How To Fix Tilt Lock On Office Chair

To fix your chair’s tilt lock, you need to check three components - the tilt tension knob, recliner knob, and recline lever. If any of these parts is faulty, you’ll have to replace them or reposition the lock using a screwdriver.

Office chairs are essential for pairing with the best home office desk and also for every hustler who works from home. However, such chairs suffer damage over time because they are used continuously for a large portion of the day. 

You might find you aren’t able to recline or tilt it like before because the tilt lock of the chair is malfunctioning. So, to fix the tilt lock follow the steps in my simple guide.

Common Problems With Office Chair Tilt Lock

All mechanical things are bound to succumb to wear and tear over time, and so can your office chairs. Tilt locks are responsible for reclining your seat but can create trouble if one or more of these components malfunction:

  • Tilt tension knob helps adjust the pressure required to recline the chair
  • Recliner knob decides the seat tilt
  • Recliner spring aids footrest elevation

How To Fix Tilt Lock On Office Chair

How to fix tilt lock on office chair

A tilt lock’s function is to keep the chair in the upright position, but the tilt lock mechanism can fail if not operated carefully. Here are a few simple ways to fix your office chair’s tilt lock:

1. Adjust The Tension

The tilt tension is a crucial aspect affecting the tilt lock mechanism, so if your office chair is not in the correct position, check the tension of the tilt lock. It should be adjusted according to your height and weight with the tilt tension not being too tight or loose. 

You can tweak the tension knob when needed for proper posture that doesn’t lead to back pain. 

2. Check The Tension Knob

The most common reason for a malfunctioning tilt lock is a faulty or loose tension knob. You can try to reposition the tilt lock lever using a screwdriver, but if it still doesn’t work, you will have to replace the damaged lever. However, read the instruction manual carefully if you are planning to do the replacement yourself. 

3. Repair Seat Plate

Another thing to check is the seat plate of your office chair, which is a thin frame made of steel present beneath the cushion of your chair. The frame can bend or become loose over time but it can be realigned. You can tighten its screws with a long screwdriver to get it back in shape or simply replace the bent seat plate with a new one.

4. Check The Fasteners

Fasteners are bolts and screws that keep the different parts of your office chair aligned and functioning in coordination. But loose components can hamper the coordination and make your chair unstable. 

Carefully inspect the fasteners to find any loose ones, as simply tightening them can save you the hassle of replacing the tilt mechanism. An owner’s manual usually has a separate section specifying the position of fasteners.

5. Inspect The Chair Springs

Most office chairs have a crank handle to adjust the spring tension but if the spring wears out or gets damaged, you won’t be able to increase or decrease its tension. This can be another reason your office chair stops reclining properly.

To fix it, remove the screws and take out the tilt lock spring before choosing a new spring for your chair and screwing it in the tilt lock. 

How To Replace The Tilt Lock

Examine the tilt lock and check for any dents or cracks. If it is damaged, you will have to replace it but if it is simply dislodged, you can put it back into its original position using a screwdriver. 

1. Get The Tools

To replace the tilt lock of your chair, you will need the following tools:

  • Screwdriver
  • Rubber mallet
  • Pipe wrench
  • WD40 or any lubricant of your choice

2. Detach The Base

The tilt mechanism is located beneath the chair’s seat and replacing it could be a little tricky unless you turn the chair upside down. But it’s best to remove the bolts and detach the seat to access the tilt lock directly. 

For effortless detachment, place the chair on its side and spray it with lubricant. Allow it to sit like that for 30 minutes before using a rubber mallet to dislodge the base. Then, remove the cylinder using a pipe wrench, set it aside, and check all the levers to identify the faulty one. 

Just remember to read the instruction manual carefully beforehand so that you don’t end up damaging the different components.

3. Change The Tilt Mechanism

Once you remove the cylinder of your office chair, you will have a clear view of the tilt mechanism and the way it’s connected to the seat. Detach the lock using a screwdriver and replace it with a new one. 

Ensure that the tension knob is facing the front side of the office chair when you do this. When everything is in position, put the screws back and tighten them using the screwdriver. 

4. Reassemble The Office Chair

Take the base of the office chair and position the cylinder in its center. Align the upper half of the chair with the other end of the cylinder and once the parts are aligned properly, apply some pressure to lock them together. And the best way to do that is by sitting on the chair.

5. Test The Office Chair Tilt Lock 

Try to recline your office chair after replacing the tilt mechanism. You will be able to do that effortlessly if the lock has been properly installed but if not, consider hiring a professional to fix it for you.


One simple hack is you don’t necessarily have to detach the base to fix the tilt lock of your chair. You can simply increase the seat height and turn the chair upside down to access the lock. No doubt detaching the seat offers more accessibility, but why put so much effort when there’s a simple way to do it?

How To Fix Tilt Lock On Office Chair FAQs

  • Can you raise office chair without lever?
    While modern office chairs have a lever to adjust the height, the older ones don’t have that mechanism. But that doesn’t mean you cannot change positions easily or raise the seat. If you are wondering how to raise office chair without lever, know that most non-pneumatic chairs have a lock that prevents the user from accidentally changing its height. Flip your chair upside down and look for a small screw at the base. Once you locate it, use a screwdriver to loosen it and you will be able to move the cylinder freely to increase or decrease the seat height. Raise the seat to your desired height and tighten the screw to lock it again.
  • Are multi-function tilt locks any good?

    Multi-function tilt locks allow you to lock your seat at different angles. While it is not a necessity, it is a great feature for those who work on more than one PC simultaneously and need to switch screens. If you are a gamer or a video editor, chairs with multi-function tilt lock mechanisms can save you a lot of strain.

  • How to prevent office chair from rolling?
    For people who want to know how to stop office chair from rolling, I suggest using a desk mat. Some people may remove the wheels but you will need them to move around the desk easily. So, using desk mats is an effective way to stop unnecessary movement. You can find thick grippy plastic area mats with a textured surface that offer a lot of traction, thereby preventing your chair from sliding.
  • How to fix tilt lock on office chair final words

    How To Fix Tilt Lock On Office Chair Final Words

    Having a good desk setup with a comfortable office chair can boost your productivity significantly. But a chair with a thin steel frame, improper lumbar support, or faulty tilt lock can add to your troubles.

    If your office chair tilt lock has malfunctioned, you can fix it by adjusting the tension, fastening loose screws, or replacing the springs. But when it is damaged beyond repair, don’t waste time to replace it.

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