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How to Fix Chair Hydraulics

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If you’re having problems with your office chair’s hydraulics, then there are a few different things you can do to get back to a comfortable seating experience. Keep reading below to learn more about the methods you can use to fix your sinking, favorite office chair.


  • The preferred method to fix an office chair’s hydraulics is to replace the gas lift altogether.
  • Quick fixes are possible but not recommended since they don’t offer long-term solutions.
  • Office chairs usually sink because of old age and extended use.

How to Fix a Sinking Office Chair

Fixing the hydraulics in your office chair might be a bit of a misnomer since the preferred method is to replace the hydraulics entirely. To replace the hydraulics, you will need to know how to take out the gas lift from an office chair. However, this can depend on how persistent and what the issue is. For some, it may just be a case of how to fix a squeaky chair, a popping noise, or an office chair that leans back.

The following steps outline the recommended method of fixing a sinking office chair. This is not as easy as getting a blood stain out of an office chair so prepare to do some handiwork. Alternatively, depending on how severe the stain is, you may need to know how to repair the mesh back of the office chair.

STEP 1Measure Your Chair’s Gas Cylinder

Before purchasing any repair kits or starting any repairs on your office chair, you must measure the existing gas cylinder. This is the part of the chair that is responsible for height adjustment. Most office chairs sport a standard gas cylinder, which measures two inches in width. Take your ruler or measuring tape and measure the width of your chair’s gas cylinder to ensure it is a standard option.

STEP 2Measure the Gas Cylinder’s Stroke

A gas cylinder’s stroke refers to the range of its height adjustment. To measure your cylinder’s stroke, set the chair at its lowest height setting and mark on your wall where the top of the backrest sits. Then, raise the chair to its highest height settings and make another mark. Use your ruler or measuring tape to measure the distance between the two marks to get your stroke setting.

STEP 3Purchase a Gas Cylinder Repair Kit

After taking all your measurements, it’s time to purchase a replacement gas cylinder kit. Repair kits are widely available, and you can typically purchase something that will fit your chair. We recommend getting a gas cylinder repair kit that matches your existing cylinder’s stroke measurement. Make sure to check the weight capacity on the repair kit as well, or you might run into long-term problems if you buy a cylinder with a lower capacity than you need.

STEP 4Remove the Base from the Cylinder

Once you receive your repair kit, it’s time to get to work. On a stable surface, place your office chair on its side. Tap near the center of the base away from the chair to remove it from the cylinder. Don’t tap too hard with your rubber mallet, as it may cause damage to the base’s casing.

STEP 5Remove the Old Gas Cylinder from the Mechanism

Now that the base is removed from the cylinder, you have two different options for removing the cylinder from the metal mechanism, which is screwed to the seat’s bottom. First, you can take a pipe wrench to untwist the mechanism. Second, you can remove the screws keeping the mechanism connected to the seat, and then use your rubber mallet to tap the mechanism until it separates from the cylinder. Either way works just fine, so choose the option that works best for you and the tools you have on hand.

STEP 6 Install the Replacement Gas Cylinder in the Base

Place your office chair’s base on a flat, stable surface with its wheels down. Then, place the replacement gas cylinder into the base

STEP 7Reconnect the Base and Cylinder to the Chair

Use both hands to reconnect the base and cylinder to the chair’s mechanism. If you disconnected the mechanism in a previous step, make sure you screw it back into place before performing this step. The cylinder should lock into place, and then you can flip the chair back to its original position. Double-check that everything is tightened properly. You don’t want to have to go back to fix the popping sounds from your chair.

Alternative Options

There are some alternative fixes you can use for your sinking office chair. We don’t recommend using these fixes since they are temporary and can cause further damage to your office chair over time. However, they work for a quick fix until you can purchase a gas cylinder replacement kit. Of course, another option is to use a chair that does not have a gas cylinder, like with our CLATINA office guest chair review. These types it chairs are not adjustable, however.

Hose Clamp Method

With this method, you can use a standard hose clamp, also known as a jubilee clamp, to keep your office chair locked into a single-height setting. Place the chair at the appropriate height setting, and then place the clamp as close to the cylinder’s top as you can put it. Tighten the clamp with a screwdriver, and then wrap it in duct tape to secure it in place.

PVC Pipe Method

You can also use a PVC pipe in a similar manner to lock your chair into a singular height setting. This method involves more measurements. Set your chair at the desired height, and then measure the amount of gas cylinder exposed. Also, measure how wide your gas cylinder is. Then purchase and cut a piece of PVC pipe to fit that part of the cylinder. Then place the PVC pipe, which will keep your chair in place. Alternatively, if you don’t want to have to worry about any kind of hydraulics, you can read our Amazon Basics classic leather office desk guest chair review for an option with no wheels or adjustments.


Why do office chairs sink?

Simply put, office chairs sink because their hydraulic gas cylinders start to fail. This can happen because of age, prolonged use, and faulty construction. If your office chair is starting to lean forward, that’s another fix you’ll have to make as well.

Can you fix the hydraulics of an office chair?

It’s typically not cost or time effective to repair the broken gas cylinder, so we recommend purchasing a replacement kit and simply replacing the entire cylinder.

Are office chair bases universal?

For the most part, yes, office chair bases are universal. There may be some exceptions, but they are rare.

Are office chair cylinders universal?

The standard office chair cylinder size is two inches, and most cylinders are of this size.

STAT: Most standard office chair gas cylinders can support up to 250 pounds of weight. (source)

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