Office chairs come with built-in hydraulics for movement functions such as height adjustment. However, in cases where these hydraulics fail, the chairs do not function the same way and problems like sinking and tilting occur.
To stop your chair from sinking, check your chair’s gas lift cylinder. Replace or fix it as necessary. To solve tilting issues, check the arrangement of the chair using the tilting knob on the chair. If the swivel mechanisms are broken, replace them with a new one.
You may have a sinking chair that is too uncomfortable to sit on. Or your chair is tilted in a way that makes sitting in it a chore. Both are due to faulty hydraulics and chair parts.
Read this guide fully to figure out how the problems are caused and how to fix them.
Why Do Chair Hydraulics Fail?
There are two main reasons why chair hydraulics fail. First, because the chair is old. With time, many mechanical parts fail to function as they would in their prime state.
You cannot stop your chair from getting old, so worrying about it won’t help. If you think that your chair is too old, then getting a new one is always a good option.
The other reason is the low quality of the product. No matter how hard to swallow, the truth is that even the most premium chairs can have mediocre quality internal materials. These materials do not function well, and the durability is debatable.
Why Does My Office Chair Keep Sinking?
There are a couple of reasons why your office chair might sink. The most common reason is the gas cylinder failing. When this happens, your chair will no longer be able to withstand the same amount of weight that it could when the gas cylinder was fully functional.
If, after examining your chair, you find that this is the problem, there are ways to solve it. The first way is to buy a new chair gas lift cylinder to replace the old one. You can order the gas cylinder for your chair online. You will also find various options to choose from.
A moderate chair gas lift cylinder will cost you only $1.5-$4 on Alibaba.com. You can go to any of the big e-commerce sites of your choice and they will have chair gas cylinders for around the same price.
Secondly, you can choose to repair the old chair gas lift cylinder. If you are good with tools and know-how it works, you might be able to fix it yourself.
Why Won’t My Office Chair Go Down?
The reason for office chairs getting stuck in one place at times is also due to a faulty lifting mechanism. This happens when the cylinder does not work or the shaft is stuck due to improper placement.
Both can be fixed by replacing or fixing the lifting mechanism of the chair. You should not try to put excessive pressure on the chair to make it go down. This can lead to shocks to the supporting pillars, damaging them further.
You should check your chair brands and the build quality before buying a chair. Some chair hydraulics, however, fail for other reasons, such as a sudden heavy load or a lack of proper storage.
How Do You Fix A Hydraulic Chair That Is Going Down?
As I mentioned before, you need to fix or replace the chair gas lift cylinder to stop your chair from going down. Also, you can modify the chair to a fixed height. Both are easy, and you can do them at home by yourself.
How To Replace A Faulty Chair Gas Cylinder?
So you want to get a new chair gas lift cylinder and now need to properly place it in your chair. Here is what to do:
- Firstly, you need to open up the base of the chair. Start by turning it upside-down. Then remove the clip with the help of a screwdriver. Take off the flat washer and the base of the chair. Keep all parts in a safe place so you do not lose them.
- Secondly, you have to get rid of the previously installed gas cylinder. Use a wrench to get a good grip on it. Then twist or tap the cylinder to get it out of the structure. In some cases, you might need to use a lubricant such as WD40 or Q20 to make the process easier.
- Simply place the newly bought gas cylinder in place of the old one. To do that, you need to insert the tapered side of the gas cylinder into the column. Then twist to get it in a fixed spot. Your gas cylinder should come with an instruction sheet on how to install it. Read the instructions to get a better idea of that specific gas cylinder.
- Now that the cylinder is in place, you can reconnect the base of the chair. Turn it back to the right side on the floor and test if it is working properly.
Most chair gas cylinders are made in a way to fit in almost any chair. However, if you are confused as to which one to buy, you can get a reference from the old gas cylinder in your chair.
For that, simply follow up to step two. Then take the opened gas cylinder with you to the store. Then you will be provided with either the same model or something suitable to replace it.
You Can Modify Your Chair Gas Cylinder
So, you have a failed gas lift cylinder in your chair. If you want the problem to be fixed but cannot fix the cylinder itself, then you can always choose to modify the gas cylinder at a fixed height.
By modifying the gas cylinder to a fixed height, you will have a chair that does not sink. But the shock absorbance will not be the same and it will not go down. If you are willing to accept these conditions, then you can continue the process.
The idea is to add additional support to the pillar of your chair gas lift cylinder so that the pressure is no longer transferred to the cylinder. Rather, the weight will be transferred to the surrounding structure.
You will need tools to open up the chair, supporting materials, a saw to cut the materials to the right size, and some tape or wood as optional items.
Here is a step-by-step guide:
- Set your chair on a table upside down. To balance it, put any sturdy item on the bottom part that is now touching the floor.
- Grab the handle and then set the chair to your desired height. If you are tall, you will require more height, thus more extension, and vice versa.
- Remove the clip and the flat washer from the bottom of the chair. Using a screwdriver will suffice. Now you can remove the wheel part of the chair and set it aside.
- Make sure that the plastic and metal washers on the inside are kept in place. Now measure the length of the extended portion of the supporting pillar. You should consider the height of the washers as well.
- Next, grab the type of support item you want to use. Using black steel pipes is the best option, in my opinion, because they provide much more support than PVC pipes. Then cut the portion of the pipe to the length you measured.
- Make sure that the pipe diameter is equal to the diameter of the support bar of the chair. Then place the pipe on the support bar with the inner rod covered by the pipe.
- Your washers should fit into the pipe. If it does not, you can sand down your washer to the point that it fits the pipe. Another option is to use a wooden ring and sand it off to the desired size.
- The washers will keep the pipe in place. For extra security, use glue to stick them in place. Place all the things back in place and you will have a fixed height for your chair.
This modification is best when you have the tools at hand and are comfortable with the chair’s having a fixed height.
Another easy way to do this modification is by using a hose clamp. You can find a hose clamp at your local supermarket.
To place the hose clamp, first, place your chair sideways on the floor. Then raise it to the height you desire. Mark the place on the steel support pipe.
Wrap some tape around the pipe to make the grip on the pipe stronger. After that, take your hose clamp and place it around the pipe on the spot. Now tighten it as much as you can with a screwdriver. This will keep your chair in a fixed position with the weight being spread across the hose clamp.
How Do You Fix An Office Chair That Leans Forward?
Oftentimes, office chairs can lean forward or to one side. The reason is that the swivel chair mechanism parts are faulty or broken. You can fix the problem by replacing the swivel mechanism parts.
Here is how to replace a broken swivel mechanism part.
- The swivel mechanism is directly connected to the seat at the base. Turn your chair upside down and you will find them sticking to the seat of the chair.
- Get a screwdriver and open up the four screws that hold the mechanism in place one by one. You need to keep the screws in a safe place so that they do not get lost.
- After removing the screws, carefully remove the swivel mechanism, along with the whole base of the chair. Then separate the wheelbase from the faulty swivel mechanism.
- Place your new swivel mechanism on the base of the seat where the old one was. Screw it into place tightly.
- Now attach the remaining parts of the chair as they were, and you will have a fixed chair that sits directly straight.
This was considering that the mechanism in your chair is broken. However, there are times when the chair mechanisms are not broken but rather just misplaced. There are ways you can fix that.
If the chair is leaning forward, follow these steps to arrange it into place.
- First, sit comfortably on the chair with at least a 2-inch gap from the seat to your knees. Lean against the back of the chair to counter the leaning of the chair. Hold on to the position for the period while fixing it.
- Look below the seat pan for the tilt adjustment knob. You should be able to reach it with one hand in all types of office chairs.
- Then push the tilt adjustment knob down. This will let the seat adjustment move. You have to push it again and, at the same time, push the chair backward as much as you need for it to achieve the desired angle. After that, release the tilt adjustment knob to fix it into place.
If the chair is leaning backward, follow these steps to arrange it into place.
- Sit in the chair comfortably with enough space between the seat and your knees as described before.
- Find the tilting knob under the seat and push on it to make the chair move at its angle.
- While you are pushing the chair forward with your body, slowly release the tilt knob. Then place it in a fixed position when you are satisfied with the tilt of the chair.
Fixing your chair to have the perfect height and tilt arrangement is important not only for your comfort but also for your long-term health. You will spend a lot of time in your chair, which is why it is important to always check your chair for any problems that may be occurring.
Office chairs are pretty pricy. The cost of buying a new chair is not always a productive or beneficial way to go about it. My advice is that you should fix your chair if you can.
This article has covered the solutions to two of the most common problems with office chairs that are sinking and tilting. Follow the steps accordingly and you will surely succeed in both cases.