How to repair an office chair

Updated November 21, 2016

Swivel desk chairs help maximise office productivity, but their moving parts are often prone to mechanical problems. Many of these problems stem from a faulty gas cylinder, the device that allows the seat of the chair to adjust to different heights. Gas cylinders are not easy to repair, but they are easy to replace. Some tools and mechanical knowledge are required.

Lay the chair horizontally on a work surface.

Remove the wheeled base of the chair by undoing clips fastening the wheeled base to the column of chair. Some chair bases are fastened by metal nuts and bolts rather than clips. In this case, use a wrench to loosen and then remove the nuts. Unscrew the bolts y hand.

Inspect the inside of the chair column to make sure no chair parts other than the gas cylinder are broken. If metal nuts, rubber pads, or other chair parts are worn down, replace them along with gas cylinder.

Fit the pipe wrench to the gas cylinder. Turn and pull the pipe wrench to remove gas cylinder. Most chair cylinders are taper-fit rather than screw in, so the cylinder will loosen when turned in any direction.

Insert the tapered end of the new gas cylinder into the chair column. Some gas cylinders have a "release button" that cause the taper to expand after it has been inserted into the chair column. Other tapers must be rotated by hand until they fit snugly into the column.

Re-attach the base of the chair to the column.

Test the newly inserted gas cylinder to be sure that the chair height is now adjustable, and that the chair maintains its new height when pressure is applied to the seat.


  1. Be sure your replacement gas cylinder fits your model of office chair. Cylinders are available from a wide variety of online vendors.
  2. Before purchasing, make sure that replacement cylinders come with detailed replacement instructions.
  3. Special tools designed specifically for gas cylinder removal are available for sale online.
  4. Keep track of all nuts, bolts and other removable parts while disassembling the chair. These small pieces are easily lost and the chair cannot function without them.

Things You'll Need

  • Swivel desk chair
  • Replacement gas lift cylinder
  • Pipe wrench
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