If you regularly use your office chair, it’s bound to get some wear and tear. Regular use can result in issues with the recliner mechanism, the headrest, and the wheels, to name a few.
The wheels are especially vulnerable to issues after using an office chair for a long time. And when they start to wobble, it’s not only annoying but also detrimental to your hardwood floors.
If you don’t know where to start when it comes to figuring out how to replace office chair casters and wheels, you’ve come to the perfect place. We’ll help you learn how to replace them in just a few easy steps.
How to Replace Office Chair Wheels?
To replace your office chair wheels, follow the step-by-step guide:
- Remove a wheel from your office chair
- Verify the type and size of the stem
- Purchase replacement chair wheels
- Remove the remaining chair wheels
- Install the new office chair wheels
Below, we’ve provided you with a detailed description of each step.
1. Remove a Wheel From Your Office Chair
The first step toward replacing your office chair wheels is to remove one worn-down wheel, which is a fairly easy process that doesn’t require any tools. You’ll need this wheel to determine the type and size of the caster, so if you have no clue how to replace casters on office chairs, keep on reading.
First, see how the wheel is connected to the chair. Most office chairs have “grip ring stems” that compress and expand once they fit into the allotted socket located at the chair base. To remove this part, you just need a firm pull and the wheel will instantly remove itself from the base. Follow the steps below to remove the wheel from the chair:
- Flip the chair upside down so the wheels are in the air and the head of the chair is at the bottom to easily get to the wheels.
- Remove the caster with a clockwise motion. If you have a threaded stem caster chair, the casters will easily release if you just twist the caster clockwise.
- Lubricate and pull the caster if it doesn’t budge. The easiest way to release the casters if they seem to be stuck is by lubricating them with oil just where the caster and chair meet. For this, you can use a spray oil like WD-40, leave it to work its magic for a few hours, and try again.
- Use a rubber glove or an old towel for a better grip. If you still can’t pry the caster out of the chair base socket, remove the caster, use a rubber glove or an old towel to get a better grip, and try again.
- If the chair has a swivel plate, use a screwdriver to remove the caster. Use a flat head screwdriver, and push it between the chair and the caster. Start to turn the screwdriver slowly and try to rotate the caster to get more leverage.
- Get someone to help you so one person can pull the swivel, and the other can pull at the wheel.
2. Verify the Type and Size of the Stem
Stems are the metal parts that connect the caster to the chair, and this is what you need to measure to find new, suitable wheels. As soon as you’ve removed one stem, you can check its size and type. Keep in mind that a lot of office chairs have a similar stem size. Let’s see what stem types and sizes are there.
The Stem Type
Office chairs have 4 main stem types, and determining which one you have is essential for figuring out which type you need to buy. The different stem types can be:
- Grip ring stem (the most common one).
- Grip neck stem
- Threaded stem
- Stemless (open socket caster).
If your office chair has a swivel plate, measure the width of the plate.
The Stem Size
Next comes measuring the stem size, and for that, you can either use calipers or a tape measure. Most stems will measure about 7/16” in diameter by 7/8″ in length. Figure out the size and write it down so you have it when you go to buy the new wheels.
3. Purchase Replacement Chair Wheels
Even though most office chairs come with the same old black plastic dual wheels, you can definitely find better ones on the market. And more often than not, these types of wheels are the reason for all the problems with your chair that can often be solved by simply using higher quality casters.
Commonly used casters are the heavy-duty single casters that are safe for all types of flooring, as well as the rollerblade office chair wheels that are perfect for swivel chairs. While both of these are perfect for almost all types of floors, when it comes to carpeted rooms, the best option is a caster with a large wheel diameter so you can move your chair with ease, or just add a chair mat under your desk.
When searching for new wheels, it’s essential to consider wheels that are:
- Good for different floor types (tile, hardwood, laminate, concrete, etc.)
- With a steel frame that has a high weight capacity (500+ lb)
- With swivel ball bearings and wheels that enable smooth rolling
- Quiet swivel and rolling movement
- Made of high-quality materials that will last you for years to come
- Backed by a warranty
4. Remove the Remaining Chair Wheels
After you’ve purchased your new set of caster stems, it’s time to remove the remaining chair wheels using the same method as the one in the first step. If most of the wheels are in good condition, you can save them in case you need them in the future to replace a broken wheel.
5. Install the New Office Chair Wheels
Before you start installing the new wheels on your chair, it’s useful to double-check and make sure that the size of your newly purchased wheels fits your chair to perfection.
To insert the new chair wheels, you need to push the caster stem inside the socket at the base of the chair. This requires a firm grip and a steady hand, but keep in mind that even if the size of the stem is compatible with the socket in the chair base, it’s sometimes difficult to insert it. In such cases, you can add a grip ring to the top of the stem, compress it, and hold the wheel in one place. If the stem stops at some point and you’re unable to insert it, you may use WD-40 to lubricate the grip ring. Moreover, you can compress the ring even further by using pliers.
Once you’ve started screwing the stem of the office chair wheels to the caster, you need to keep screwing it until it doesn’t turn anymore. Add some more lubricant if necessary, you can use WD once more. If there’s a swivel plate on the caster, remember that you need to use a screwdriver. You can always use the same one you used in the previous steps.
If you’ve been thinking that replacing the wheels of your office chair is unnecessary, remember that keeping your office chair wheels in good condition is essential for your posture and your comfort at your workplace.
After reading our guide on replacing office chair wheels, we now believe that you are confident and able to do this entire procedure on your own. To make sure that you’re as successful as possible and you buy the right wheels for your chair and the type of flooring you have in your house, do your research and compare the prices and types of wheels once you get to the store.
When picking out wheels for your chair, try them out first by sitting on a chair at the store that has the same type of wheels to simply test their movement and sound. And don’t forget to check out their quality, too. You wouldn’t want to spend money on purchasing wheels that you need to replace after just a few weeks.
This way, you can focus on getting the best that your money can buy, and have a more comfortable work area.