Why Does My Chair Squeak When I Lean Back? (11 Reasons)

Several parts are used to assemble a chair. These parts are prone to wear and tear due to their frequent use and movement. As a result, a chair produces squeaky sounds. The sound may be caused by loose nuts and bolts, or weak joints and parts. It is also possible that the lubricant in the chair has worn out and needs to be reapplied.

People complaining about a squeaky chair when leaning back think it is a common phenomenon. They think it is the sound of the materials rubbing against one other, whereas in reality, a chair squeaks due to various reasons that mustn’t be neglected.

If your chair is making weird sounds when you lean back, and that’s quite disturbing, no need to look any further. You have come to the right place. In this guide, we have discussed the reasons that make a chair squeak when one leans back. Let’s go through them one by one below.

Why does my chair squeak?

Why does my chair squeak

The first step should be to identify the root cause of the squeaking sound.  This helps you to focus solely on that issue without wasting time. Therefore the underlying root of the problem must be identified.

That is because mending something that is not broken might make things worse. It would be a wastage of time too.  It is not easy to figure out why your office chair creaks when leaning back. But, do not worry. We are here to list some of the usual reasons that cause a chair to squeak.

Components of the chair rubbing against each other

Sometimes, the chair’s pieces rub against each other and sometimes generate squeaking sounds. The sound originates typically from the wheel and castor or the gap between your bottom and base.

There are a few ways to fix the squeaky sound you hear when you lean back in your swivel chair, if this is the case. Use a powerful lubricant that is safe to use on furniture to lubricate the noisy parts. This is supposed to stop the noise.

Loose screws and bolts

Irrespective of whether it’s your office chair, desk chair or gaming chair, It may begin to creak if the screws and nuts are loose. The limbs and base of the chair also get loosened. If that happens, one loses the stability when sitting on the chair.

The screws become loose as a result of constant body pressure. Bolts are no exception.

Friction between the nuts and bolts occurs when there’s a natural stress on the chair due to one’s body weight. With repeated friction occuring, the nuts push the bolts and make the bolts loose. 

Next important reason for loosened bolts is temperature. If they are made of up metal, it’s natural for them to expand and contract upon changes in temperature. Over time, this process of constant expansion and contraction makes them loose.

A squeaky desk chair indicates that you have loosened nuts and bolts. If you neglect the warning, and keep using the same chair, it might break in a few days. Therefore consider fixing it as soon as possible.

Weakening Joints

Not every joint in a chair comprises nuts and bolts. Some of the areas where squeaky sounds mostly occur include the cylinder-mechanism junction and the swivel-base connection. If the squeaking continues despite tightening the nuts or bolts, it means these weak joints can be the source of the noise.

Office chair joints grind against each other and cause friction. When these joints rub against one another, over time the friction loosens them, and the chair squeaks when you lean back.

If you want to find the spot of a weak joint in your chair, it’s easy.  Ask someone to sit on the chair while you inspect it. Move the chair around to find out where the squeaking noise is coming from. Once you spot it, apply some lubricant or grease. Take a clean cloth and wipe away the excess lubricant.

Worn out Casters/Wheels

You must have noticed that the top of the wheels have metal posts attached to them.  With constant usage and friction, they wear out. The overload imposed on the chair makes the wheel screws loose sometimes. As a result, the wheel axles create friction and produce a squeaking noise.

Defective bearings might also cause squeaking noises. A caster can become noisy due to many reasons. Usually, it’s due to tread deterioration. Keep the castors in check from time to time. Replace the castors if you find them beyond repair.

Uneven wear and tear of the chair

When one part of the chair is worn out more than the other, it can also produce squeaky noises.

For example, if you lean back in the same direction all day, it could cause friction between two different chair surfaces. This will produce extra unwanted noise!

Rusted Bolts and Screws

After multiple usages, the screws and bolts in the chair might corrode. This is especially common in metallic chairs. One can tell if the nuts and bolts have rusted from their colour. Therefore, keep inspecting the nuts, screws and bolts regularly and replace them if you find them rusted.

If you operate in a humid environment, your screws and nuts may be prone to rust more frequently. This is because moisture accelerates the process of rust formation.

Axles on the wheels and chair springs

When trying to fix a squeaky chair, people mostly inspect the nuts and bolts and replace them if they are loose or rusted or faulty. In doing so, they forget about the chair’s springs and the axles in the wheels.

Apart from nuts and bolts, the springs and axles are also prone to rust. Therefore make sure to inspect these components as well.

Loose legs

Does your office chair squeak when leaning back? It can be due to loose legs. When one of the legs has become loose and that’s causing the noise, it wouldn’t be hard to identify, because once a leg becomes loose, the chair loses its stability.

So then it becomes easily understandable that the noise is due to a loose leg. This problem usually occurs due to shrinking of a chair’s dowels.

Pieces of food lying beneath the chair

People may hear squeaking sounds from the chairs in their workplace, when there are food crumbs lying on the floor.

This is a common source of squeaky noise, but luckily, the solution  is straightforward. Simply sweep under your desk and chair and get rid of the food crumbs.

Damaged or broken parts of a chair

It is natural to hear your office chair squeak when leaning back if it has a damaged component. Broken chair parts are sometimes repairable at home.

On the other hand, a broken chair might also mean complete replacement of the old chair. We must pay attention to the squeaking sound since it indicates a problem with the chair.

Overheating

If a strange noise comes from the chair when you sit on it or lean back, it might also be due to constant overheating in the sun. Or the chair must have been close to the stove and got heated for a prolonged time period.

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The Bottom Line

By now you must have understood the various reasons that cause a squeaky noise from a chair.

While identifying the exact reason, remember that every chair is unique and therefore the cause of the noise might differ.

Commonly this problem can be solved by identifying the part responsible for the squeaking noise and applying some lubricant to that part. Sometimes, we might have to replace or repair the damaged part.

Furthermore, if your wooden chair is creaking, the cause is most likely loose joints. Use wood glue to stick the loose joints tightly. Make sure to not use regular glue in this case.

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