Squeaky chairs 101
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Working in an office can mean putting up with random things and sounds done by other people. However, there is one sound that will grind your gears whether it’s you making it or someone else, the creak of a squeaky office chair.
You don’t want to be the person who creates such a painstaking “Squeeeee” every time that you lean back in your chair. The kind of agonizing noise that may as well start all the local dogs off barking.
These noises are easily fixable, they aren’t a death sentence for your chair.
There are also a few reasons why your chair may be making these noises too, let’s have a look through these and get your chair fixed up before all the local dogs start barking.
Why might your chair squeak?
Loose bolts and screws
It’s very unlikely that you actually put your office chair together yourself. However, the fact that you probably didn’t do this, may mean that you weren’t there to ensure that everything was screwed on tight enough.
If you examine your chair, look for loose bolts or screws, this is best to do with the chair tipped upside down.
If you stack some books or files up to the height of the head then you can turn your chair over and secure it on the stack, so that it won’t fall. Then you can take a good look.
You can then use your fingers to wiggle each screw/ bolt. If some are loose you may be able to tighten them back up with your fingers, however, a screwdriver or crescent wrench is also a good shout and probably the best bet for you.
Tight everything up and proceed to then place the chair upright again, check for a squeak with your usual movements and it is continuing to do so, further, checks are needed.
Next, you will want to check the joints and moving components.
Joints and moving parts
If you still have a squeak after tackling the bolts and screws then you need to identify where the squeak is coming from.
Have a colleague sit in your chair and move about while you look and listen. If you can identify the location of the squeak then you can use a can of something called WD-40.
Spray this on the area, keeping some paper towels on the ground to catch any of the falling lubricants.
One of the most common sources of a chair squeak is in the springs which cushion your chair as you lean back, these are known as seat-tension springs.
You can easily fix these as there is generally a knob that you can turn on this to ease or tighten the tension.
You can also apply oil to the seat tension spring located inside the turn-knob housing. Just simply loosen the seat tension turn-knob and remove it to spray the oil inside.
There is also a chance that the wheels may be causing the squeak. While you may come across a variety of wheels, standard wheels are inserted into the body of the chair via a metal post that is fixed to the top of the wheel.
Over time those posts can become worn down and may loosen a bit, this can make the wheel axles suffer from squeak-inducing frictions.
This is easily fixable by laying them down on a set of paper towels and giving them a good squirt with some silicone spray, you should give the metal posts a good squirting too while ensuring that the spray is inside the post housing.
How to fix it
Now that we have given you information on the squeaks, a tip or two on how to fix these problems, we are going to go over the process of fixing a squeaky office chair in a simple step-by-step guide.
1. Turn over the chair and look at all the hardware- nuts, bolts, and screws. Get a screwdriver or wrench and tighten any of these that are loose.
It may be worthwhile to even tighten the ones that are not loose for extra security. Over time bolts will become loose and this will cause certain chair parts to rub together irregularly which creates that squeaky noise that we all hate.
2. Apply a lubricating oil onto all of the nuts, screws, and bolts, this will help to loosen the joints. You can simply spray this lubricating oil onto the chair mechanisms directly and pat them dry.
You could also spray this lubricant onto a cloth and rub the oil into the problem area to have more control over where the oil goes and avoiding any drips and clean up.
Note: Moisture in the air can cause rust, regularly oiling will prevent this rust from occurring.
3. If the chair still squeaks after you have lubricated the mechanisms and tightened all the bolts and screws then take them all out and lubricate them individually with light machine oil before putting them back in.
Sometimes they may just require an extra bit of attention.
4. If you need help in locating the source of the squeak then get a friend or colleague to sit in the chair and swivel.
Applying weight to the chair will give you insight into the cause and location of the squeak.
Therefore each time you apply more oil ask your seat-tester colleague/ friend to move so that you can ensure that the oil is going in the correct place.
5. If your chair only squeaks when you lean back then it is usually caused by too much tension in the springs, they rub on the housing ends.
To eradicate this squeak, simply apply oil to the seat tension spring which is located inside the turn-knob housing. Loosen the seat tension turn knob, remove and spray oil inside the housing.
6. Since desk chairs are often on wheels that move quite a lot it is not uncommon for the axles in these wheels to require some silicone spray.
Turn it over and spray the wheels, then flip the chair over and roll around to spread it over the wheels.
7. Finally, to prevent further squeaking, carefully sit down in your chair, thumping yourself into it will eventually create a squeak. Be cautious when you sit to avoid extra wear and tear on the mechanisms.