronic igniter, there may be other issues at hand. Make certain that the igniter is producing spark. Don’t stick one’s face directly over the lighter when doing this, however! Simply cup a hand over the lighter to block out light, hold it away from the face and trip the ignition. It should give off a nice, visible spark. If not, check for obstructions. If there are no obstructions and there still is no spark, the lighter may need servicing.

Lighters which have wicks are generally very forgiving where fuel quality is concerned but, if one’s lighter does ignite but not reliably, consider having better fuel added to the reservoir. Fuel of a low quality often has a good deal of impurities in it and may result in inconsistent performance. In a butane lighter, only use impurity-free fuel. Many butane lighters are very high-performance devices and they require good quality fuel to provide reliable service. If one’s lighter has a cigar cutter attached or another attachment which fails to open, check for debris clogging the mechanism. Never force anything on a lighter open. If it’s that stuck, bring it for servicing.

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