If you own a butane lighter, you can keep it in proper working condition by using the appropriate fuel and maintenance procedures. You should never puncture or try to tamper with a lighter other than by using the proper controls and methods outlined in your owner's manual.
Substandard butane has a higher oil content than recommended butane, which can lead to lighters becoming clogged more quickly. There are a number of commercial butanes recommended specifically for flameless or jet torch lighters. Randy Biggs, owner of The Tobacco Shop, recommends Dunhill, Colibri and Prometheus.
Lighter Is Not Sparking
If your lighter is not sparking properly and it is a quartz model, listen for the clicking that you normally hear when you light it. If you don't hear it, the lighter is not repairable--you will need to replace it. If you hear the sound but still receive no flame, check to see if it is sparking toward the butane release valve. If it is not sparking toward the valve, you may need to readjust the small wire (electrode) that is positioned over where the flame ignites. Use a small screwdriver to make small adjustments to bring the wire toward the release valve. Test it after each adjustment, being careful not to break the delicate wire.
Flint lighters will not spark if they are missing flint, so check this first and replace it if needed. If the flint is intact and still not sparking, try turning the flint around to the unused portion. Sometimes the flint may not be connecting with the flint wheel; remove the flint and stretch the spring, being careful not to overstretch it. Another cause may be that the flint wheel is soiled. Use a small brush to remove the flint residue.
Cleaning and Refueling
Lighters should be periodically cleaned using a pipe cleaner or swab around the flame opening. Blow out any loose flint or particles.
Before attempting to refuel your lighter, adjust the flame to its lowest setting and bleed any excess air out of the chamber. Look for the valve on the bottom of the lighter; it works much like a tire valve does on a bicycle. By pushing in on the valve with a small screwdriver, you will purge the excess gas and oxygen from the lighter. You may hear hissing--continue to push in on the valve until you no longer hear air escaping the reservoir tank. Fill the lighter with a recommended butane by turning the lighter and butane container upside down and mating the can with the lighter valve. Fill the lighter for 15 seconds by pushing down on the butane can. Larger lighters may require more fueling time.
Abaigeal Quinn works as an international entertainment broker in the United States. She is a former news editor and insurance agent who began writing for a daily newspaper in 1995.