There is nothing more aggravating than a squeaky chair when you’re trying to focus on work.
In any office, a random noise here and there could be easily overlooked, but constant high-pitched squeaking can induce tension, arguments, and even migraines.
In this article, we will see how to make your office chair less squeaky.
Tips for Finding a Squeak, Repairing and Maintaining Your Office Chair
As annoying as it is, there are a few quick ways to correct the issue.
Some require tools, while others just need a quick trip to the store. Don’t worry. We’ll get you back to a quiet office in no time.
You can accomplish this repair with patience and the right set of tools.
While not comprehensive, before you start, please make sure to have the following items:
- Soft cloth
- Newspaper or paper towels
- Chair manual
- Hammer and wood glue (for wooden chairs)
After collecting each item and finding a good space to work, begin by finding where the squeak is coming from. Spread out the newspaper before you start to catch any stray bits of oil or dirt that fall as you clean.
Additional Tip: An optional item is a small, clear baggy to hold small parts like screws. You don’t want to lose these items to thick carpet or an uneven floor as you reassemble your chair.
Sourcing the Squeak
It’s no surprise that the first step is assessing where your problem originates. Today’s office chairs come with a lot of moving parts, and you might have a leg up on others if you assembled yours.
This is a general guide, so we won’t be discussing any specific models here.
We’ve found, nine times out of ten, the squeaking starts when your chair reaches a late stage of wear and tear. It can feel overwhelming looking at all the different pieces involved, so go ahead and start with the screws that connect each piece together.
If you’ve already prepared your work area, move your chair over to it, placing it gently over the newspaper. As far as clothing goes, your work outfit might suffice, but an apron or even a towel for this project might be better. Preparing for a small spill is easier than cleaning up a stain.
Flip your squeaky office chair over (or lean it to the side on your desk if it’s too heavy), and use the screwdriver (or your fingers) to check each part for tightness. Go over all the general parts: nuts, bolts, screws, wheels, springs, levers, and buttons.
The pieces should feel flush to the plastic or metal and leave no wiggle room. At this step, you might find the source of the annoying sound but keep checking anyway to ensure a thorough repair.
If each connecting part is secure, then try the other levers, buttons, or other attachments from top to bottom. Wiggle each one and operate it to the extent that it’s comfortable. Once identified, you can apply the correct fix to your issue.
Common problem areas are adjustment levers. They usually have a small shaft connected to the housing beneath and easily become loose if they were not assembled correctly.
Correcting the Problem
After identifying the issue, it’s a simple process to get you back to a peaceful workspace.
At this stage, you’ll want to keep the soft towels and oil handy. Line up the tools in an easy-to-reach spot.
If you discovered that it’s a screw, nut, or bolt, and tightening was not the problem, it might be time for a little oiling. Grab a bottle of WD-40 or another general lubricant to fix a squeaky office chair from your local hardware store.
If you have the exact model, you may wish to speak with an expert at the store for a product that goes well with your specific chair.
When you return with your tools, make sure to remove the screws before oiling each part. To save time, you may wish to check in between greasing to verify that you’ve solved the problem.
However, it might be best to apply a little in each spot to extend the quieter life of your chair. Better to take care of it now while you have everything gathered.
Also, use your soft cloth to pat the surrounding area dry and wipe excess oil from the plastic to prevent corrosion.
After taking each part off and oiling the areas, check that your chair still works well. You don’t want to accidentally sit on an unfinished job. Referring to the manual again can smooth this process.
Wheels, Springs, or Handle
If you’ve discovered the culprit is one of the above pieces, then below are a few quick solutions.
The wheels on a chair are usually the first to have general wear and tear. If you’re like most people, you move around from one spot on your desk to another. The wheels could be the issue when you only hear your chair squeaking as you roll.
Placing a plastic mat below your desk to ease the rolling can help reduce the strain on your chair wheels.
To fix this, put your squeaky office chair upside down and examine each wheel. You can turn the wheels with your hand to see which one is the offending piece.
Gently apply oil to each wheel until all are well-greased, paying special attention to the axles. Allow them a few minutes to settle before placing your chair back in its position.
For handles, levers, or buttons, the same principle applies. As always, please make sure to take care of electrical parts.
Also, check with your chair manufacturer if the troubling piece is connected to more hazardous equipment like a heating element or battery. This goes doubly if you find any orange stickers attached.
Finally, the back springs that provide support are another nuisance. Fixing this might take a few minutes as you must remove the housing first.
At the base of your chair where the back spring connects, use a tool to remove the protective housing. After doing so, you may apply the grease to the spring’s base and allow it to sit for a minute before replacing the covering.
For Wooden Squeaky Office Chairs
Some prefer wooden chairs, but they are a different beast altogether. While still solid for the workplace, carpentry requires different upkeep. For this fix, you’ll need wood glue and a hammer.
Like the traditional office chair, your first step is to inspect the legs and back for where the sound originates. If you have a buddy, have them set here and gently rock while you examine.
In most cases, a loose nail, dowel, or wiggly joint will be the issue. Remember, a solid wooden chair should not move when you rock.
To fix any problem, place the squeaky office chair on a nearby table or desk and spread out some newspaper to catch any dripping glue. In this case, you might want to pick up some gloves to prevent any splinters. Use your best judgment.
For nails, use the hammer to remove the offending nail and replace it with a new one. Hammer it in solidly. Additionally, make sure to move to a different room as this might disturb your coworkers during the repair process.
For dowels, use a wood-swelling liquid to keep them firm in the legs. This can also help to prevent a chair from becoming unstable.
Lastly, for the joint problem, you’ll want to apply wood glue in the cracks to seal them back together.
For this step, make sure to hold the parts together for a few minutes to ensure a tight seal and use a different chair until the next day. Wood glue needs time to set properly.
General Tips for Longevity
No matter which chair type you choose, it’s important to care for your equipment. Your office chair will be a companion for a while, so keep up with the maintenance that it requires. Reference the user manual to see if there are any specific tasks to extend its life.
Another good rule is gentle use.
If you sit down lightly, don’t stand in it, and don’t lean back for long periods of time, you could keep your chair functioning well for years to come. For more expensive models, this is the easiest solution to not only keeping a good piece of furniture but also maintaining its integrity.
Finally, if after all this nothing works, it might be time to replace your squeaky office chair with a brand new companion. Consider reaching out to your manager to see if they can assist you with a new purchase.
No matter what you’re looking for: comfort, back support, even heated seats—you’re sure to find a new great addition to your office (or even home) workspace. Keep yourself comfortable and focused with a quiet chair.
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