Repairing Common Adjustable Office Chair Problems

Brief article outlining procedures for maintaining office chairs. Tips on extending life of the chair as well as comfortability and smooth operation.

Some of the most common office chair problems are easily fixed. The most annoying of these is probably the "˜squeaky chair.' This is the problem that lets everyone around you know when you are sitting down, getting up, leaning forward, and most certainly, leaning back. This problem, thankfully, is also one of the easiest to correct. For this repair, you will need a can of spray lubricant, such as spray WD-40, or any spray silicon, and also a can of compressed air, easily found in an office supply store.

Usually, the area from which the squeak originates is the spring located either below or directly behind the seat itself. Rock the chair back and forth a bit, or better yet, get a friend to do it. While your partner rocks, spray a bit of compressed air into the part of the chair emitting the loudest squeak. The sound may often seem to be coming from multiple places. This is fine; we'll tackle one area at a time. Using the compressed air, remove any loose dust or debris from the squeak area. When you are satisfied that the area is clean, spray a bit of lubricant onto the area. It is important not to over-lubricate, as this may loosen bolts in the chair, causing harm to the person rocking. Spray a small amount of the lubricant, and continue to set the chair in motion. Once you are satisfied that an area has been cleaned and lubricated, move on to the next area, repeating the same steps. When most of the squeaks have been quieted, have your friend get up from the chair, and leave the chair to settle, allowing the lubricant to penetrate the crevices of the spring. After approximately fifteen minutes, test your chair again. If squeaks still remain, repeat the above process until mostly quiet. Some chairs will never be completely still, especially those with multiple features such as lumbar support and neck rests. These chairs are built with extra options which, while comfortable, tend to be a bit vocal.

The next problem we will tackle are the "˜sticky wheels' There is nothing worse than rolling along a nice, smooth piece of carpet, only to be flattened by a sticky wheel.



Turn the chair upside down on a flat surface, or floor. Using your canned air, clean the wheels of all dirt, dust and debris. It may be necessary to clean the wheels, especially if your chair is used on a carpeted surface. Using a mixture of mild dish detergent and warm water, clean the wheels. Some chairs come equipped with removable wheels. If yours is one of these, remove the wheels, clean them thoroughly, and put them back on the chair. Otherwise, a dishtowel with the warm water mixture ought to suffice.

Once you are satisfied that your wheels are cleaned, dry them thoroughly, and finally, apply a small amount of auto tire cleaner. This will condition the wheel, and make it roll more smoothly. Be sure and wipe any excess tire conditioned from the wheels before using your chair again, especially if your office has a light-colored carpet.

Squeaking and sticking are the most common chair problems. Others may include loose headrests or arm rests. This problem is easily solved with a screwdriver. Simply observe the type of screw used. Either Phillips or flat-head, the proper screwdriver will tighten the screw and resolve your problem.

Always save your assembly instructions for do-it-yourself projects, such as office chairs. They will come in handy when performing maintenance, as they show where springs and levers are located. These may not always be easily visible, and an unspecified squeak which doesn't respond to your cleaning and lubricating may become increasing frustrating.

Perform the above maintenance every two to six months and you will not only keep your chair quiet and productive, but may also extend the life of your chair.

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