With a little online help, sourcing office chair repair parts can be as easy as point and click.
Office Chair Easy Fixes
Wait a minute! Not all problems require replacement parts. If you have a squeak or wonky wheel, you may be able to fix it with some lubrication or cleaning:
To Repair a Sticking Wheel
A sticking wheel may just need a little cleaning. Upend your chair to access the wheel assemblies. Inspect wheels for gunk and small particulates. Remove dust buildup with canned air. It's the stuff the tech department uses to clean computers. You can find it at your local office supply store. If the area needs a more thorough treatment, you can scour it with a soft brush or pipe cleaner, or even wash it with a little dish soap and water. If the wheels are removable, clean and dry them in a sink or bucket.
To Repair a Squeak
If your chair announces your every movement to the rest of the office, it's time to get out the spray lubricant. A WD-40 type all-purpose spray will work. You'll also need a can of compressed air.
Most squeaks generate from the spring area under or behind the seat. Try rocking the seat back and forth while you're sitting in it. If you can recreate the sound, treat the problem by spraying compressed air around the spring. The best approach is to have someone else sit in the chair and tilt the seat while you spray from a number of locations around the chair. Once you're confident that the area is clean, spray the spring with lubricant. After the lubricant has had an hour or so to work, test the chair again. Repeat the process as necessary.
Monthly cleaning will help your chair run better longer.
Office Chair Warranties and Documentation
To handle office chair repair problems, it'll help if you can find the original sales material you received when the chair was new. This will give you valuable information about how to get in touch with the manufacturer. Most standard chair parts can be replaced with generic equivalents, but your best option is to get original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts if you can. That's the best way to ensure that they'll fit perfectly.
Another advantage of being able to peruse the manufacturer's printed material is to determine what type of warranty coverage might still be in effect. Low-end office chairs will usually have at least a one-year limited warranty for parts, and higher quality chairs may have coverage for three or even five years for parts and one year for labor. If your chair is covered, you may be able to get it fixed for the cost of shipping it back to the factory.
Having proper identification will help you check for any applicable recalls too. From time to time, chairs are recalled for potential safety hazards. Check with the Consumer Product Safety Commission for a list of current recalls. If your chair qualifies, you may be able to get a replacement free of charge.
Office Chair Diagnostics
Office chairs can take a pounding. If you're not the only one using it, the chair's lifting and lowering mechanism may get a regular workout and fail from heavy use. If your chair has to handle additional weight, or you typically use the arms to lever yourself in and out, the arm rests or castors can break or start to loosen up, creating an unstable wobble. The following list represents office chair parts that are most likely to fail:
- Casters - Broken casters are one of the most common office chair problems. The good news is that there are lots of sources for castors. To be on the safe side, replace all the casters on your chair, even if only one is damaged. Measure the diameter of the castor's wheel, outer collar, and pin (shaft). If you're finding a source locally, like your home improvement or office supply store, take a caster along for easy identification.
- Gas Lift - Replacement gas lift mechanisms are available for most office chair styles, but you may need to buy a removal tool to get the old lift off the chair.
- Armrest - Metal armrests are strong and durable, but many newer chairs use less expensive plastic construction. If you rely on your chair arms as more than the occasional elbow rest, you may need to change out the armrests before you're ready to retire the chair. The first step is to contact the manufacturer. Barring that, measure the location and size of the mounting holes where the armrests screw into the seat and chair back. Use them to source generic replacement armrests.
- Backrest - Backrests are difficult to repair. The structure of the entire piece is what's usually compromised, making it necessary to replace the entire back. Sometimes the manufacturer can help, but it's a long shot. Your best recourse is to put the money and time into finding a good deal on a new chair.
- Recliner - The recliner mechanism attaches to the bottom of the chair seat. You can identify it by the adjustment levers or handles you use to move the chair backward and forward. There will be up to three of them. The mechanism itself may have a supplier's identification sticker with a part number to help you source a replacement. If not, contact the chair's manufacturer or use the online guide available at many chair parts sites to identify the recliner mechanism for a straightforward swap.
Office Chair Repair Parts - Resources
The listing below will give you some handy resources for office chair repair parts. For the best results, have the make and model of your chair handy for reference purposes: