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COIL ZIP 4 - The slider works but does not run freely

Sliders that do not run freely will lead to premature zip wear and failure.

Coil zips have plenty of spaces between their coils and under the stitching holding the coils to the zip tape. Dust and grit will accumulate in these spaces, making the zip stiff and abrasive to the sliders, increasing the drag force needed to operate the slider, particularly around curved parts of the zip insertion. This extra drag may, in turn, lead to slider distortion and failure of the zip to close behind the slider.

Zips used in dusty or salty environments need to be cleaned every now and then, and then lubricated after cleaning. Your tent or pack zip may not look that dirty but, after it has been hosed clean, maybe first brushed with a little detergent and water (but no detergent on canvas fabric please!), you will be surprised at how much more freely the sliders run. Finish the job by treating both sides of the zip coils and their tapes with a silicone 'zip-glide' spray.

If cleaning and lubrication doesn't solve the problem it may be that the slider is difficult to operate because it has been distorted from a knock or being slammed in a car door, for example. It has closed down at its trailing edge, not leaving enough room for the meshed coils to pass through freely.  In this case the gap can be increased by inserting a thin screwdriver into each side of the slider in turn and giving the screwdriver a small twist. A very small increase in the slider clearances makes a big difference. Be careful! Diecast metal can only withstand a few small 'bends' back and forth before it weakens and eventually fails.
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