How to fix an office chair that leans forward

How To Fix an Office Chair That Leans Forward, Backward or Sideways

When your office chair starts leaning sideways, backward, or forwards it takes away your support and the benefits of having a good office chair.  It can be a major problem to your comfort and also to your back and lumbar support. 

Fixing a leaning office chair is often an issue because we first have to find what is causing this problem, which can be tough at times.

Let’s get to work:

How to fix an office chair that leans forward or backward

The most common problem when it comes to leaning chairs is that it leans forward or backward.  There are three main things that could result in this problem;

  • The casters might be damaged
  • The tilt tension requires adjusting
  • The seat plate needs to be tightened

Here is a quick guide to help you check and repair any of these common problems.

Damaged casters

Casters are the small wheels that are fitted to the bottom of your chair legs.  When one of these casters becomes damaged, your chair might start to lean sideways or even backward depending on the position of the wheel.  

Casters tend to break when your weight is distributed unevenly on the chair or these parts can become damaged after many years of use.  The only thing you can do when this happens is by replacing the damaged caster.  

Here are a few quick steps to help you replace or fix your chair caster all on your own.

Step 1 – Remove the broken caster

Turn your chair over so it will lie down on its side.  You should now grab a screwdriver and remove the broken caster from the chair socket.  

Step 2 – Inspect the caster

Before you toss the caster out, you should inspect it to see if you could perhaps repair it.  Spray some DW-40 or other silicone lubricant gel into the components of the caster to see if you can get it fixed.  Sometimes your cater might just be jammed with dirt and grime and might function well once you remove these messes.

If the caster is still not working then you should replace it with a new caster that matches the rest of the chair’s casters in size.

Step 3 – install new casters

Get a rubber mallet and position the new caster over the socket.  Gently tap the new caster into place.  You should also fasten any bolts that might be needed for installing the new caster.

Step 4 – Use your chair

Once the new caster has been installed, you can return your chair to its original position.  If the caster was the problem, your chair should now no longer lean.

Adjust the tilt tension

Most chairs come with an adjustment knob under the chair which is used to adjust the leaning and rocking of the chair. This knob can loosen over time and might be the reason your chair is tilting. 

Tightening the knob should stop the forward and backward rocking issue. 

In order to tighten the knob, you have to rotate it counter-clockwise. 

The knob can be hard to tighten sometimes, especially if it wasn’t tightened in a long time and parts started deteriorating.

Ideally, you should sit on the chair while turning the knob.  Keep turning it until your chair has a more comfortable feel and no longer tilts.  

If this doesn’t solve your issue you can also try the solutions below.

Tighten the seat plate

After lots of use, your chair’s seat plate can become loose.  Here is a quick look at the right steps to fasten up the seat plate.

Step 1 – Inspect the plate

Turn your chair over and lay it on its side.  The seat plate is usually black and it consists of a thin steel frame underneath the chair cushions.  Check to see if you can spot any loose screws.

Step 2 – Fasten the seat plate

If screws are missing then you should get replacements.  Screws that are loose should be fastened up.  

Step 3 – Test your chair

You can now turn the chair back up and test it.  If the plate is still loose or if the chair is still leaning then you might need to buy a new plate or even a new chair.  

Office chair knob

How to fix an office chair that leans to one side

An office chair that leans to one side will surely deteriorate your posture, in the long run, making your pelvis hold your body weight while at an unnatural angle. 

This can and will have a bad impact on your posture and your comfort.

I myself had this problem with my last office chair and the reason it happened was that I used to lean on one side of the chair while holding my feet above the ground, usually on an ottoman. 

How I fixed it:

It’s hard to figure out exactly what part is causing the leaning or if it even is fixable, but let’s talk about how I fixed mine.

I didn’t really know how it happened and what to do and for sure I didn’t know where to start.

After researching some articles and asking multiple friends for advice I did just one thing:

I went into the garage, picked up a numerous amount of screwdrivers, some sockets, and a wrench. (You’ll most likely only be needing the screwdriver)

When I got back to the faulty chair the only thing I did was putting it flat on the ground and started tightening every single screw I could find. 

Yep, it was that easy. All I had to do with my faulty chair was to tighten the screws.

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It might not be fixable

This is the option nobody likes and that nobody wants to hear.

But it might be possible that your chair is not fixable, the parts have deteriorated and even replacing them won’t make too much of a difference.

If that’s your case then, unfortunately, you’ll have to buy yourself a brand new office chair.

Future Maintenance Tips for your Chair

A little bit of maintenance can make a huge difference in your chair’s durability.  Office chairs need to be cleaned regularly to keep debris and dirt from clogging up the joints and bolts.  You should also lubricate your office chair from time to time to keep it in good functioning condition.  Another great way to protect your chair is by keeping it out of direct sunlight.  Too much sunlight can deteriorate plastic parts and can fade your upholstery.  


Fixing a leaning office chair can go from rotating a knob to replacing certain parts or even buying a new office chair altogether.

We hope that a simple method such as tightening the knob or the screws helped you fix your leaning chair. 

If it didn’t and you think about replacing parts first make sure it is worth it as replacing them might be really costly depending on what chair you have and it might not be worth it. 

If your chair is already getting old and the support it used to provide is not the same anymore I recommend buying a new one and be done with it as your health is the one that matters. If you do decided to buy a new one the you can go through our other other buying guide where You can buy the best recliner for sleeping after surgery, get the Best Gaming Chairs Under $100 or take a look at the zero gravity chair for tall man. All of our guides are specially developed to help you find the best products. 

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