How to Quickly Fix up a Loose or Wobbling Armrest on Your Office Chair

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Updated June 27, 2022

Armrests are one of the key features of a high-quality office chair, as they allow for increased posture and an overall improved user experience. These armrests can wear down over time, leading to a host of issues. Even the highest-quality office chair armrests can become loosened over time, wobble, and even fall off completely.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Chair armrests can become loose and wobbly over time, particularly with heavy use.
  • Some chairs feature tightening mechanisms for the armrests and related components.
  • If no tightening mechanism is available, it is time to completely deconstruct and rebuild the chair.

How to Fix a Loose or Wobbling Armrest

Tools Needed: Screwdriver, screws, bolts, glue, hex key allen wrench

STEP 1 Diagnose the Problem

The first thing you need to do is take a good look at your armrests in order to identify a potential source of the problem. Office chairs vary wildly when it comes to their overall design and some chairs feature easy-to-access knobs for tightening armrests. If your chair offers these knobs, do some tightening and then check again. If there is no immediate way to tighten the armrest then it is time for a complete deconstruction and rebuild.

STEP 2 Deconstruct the Office Chair

One way to fix an office chair armrest is to completely deconstruct the chair to its core components, as it was when it arrived in its original packaging. This is a much rather complicated and handy process unlike trimming office chair mats so you have to be prepared. The overall process of this deconstruction varies from model to model, but will likely involve using a screwdriver to loosen and remove all of the various screws, bolts, and related components throughout the chair. There may be a YouTube tutorial for your particular chair and if not, there is always reading the installation manual in reverse. Take great care after deconstruction to clearly label all of the chair components, for reference and for avoiding any accidental mishaps.

STEP 3 Check Out the Components

Once the chair has been deconstructed, take some time to eyeball the individual components, particularly the screws and bolts. Do any of these screws or dowel pins appear to be stripped or misshaped? Are any of the bolts broken in some way? If so, you will have to head to a repair store or Amazon to purchase some new components. The office chair’s instruction manual should contain a full list of individual components and some manufacturers will sell replacement parts. As a note, if all of the individual parts seem fine, you may not need to replace anything. It’s a good opportunity to oil your office chair in the event you have some squeaky parts.

STEP 4 Rebuild and Glue

The next step is to rebuild the chair as indicated in the model’s original instructions. If you purchased new parts, be sure to use them during this process. You may also want to apply adhesive or glue onto the joints, which could lengthen the overall lifespan of the chair’s armrest and other components. Take your time, follow the manual, and be careful when using glue, avoiding areas that need flexibility in order to function. Once you have finished the rebuilding process, be sure to give it some time for the glue or related adhesive to fully dry.

STEP 5 Test the Armrest and the Chair Itself

Once the chair has been fully rebuilt and the glue has been given time to dry, you will want to check the chair. Sit on the chair and keep an eye on overall flexibility and useability. Test the armrest by gently giving each one a squeeze, to see if they are still loose and wobbly. If everything checks out, then you are set to enjoy your office chair for years to come. Completing this deconstruction and rebuilding process can offer an experience in line with a brand new office chair. Be sure to also check out the office chair ergonomics to ensure that it is suitable for you.

F.A.Q.S

How do I keep my office chair wheels (castors) clean and free from drag?

We would recommend purchasing a high-quality chair mat and keeping the chair on the mat most of the time. This should keep the wheels and castors operating within normal parameters.


What is the average recommended maximum weight for an office chair?

The recommended maximum weight for an office chair can vary from model to model. These weight limits can range from 200 pounds all the way up to 350 pounds.


What is the average lifespan of a chair’s gas cylinder?

It is extremely common for a chair’s gas cylinder to stop working eventually. Generally speaking, these gas cylinders should last around ten years or so.



STAT: The average office chair that is used 40 hours per week should last an average of seven to ten years.

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