Squeaky office chairs can be the most annoying thing about your day. They’re often loud, distracting, and can even disturb your neighbors if you share an office.
Regardless, you should be able to relax in your office chair without dealing with it squeaking all day. While most people might just replace it, you’re not afraid of some simple DIY to fix it up yourself if you’re reading this.
Below, we’ll teach you how to fix a squeaky chair. Whether it’s your favorite seat or you just want to save some money on a replacement, everyone can learn how to fix a squeaky chair with these simple steps.
Why Do Chairs Squeak?
While some models might have an issue with their gas lift piston, most office chairs squeak because a hinge needs lubrication or a screw needs tightening.
There are tons of tiny little metal parts in most modern desk chairs, and they all need a little love and affection occasionally.
However, chairs don’t squeak without someone moving in them, meaning it’s always an issue where you’re applying pressure as you sit. Spinning or leaning back too far might be more than it can handle, causing hinges to creak and squeak over time.
Figuring out when and where your chair squeaks are crucial to unraveling why it’s squeaking in the first place. If your chair is squeaking on its own, it might be time to call the Ghostbusters instead of fixing this yourself!
What Tools Do You Need to Fix a Squeaky Chair?
Before you start pulling apart your office chair, you’ll need to grab a few tools.
First, grab a screwdriver. You’ll find a lot of screws connecting the various parts of your chair, and you’ll probably need a large and small one to get them all out efficiently.
Next, you’ll most likely want a good wrench to help pull off the larger bolts holding together the base and undercarriage. A standard adjustable or combination wrench should do the trick for most chairs.
Lastly, you’ll need a can of WD-40 and a spotless rag to clean and lubricate the various parts of your chair. Regularly maintaining its internal mechanisms with WD-40 or a generic brand spray lubricant is one of the best ways to keep it squeaky-free.
If you have all these tools in hand, you should be able to fix almost any creaky chair you may come across. However, some chairs require smaller, more specialized tools to fix properly. You might also want to have a hex key kicking around in case there are tiny bolts on your chair.
How Do You Fix a Squeaky Chair?
Fixing your desk chair can be a fairly simple process if you know what you’re doing. However, taking your chair apart immediately before diagnosing the problem can lead to more problems than solutions.
Instead, follow this step-by-step process we’ve established in order to efficiently fix a squeaking desk chair.
Step 1 – Find Out Where the Squeak Is Coming From
When and where is the squeaking noise occurring? Does it happen when you lean backward in the chair or to the left or right? Can you hear it coming from the central piston, or maybe one of the wheels?
Determining exactly where the squeaking noise is coming from will make your job of fixing your chair ten times easier. If you don’t know which part is squeaking, lubricating and tightening every screw you see might actually make the problem worse.
Flip your chair and examine the undercarriage for any screws and bolts. Check all of them by hand to see if they’re loose. If they are, now you know exactly which of your chair’s parts needs maintenance.
Step 2 – Tighten Any Bolts or Screws
After you’ve found which bolts or screws are causing the issue, it’s time to tighten them with a wrench or screwdriver. If any bolts are loose whatsoever, you need to tighten them as much as humanly possible.
You’ll never need to loosen screws when you’re fixing a creaky desk chair unless you’re taking certain pieces completely apart. Tightening screws and bolts will reduce any wobbliness the chair is experiencing, in turn reducing any noise you might hear as you use it.
If you put your chair together yourself, you should have an idea of where all the bolts and screws are. However, if you didn’t, you might need to consult the product manual to determine the exact location of everything you need to tighten.
Step 3 – Remove Any Rust
Rust is a super common cause of annoying squeaks, infecting the chair’s various parts and causing them to creak as they rub against each other.
Removing any rust, you may find on your chair is the best way to get rid of creaking noises. Lubricating rusty parts with WD-40, machine oil, or even just a vinegar solution will almost always get rid of the rust and solve your noise issue.
Also, if you find any rusty screws or bolts as you’re going through Step Two, it’s better to replace them than tighten and hope for the best. Otherwise, those pieces might squeak or even break, especially if you don’t remove any surrounding rust.
Step 4 – Check the Fasteners
If your chair is still making annoying noises after you’ve completed Steps One to Three, the problem most likely lies with the chair fasteners.
Fasteners are what hold the main parts of the chair together. You’ll find them where legs meet the central piston, on the undercarriage, and on the piston itself. Making sure these fasteners are secure and rust-free will keep them squeaky-free as well.
Lubricate, tighten, or replace fasteners as necessary. These are the parts you’ll want to check regularly to make sure they’re in good condition since they’re the ones taking the most beating as you use your chair.
Step 5 – Check the Wheels
While you most likely figured out where the sound was coming from during Step One, sometimes squeaking comes from a different spot than you thought. Often, wheels are the culprits annoying the crap out of you.
Typically, desk chair wheels are fastened to a metal post that leads to the central piston. You can pop them off and check the post and inside the wheel to determine the issue. Lubricate both and remove any rust you may find, and your wheels should be squeaky-clean.
If you’re using an older chair, the wheels might actually be broken, causing them to make noise as you roll across the ground. While you can replace them, finding the right size wheel can be challenging, and it might be worth it just to replace the chair.
Step 6 – Check the Dowels
If the noise is coming from the legs, your problem is probably the dowels connecting the legs. These can come loose and can’t actually be tightened with a screwdriver or wrench in most cases, meaning you’ll have to get a bit creative to fix the problem.
First, unscrew the chair’s legs and examine the dowel. Find the problem area and lubricate. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to use wood glue or a wood-swelling solution.
Swelling liquids are often better than glue because it expands, securing the legs more firmly than a simple adhesive is able to. Lay this down, then reattach the legs to the dowel. After you’re done, there shouldn’t be any squeaking or other noises coming from the legs at all.
Step 7 – Check Any Springs
Your chair also has springs that keep it, well, springy as you lean back and forward. You can remove any surround nuts, bolts, and screws to access springs.
However, instead of lubricating, you may want to try using Teflon Thread Seal Tape. Attaching the tape and rubbing it between springs can reduce the pressure they’re under. As a result of less pressure, you’ll most likely hear less squeaking.
If this doesn’t work, try lubricating them with WD-40. If neither of these solutions works, then the issue isn’t your chair’s springs.
Step 8 – Call Up a Friend
If none of these solutions are working for you, your chair’s problem area probably isn’t what you’re thinking.
Call up a friend and have them sit on, spin around, and roll around in your chair. As they have fun, examine the undercarriage, wheels, legs, and every other part. You should be able to figure out which area needs maintenance much easier than on your own.
While fixing a squeaking desk chair can be a pain, it’s definitely cheaper than buying a whole new chair. Remember to lubricate the various parts of your chair regularly, and you probably won’t have to deal with any squeaks for a long time.
Having a can of WD-40 on hand, along with a wrench and a screwdriver, is the best way to be prepared for a squeaky chair. Even if your chair is quiet as a mouse, you may want these tools hanging around just in case.
Did this guide help you fix your chair? Let us know in the comments below!