How to Fix an Office Chair That Leans Back

A comfortable office chair is a must-have when you sit for long periods of time. Sometimes new chairs or ones that have a few years on them may not function properly. One common malfunction is when the chair begins to tilt back when it's not supposed to. We've done a bit of digging to discover the most common reasons for this, and in this post, we will show you how to fix this issue.

An office chair may start to lean back because of broken or damaged casters, a change in the chair's tilt tension, or a bent or loose seat plate. To fix these issues:

  • replace damaged casters,
  • adjust the tilt tension, or
  • tighten the seat plate.

As you can see, there are only a few reasons that may cause the tilt to malfunction on an office chair. Continue reading to learn about how to troubleshoot and fix this issue. We will also discuss how to recognize when it's time to replace your office chair and offer a few suggestions on the most durable chairs on the market.

Home office with big window, wooden desk and floor and black office chair and sofa, How to Fix an Office Chair That Leans Back

How To Fix An Office Chair That Leans Back

The young business owner checks in with her employees via video conferencing sitting on a brown leather office chair

Replace broken or damaged casters

Sometimes the casters on an office chair may become damaged or broken over time. This will ultimately cause the chair to lean backward or sideways. All of the casters should touch the floor evenly and should be at the same height. If one caster breaks or becomes damaged due to uneven weight distribution, it should be replaced so that the chair will continue to function properly.

Lay the chair on its side. Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the damaged or broken casters from their sockets. Depending on the chair's age, you may need to use a little elbow grease or apply a bit of WD-40. The WD-40 will help to reduce the friction between the casters and the sockets.

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Once the damaged casters are removed, position the new casters over the socket. Next, use a rubber mallet to drive the caster into the socket. Be sure to tap the caster gently, as not to damage it or the socket.

Buy a mallet on Amazon.

Stand the chair upright and sit in it to make sure that it no longer leans to the back.

Adjust the tilt tension

Sometimes the office chair may just need a quick adjustment of the tilt tension, as it can loosen over time from weight continuously being placed on it. First, sit in the chair with your feet pressed firmly on the floor and your back against the backrest. Lean back to determine how far back the chair will go.

Next, reach beneath the chair to locate the tilt knob. This is usually located on the bottom left of the chair. You can also refer to your user's guide to find the exact location of the knob. While still sitting in the chair, push the knob down, tilting the seat forward. Let go of the knob when you reach your desired tilt level.

Try to tilt the chair back by leaning back to see if you have reached your desired tilt level. If you have not, press the tilt knob again and continue to tilt the chair forward until you do.

Tighten the seat plate

Sometimes the seat plates can lose their original adjustment and become loose or bent from everyday wear and tear. If this is the case with your office chair, lay your chair on its side to inspect the seat plate. The seat plate, usually painted black, is a thin steel frame located beneath the chair's cushion. Use a screwdriver to tighten any screws that may have become loose. If any screws are missing, note the screw sizes and replace them as needed.

Next, stand the chair upright to see if it still leans backward. If it's still leaning, you may need to either buy a new chair or simply replace the plate. The cost of the replacement will vary depending on the brand and model of the office chair. It's best to contact the retailer where you purchased the chair or the manufacturer themself to price a new seat plate.

Tips To Maintain Your Office Chair


A small home office desk with a brown office chair, Should You Get A Cushion For Your Office Chair?

Like other furniture, office chairs should be cleaned and maintained regularly to prevent damage or premature malfunctioning. These chairs undergo a lot of wear and tear daily, and doing a quick cleaning every few months or so can go a long way. Here are a few ways to maintain your office chair:

Inspect The Casters

Whether your office has a hardwood floor or carpeting, the casters are continuously rolling across debris, hair, lint, and other fibers on this floor. To keep them rolling smoothly, flip the chair upside down and pull out any debris inside the casters or use the suction hose on a vacuum to clean them.

Tighten All The Fasteners

Office chairs contain several screws and bolts to help support your body's weight and keep the chair intact. Do a six6-month check-in to inspect and tighten any loose screws or bolts on your office chair. Flip the chair upside down and examine the seat plate to ensure that all the fasteners are tightly secured. Also, inspect and tighten the fasteners beneath the armrest as well (if applicable). If you still have your owner's manual handy, refer to it to find the location of all of the fasteners on the office chair.

Buy a screwdriver on Amazon!

Keep Away From Direct Sunlight

Office chairs made of leather or suede should be kept away from direct sunlight, as it can degrade the chair's cover. If your office space has a lot of windows, be sure to pull the shades down around mid-day to avoid fading or drying the chair's upholstery.

Apply Conditioner to Leather Chairs

If your office chair is made of suede or leather, it's best to apply a conditioner to it every few months or so to keep it moist and prevent it from drying out. Also, it's best to maintain a humidity level of at least 40%.

Buy leather conditioner on Amazon!

Why did my office chair stop leaning back?

There are a few reasons why your office chair may stop leaning back at some point. Here are the most common ones:

The tension knob needs to be adjusted

The tension knob is located beneath the office chair, usually on the left side. If the tension is set too high, the chair will not lean back. To adjust this, you'll simply need to turn the tension knob counterclockwise until you reach your desired recline angle.

The recline lever needs replacement or repair

If your office chair is no longer leaning back, it could be because the recline lever has become damaged or worn out. To troubleshoot this, turn the chair upside down and take a good look at the recline lever to determine if it is dented or broken. In either case, it would need to be replaced.

The recliner spring needs replacement

The recliner spring is another component that can cause the chair to have issues leaning to the back. To determine if this is the issue with your chair put the chair upside down, and pull the recline lever. If you feel no tension whatsoever, the recliner spring will need replacement. Take the seat off of the chair to see the spring, and if it appears broken, then you know that this was the culprit.

How do you know when it's time for a new office chair?

Even with regular maintenance and cleaning, you will need to replace your office chair at some point. But how do you know when this point has come? Here are a few signs:

  • Your office chair is being held together by duct tape or glue.
  • You're starting to have back pain with sitting in the chair for a few hours.
  • The mechanics of the chair same to break down one by one, including its tilt action, height adjustment, and its swivel capability.

What is the most durable office chair?

Sometimes it can seem like a durable office chair is hard to come by. So to help you and your search, we've rounded up the top picks on Amazon. Check them out below.

Herman Miller Embody 

The Herman Miller Embody is one of the top picks when it comes to durability and comfortability. It's also more affordable than many other high-quality office chairs. It has good lumbar support and is available in a variety of colors.

Buy it on Amazon!

The Steelcase Gesture 

The Steelcase Gesture is a great option if you are looking for a high-end share that will last a long time. It's been a consumer favorite since 2015 on Amazon and is known for its dependability, comfort, and unmatched back support.

Buy it on Amazon!

Wrapping Things Up

Home office with big window, wooden desk and floor and black office chair and sofa, How to Fix an Office Chair That Leans Back

If your office chair is leaning back, try these above-mentioned tips to fix it. If you don't have any luck with these solutions, it may be time to purchase a new chair.

Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts:

9 Types Of Leather Couches By Leather Type

How To Fix A Large Hole In A Leather Couch

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