When you sit in an office chair all day, it’s natural for your chair to wear down. After all, being under your weight for eight or more hours in a row puts a lot of pressure on its parts.
However, sometimes, the wear and tear can lead to some strange malfunctions, like when your office chair keeps reclining or when your chair’s backrest leans too far back.
When this happens, you likely need to tighten the back of your office chair to fix the problem – but how do you do that?
There are three main ways to prevent your chair from leaning back too far. If your whole chair reclines back, you need to adjust your chair’s tilt mechanism. If only the backrest leans back, you need to adjust its recline mechanism. If neither of the first two work, you should tighten the bolts on your chair.
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Why does my office chair keep leaning back?
If you find that your office chair is leaning back, even when you don’t want it to, there is probably something wrong with your chair.
There are two main possible explanations for the leaning: either your chair’s mechanism needs to be reset, or you need to tighten some of the bolts on your chair.
Otherwise, there may be a more serious problem with your chair, like a broken part. If so, you may need to expand your home repair skills or take your chair to a repair shop.
How do I tighten the back of my chair?
There are two main ways to tighten the back of your chair: adjust the settings of your chair’s mechanisms, or tighten the bolts on your chair.
If you’re not sure which method is more appropriate for your chair, we recommend starting with adjusting your chair’s mechanisms since this is much easier and doesn’t require any tools.
But if that doesn’t work, you will most likely need to check your chair for loose bolts and tighten with the right size wrench.
How do I tighten the back of my chair using its mechanisms?
Office chair tilt mechanisms can affect how much the whole chair reclines, and how much the backrest leans back.
If your chair or backrest are reclining too much, your solution may be as simple as adjusting your chair’s tilt mechanism to the correct settings.
There are five common office chair tilt mechanisms: swivel, knee, multifunction, synchro, and weight sensitive.
Swivel or Center Tilt Mechanism
As the most common tilt mechanism in office chairs, the swivel/center-tilt mechanism has its point of recline in the middle of the seat, making your seat and backrest move as one when reclining.
Because of this, there is only one knob for adjusting how much the chair reclines. This is called the tension adjustment knob, and it controls how difficult it is to recline the chair.
Most swivel tilt tension adjustment knobs come with one locking position that locks your chair into a fully upright position.
If your chair has a swivel tilt mechanism and keeps leaning back, check your tension adjustment knob and make sure it’s set to the right tension.
Knee Tilt Mechanism
The knee-tilt is similar to the swivel tilt in that its backrest and seat move as one, but it differs with how its point of recline is right behind your knees.
If your chair has a knee tilt mechanism, look for the tension adjustment knob and check its settings. Knee tilt mechanisms typically have more pre-set adjustments than swivel tilt mechanisms, and you may find one that works better than just locking it upright.
It’s easy to tell if your chair has a multifunction mechanism since this typically comes with several paddles and knobs to control all of the different parts.
If your chair has a multifunction mechanism, check out the paddles and knobs underneath the seat and see what they control.
Typically, there are at least four parts to a multifunction mechanism:
- A paddle to unlock your chair so you can recline as much as you like.
- A paddle to lock your seat in any position you want, including upright or forward.
- A paddle to control the recline of your backrest only.
- A tension adjustment knob for your chair.
Once you figure out which part does what, try to lock your seat and backrest into the position that’s right for you.
The synchro tilt mechanism is common in more expensive office chairs, and it allows for the seat and backrest to be adjusted separately.
Because of this, most synchro-tilt mechanisms have a tension adjustment knob to control how much the chair can recline and multiple locking positions for the backrest only.
If your chair is reclining too much, try to adjust the tension adjustment knob. But if your backrest is the only part that’s reclining, try to lock it into an upright position.
Weight Sensitive or Mechanism Free Tilt Mechanism
The weight-sensitive tilt mechanism is the simplest and yet the trickiest.
If you lean back, this mechanism automatically reclines based on your weight, position in the chair, and the height you set it to. There are no knobs or levers to control how much it reclines.
If your chair has this mechanism, you can try to adjust the height of your chair and see if it makes the reclining better.
However, if it doesn’t, you may have to tighten the bolts or rely on good posture to support your back.
How do I tighten the back of my office chair using a wrench?
Sometimes adjusting your chair’s mechanisms still doesn’t fix the problem. This is when you’ll need to grab a wrench and check the bolts on your chair.
To tighten the bolts on your chair, you can follow these easy steps:
- Lay your chair on its back.
- Check the backrest to see if there are any bolts, and tighten them if they’re loose.
- Check the seat plate (the metal plate that connects the legs to your seat) and tighten any loose bolts.
- Check the casters and see if you can easily access their bolts. If not, don’t try because you may damage them.
If adjusting your chair’s mechanisms and tightening any bolts still don’t fix your chair, the problem may be more serious. In that case, we recommend taking your chair to a repair shop.
The easiest way to keep your office chair back from leaning is to adjust your chair’s mechanisms.
For swivel and knee tilt mechanisms, you can use the tension adjustment knob to adjust how much the chair reclines as a whole.
For multifunction and synchro-tilt mechanisms, you can adjust how much the chair reclines as a whole, and how much the backrest reclines.
For weight-sensitive mechanisms, you can only adjust the height and see how that affects the recline level.
If adjusting the chair mechanisms doesn’t do anything, you may need to tighten the bolts on the back, the seat plate, and the casters.
However, if tightening the bolts is too difficult or still doesn’t fix the problem, you may need to have your chair repaired by professionals.
We hope that this article helped you fix your chair!
My name is Vance, and I am the owner of To Ergonomics. Our mission is to improve your workflow by helping you create a supportive and welcoming environment. We hope that you’ll find what you’re looking for while you’re here.