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Chair Wheels

How to remove the wheels from an office chair and replace them with new casters

Nov 11 read

Сontent:

No matter if you work at the office or from home, a perfect setup for your working place is essential. All you need is to identify what is the most important for your comfortable and safe work and to choose the best items for this. The office furniture and supplies should be multifunctional and perfectly designed. As much as anything else, high-quality office chair wheels are inevitable if you want to make your working day more productive and not distract your attention to the issues like floor scratching, cables rolling, squeaky sounds while moving the chair. So, more and more people choose to replace their original casters with the new upgraded ones.

Usually, replacing the office chair casters is a piece of cake. But, like in any other thing, unexpected issues or unclear points may arise. What is the first thing you should do before installing the replacement wheels? – Correct, you should remove the old ones.  And here many people can get into difficulties.

How to remove wheels from office chair

A typical office chair is not a complex mechanism. Therefore, it is not difficult to remove its wheels, and you do not even need special skills or means to do this. The thing is, they are simply inserted into holes in the crosspiece and fixed with a small click. Let’s explain how to remove wheels from office chair easily  with no specialized tools and without damaging any other parts. It only takes a few minutes. We are also going to show how to choose a suitable replacement. Here we go.

1. Lay office chair on its side

how to remove wheels from office chair

To begin replace chair wheels, carefully put your chair on its side or upside down on the floor, a table or any flat surface so that the wheels face the air, and you have free access to them. Before doing this, lay a blanket or a towel to prevent scratches and chips. Make sure that the office chair is in a stable position and is not going to fall while you will be doing removal process. If the chair is too heavy to turn upside down, ask for help from a friend.

2. Remove a threaded caster by turning it clockwise

replace chair wheels

Every wheel has a stem, the metal part that connects the caster to the chair. It is inserted into the chair’s leg and into a housing that helps keep it securely in place. There are different stem types that can be found in office chair design. If your one is equipped with threaded (screw) casters, you should twist them out enough firstly. Simply turn the roller in a clockwise manner. This motion makes the caster move, then keep on going, and it should release once being loosened up enough. Keep in mind that some casters will come out a little harder than others.

3. Pull out a grip stem type caster using a lubricant

how to remove stem from caster wheels

While having deal with a grip stem wheel (what means that it won’t unscrew) just put a hand on the base of the chair, grab the caster with another hand, and try to pull it away from the socket. It’s recommended to lubricate the joint between the caster week and the frame with some sort of grease or any other lubricant. This should help to pull out the caster with less effort. Also, put on work gloves or take an old towel to gain a better grip.

4. If stuck, pry chair wheel with screwdriver

how to remove office chair wheels

This step in how to remove casters from office chair is required if the roller is rusted, and you are not able to pull it out with bare hands. This happens with old chairs sometimes. In this case, find a flathead screwdriver and a pry bar with a nail-pulling slot. You may use both or either of these tools to prank the joint holding the caster wheel. Note that its blade should be wide enough to help pull the bar out of the socket (this is typically around 13mm).

5. Using screwdriver to in case of no budge

Put your flathead screwdriver in between the wheel itself and the base of the chair. Push the tool gently and slowly until the caster begin moving. While still having trouble, you can adjust the angle of screwdriver position to get more leverage. Still, you can ask your friend to hold the chair in place and try to pull from one side to the other.

6. Removing casters with pry bar’s nail-pulling slot

This is another method to remove the caster wheel is using a pry bar. Position the tool over the stem and pull the caster wheel upward as far as possible. If it still fails to bulge, apply oil on the caster stem. Let it sit down for some hours, and strive once more. By using either of the steps outlined above, you should be able to lift old caster wheels off chair base.

Verify caster type and stem type

After successfully taking wheels off office chair, your main task is to verify the stem type and size before shopping for replacement. This is critically important. Secondly, you should measure the diameter of wheel from front to back.

taking wheels off office chair

Most office chairs (about 95%) and other moveable furniture are equipped with so-called a grip ring stem. This type looks like a piece of round steel with a channel machined in the top portion, otherwise known as the grip ring. It provides rapid installation and quick change. When the stem are inserted in the leg’s socket, the locking ring expands into the recessed race, holding the stem in place.

The other 5% of the caster wheel uses other stem types:

How to measure grip ring stem

Before ordering new wheels instead of the removed ones, it is important to make accurate measurements to be sure that you are getting a suitable replacement. Find the diameter of the head of the stem and the base, using calipers, a ruler or a tape measure. Most grip ring stems are universal, coming with a diameter of 7/16” (11mm) and a length of 7/8″ (22mm), except for the IKEA chairs.

how to take wheels off office chair

Tips for choosing a new chair wheel

There are quite a good number of variations of office chair wheel to select from. They range by size, the type and strength of the material, and its specific functional purpose. Depending on how the chair is used, the weight capacity, and the flooring material on which it will be moving, different casters will be required. We would enlighten you on some facts.

The wheel diameter

The diameter is measured while the wheel lying flat on its side, using a measuring device. The wheel diameter size varies. The common ones are 2″, 2.5″ and 3″. There are other sizes available as well. Smaller wheels experience more stress during use, don’t hold as much of a weight capacity and tend to be harder to roll. If you are planning to use the chair over high pile carpet, consider buying a larger wheel – the rolling will be much easy and smother.

A twin-wheel or single-wheel caster

Single-wheel casters are easy to get and have many options to choose from. Meanwhile, there are only a limited number of design options available for double-wheel casters. Twin-wheel casters tend to last longer, since they distribute weight more evenly, but single-wheel casters are more reliable, since they consist of fewer parts and are less likely to break.

Type of material

The type of material is a major factor to consider when buying a caster wheel.  Elastomers, glass, leather, plastic, iron, aluminum, stainless steel, rubber, nylon are some materials used for making the caster wheels of office chairs.

Hard tread casters made of heavy-duty metal or nylon are suitable for soft carpets, but they could affect the hard flooring and not easy to manipulate. Soft wheals generate less noise, they are lighter, don’t scrape hard floors and transmit less vibration when rolling. This makes them a great choice for any kind of hardwood floors, parquet, laminate, linoleum, tiles, and carpets.

Polyurethane has many properties and is an ideal material to use for office chair wheels. If you are looking for caster chair wheels that produce minimal sound and provide a very smooth motion on almost any surface (except for high pile carpets), then wheels made up of soft polyurethane material will be perfect for you. They are durable, move around easily, don’t damage the floor, so no mat is required. Pretty stylish design is an extra bonus.

Installing new casters

replace chair wheels

This is your last line of action in how to change office chair wheels. You shouldn’t have any particular difficulties with this process as well, even though it involves the most manual labor. If your casters are threaded, place the stem into chair’s leg and screw it in until it hits maximum resistance.

For a grip caster, take your new wheels and pop them into the hole of the chair leg. It might be challenging to install them in place as the grip ring on the new wheel’s stem is totally expanded and hasn’t been compressed earlier. Apply force if needed, and stick them inside until you hear a CLICK sound confirming that the wheels are secure. If the caster is hard to get into the hole, add some lubricant to the inside of the leg or tap the caster in place using a rubber mallet.

Once the casters are back on, you can test your new chair wheels replacement. With care, put a little pressure on the chair and see if the wheels are stable. Then sit in the chair and see how it feels. Are all things set in their places? If so, you have done good work and have gotten exactly what you need. If not, put the chair back up on the floor or desk and have another look to figure out where may be a problem.


Conclusions

All modern office chairs come with five sets of rollable caster wheels. However, most of them offer those standard black plastic caster wheels, which might leave marks on your expensive carpeted or hardwood floors. You may need a new set of casters, if it becomes evident that the old ones are not working. Maybe your chair seems like it may not be able to hold your weight, or it is barely moving on the floor of your office.

Hopefully, with our step-by-step guide you have no questions how to change revolving chair wheel to a premium one. In most cases, this is quite an easy task that can be handled in home without using special tools. And of course, this is much cheaper than buying a new chair or repairing the floor covering.

Keep in mind, that office chair caster wheels are not the same. However, 95% of them uses a universal grip ring style stem (with standard diameter 11mm*22mm), and the other 5% come with threaded and other sorts of the stem. Factors such as stem type, wheal size, floor-type compatibility also need to be considered.

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