FAQ: Wick Lighter Care, Troubleshooting Guide & Hints

Following, are listed some of the common problems that you may encounter with your cigarette wick lighter. This guide includes also measures which will help to solve them.
  1. Lighter won't hold fluid for a reasonable period of time. This is caused by defective washer on the fuel screw or by a short wick or loose packing. In the case of a short wick, regardless of how much fluid is in the lighter tank, it cannot be delivered to the chimney unless the wick reaches those parts of the packing containing the fluid. What you have to do is re-wick, repack and check washer, replacing if necessary.

  2. Lighter when lit burns temporarily with excessive smoking. This is caused when the lighter is filled with inappropriate petrol or oil instead of proper grade of lighter fluid. Oil may also prevent sparking action as it spreads over the working parts of the wick lighter. Disassemble every part of lighter, throw away the old packing, and soak the lighter tank and parts in good lighter fluid bath. Wipe dry, making sure that all traces of oil are removed. 

  3. The lighter won't spark even though new piece of flint is installed. If lack of flint is not the trouble here the problem might lye in:
    • defective wheel which might worn excessively smooth,
    • lack of proper tension or strength in the flint spring,
    • defective clutch spring as it sometimes felt apart,
    • fused old flint which often is the case when the lighter was not used a longer period.
    To get the lighter to work you will have to find spare parts in case the first two problems appeared. When an old flint is stuck in the flint tube you might want to use a tool (a screwdriver or a very fine-gauge drill bit). Remove the flint screw and spring and break up the old flint in the spring tube. Be careful to not damage the flint wheel, but also be thorough about getting all the old flint out. In some of the cases the lighter has to be dissembled to get the job done.

Hint 1: Keep clean the wheel. Do not allow it to clog up with dirt, lint, tobacco or powder dust, powdered flint, etc. The remedy for this is an occasional brushing with a stiff brush, or light wire wheel if powder tools are available. A good idea is also to blow a burst of air into the lighter mechanism.
Hint 2: If you do not intend to use the lighter for a longer period remove the flint otherwise it might get stuck like cement in the flint tube. This is because of moisture, spring pressure, time and ferrocerium - the material which the flint is made of.
Hint 3: Never use the lighter until fluid and flint are completely exhausted. This results in charred wick, and necessitates re-wicking and repacking. When flint is gone, the wheel continues to turn against the flint spring tip which, being often brass, will damage or destroy the cutting surfaces of the wheel, and make replacement necessary.
Hint 4: To disassemble a lighter with a standard movement, a few tools are necessary like small screwdrivers, tweeters and alignment tools.

In addition to what was written above an interesting article published in Popular Mechanics on February 1947 on "Getting the Most of Your Cigarette Lighter".



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