Stop Office Chairs Squeaking

Nothing is more annoying than an office chair that squeaks whenever you move. It is very irritating for both you and your nearby colleagues.

Fortunately, most squeaks and noises in office chairs can be fixed quickly and easily, but some squeaks require persistence and a little detective work to trace the cause and fix.

Some disassembly and removal of screws maybe required to get to the seat of the crime.

But perseverance and knowing what to do, and how to do it, can work wonders.

Make sure that the solution is not worse than the original problem - some lubricants and very smelly.

This article describes how to find the cause and stop office chairs squeaking. Your colleagues will love you for fixing it. Peace at Last!

Common Squeak Locations
Common Squeak Locations | Source
Wooden Office Chair Design, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1904-06
Wooden Office Chair Design, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1904-06 | Source
Early Poster
Early Poster | Source
Rocking Chair as office chair
Rocking Chair as office chair | Source

Firstly you need to kneel down on the floor beside your office chair and move it around to locate the source of the creak. You may have to get a colleague to do it for you if you cannot re-create the squeak when you are not seated in it.

The most common places that squeak are;

  • the swivel mechanism
  • around the wheelbase,
  • the springs and mechanism for tilting the chair back
  • the back of the chair
  • the armrests
  • the internal frame and springs

To try to fixed the squeak you need to apply a few drops or a spray of a suitable lubricant

Spray lubricants that have a fine-tip nozzle or tube makes it easier to apply the spray to the squeaky joint without getting it all over the chair and making a mess. Always test the lubricant first to ensure that it will not stain upholstery of the chair.

WD40 or equivalent will do the job but it does have a rather strong odor. Try olive oil or baking spray oil as an alternative. For a more thorough job of oiling fry and squeaking joints you can try Break-Free or a silicone based lubricant. Motorcycle chain lubricant also works well and it comes in a spray can with a fine tube. Move the dry joint and see whether the lubricant has fixed the problem. Wipe away any excess lubricant using paper towel or a soft cloth. You may need to this several times as the oil may drip out of the joint. You may need to move the chair back and forth several times to get the lubricant into the joints, or leave it for a while to soak in.

If the lubricant does not fix the squeak, after several attempts, more drastic action may be called for. Try applying the lubricant to the surrounding joints to see if this makes a difference. You may need to remove the arms and other parts of the chair to get access to the springs and joints inside. The springs located directly behind of below the seat are often the cause of the problem. Sometimes tightening the mounting screws or bolts will fix the problem. This particularly applies to the armrests. Sticky wheels can sometimes cause squeaks themselves or force other chair movements that lead to squeaks. It is relatively easy to apply lubricants to the hubs of the wheels. Gas lift mechanisms and the area where they link to the chair are often sites of squeaks.

Sometimes squeaks are caused by fractures, excessive wear and other malfunctions that cannot be fixed with lubricants and tightening of screws and bolts. In some cases, despite much effort to find and fix the squeaks, they still remain. Often you cannot get to the cause of the problem without damaging the chair. In these cases it may be time for a new chair.

© 2013 Dr. John Anderson

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