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Trouble shooting Common Barstool Swivel Problems

Barstools have been a common fixture in bars and restaurants for centuries as they can be traced back to medieval times. Within American culture, they are a staple of soda fountains and lunch counters and are still in heavy use in today’s bars and restaurants.

The reason barstools with swivels are commonly used in bars and restaurants is because they allow for easier movement in a crowded environment.  The swivel allows patrons to turn easily to face each other and get in and out of the stool without having to slide the stool back and block pathways.  Barstools that swivel also make it easier for patrons to turn towards the bartender to order another drink, thus helping the bottom line of the business.

Bars and restaurants can be demanding environments for the furniture, so it is important to have chairs and barstools that are sturdy and reliable.  However, it is possible for extensive use in these establishments to cause wear and tear and damage to the barstool swivels.  When this happens, you may be able troubleshoot the issue to get the swivel working smoothly again.

In this guide, we will discuss the main problems that you may experience with barstool swivels as well as the steps for how to troubleshoot these issues.  When looking for swivel barstools for your establishment, it helps to choose a high-quality product that you can depend on.  Trendler manufactures heavy-duty barstool swivels that are built to last for many years and they are protected by our lifetime manufacturer warranty.

Common swivel problems

(Our lifetime manufacturer warranty applies to products used by original purchaser for household use.  For complete details, call Trendler at (773) 284-6600 or email us at

Common Problems with Barstool Swivels

Barstool swivels are simple mechanical components that allow the seat of the stool to rotate or swivel.  The components of a swivel generally include ball bearings and lubrication between two heavy-duty plates that allow for smooth, noiseless rotation.

While barstool swivels are generally reliable, the following problems may occur:

·        Stiff or difficult swiveling: Over time, dust, dirt, and debris can accumulate in the swivel mechanism, causing it to become stiff and difficult to rotate.  This can make it inconvenient and uncomfortable to move the stool smoothly.  New swivels may also feel tight or stiff because they need time to break in.  New Trendler swivels are set to 40 pounds of torque and may feel stiff until they are used enough to be broken in.

·        Squeaking or noisy swiveling: Extended use may cause swivels to start producing squeaking or creaking sounds.  These noises may be caused by friction between the metal components or a lack of lubrication.

·        Loose swivel: Wear and tear or improper assembly can cause the swivel to become loose, leading to a wobbly or unstable barstool.

·        Rust and corrosion: Metal swivels that are exposed to moisture or harsh environmental conditions may develop rust or corrosion.  This can hinder its smooth rotation and potentially stain surrounding surfaces.

·        Breakage or cracks: If the components of the swivel are made from low quality components, it may crack of break due to excessive weight, force, or poor craftsmanship.

·        Lack of lubrication: A swivel without proper lubrication can experience increased friction, accelerated wear, and potential damage to the components.

·        Manufacturing defects: Occasionally, defects in the manufacturing process can lead to issues with the swivel, such as misalignments, poor welding, or subpar materials.

·        Incompatibility: If a swivel is installed on a barstool that is not compatible, this can lead to problems with stability.

Troubleshooting Trendler swivels

Troubleshooting Problems with the Swivel

If there is a problem with a barstool swivel, it may be possible to troubleshoot the issue yourself.  As mentioned above, swivels use a simple mechanism, and they may be fixed by replacing the broken parts.  If you want to fix your swivel yourself, you should take the following steps:

Inspect the Swivel

The first thing you will need to do is check the swivel for signs of damage.  Look for rusted or broken parts, missing pieces, and loose screws.  Missing pieces make it difficult to use the swivel and rusted or broken parts can result in structural damage.  If the screws are loose, this can cause the seat to wobble which is a safety hazard for those sitting in the barstool.

Replace Damaged Parts

If you notice that one of the components of the swivel has been damaged, then you can remove the damaged part and replace it.  You should be able to remove the damaged part using pliers.  Then, buy a replacement part and install it in place of the damaged part to get the swivel back to its original condition.

Replace or Lubricate the Connecting Bolts

Over time, the bolts that connect the swivel to the barstool may become loose or rusted, making it more difficult to rotate.  If the bolts are loose, you can tighten them with a wrench, but be careful not to overtighten the bolts or you could strip the thread. 

If the bolts are rusted, you should remove them and replace them with new ones.  You can also use a lubricant like WD-40 to loosen the rusted bolts and improve the rotation of the swivel.

Tighten Loose Screws

If any of the screws that connect the swivel unit to the frame have come loose, the barstool seat may wobble or become unstable.  This can be dangerous for those who sit in the barstool.  You can fix this problem simply by tightening the screws which will stabilize the barstool and allow it to swivel properly.

Test the Stability

After making the necessary repairs to the swivel, check the barstool to ensure its stability.  Sit in the barstool and move back and forth to test that everything is firmly connected.  You should also rotate the swivel to ensure that it is once again working like it should.  If the barstool still seems loose or unstable, check again to make sure that the bolts and screws are properly tightened.

Barstool Swivels from Trendler

Regular maintenance and cleaning, including lubricating the mechanism when needed, tightening bolts and screws, and ensuring proper weight limits can help prevent some of these issues with the swivel.  Additionally, purchasing high-quality, durable barstool swivels can reduce the likelihood of encountering these problems and help your furniture hold up in demanding environments.

Trendler produces a range of heavy-duty barstool swivels, manufactured in our Chicago, IL factory.  Each of our swivels is made from quality steel and ball bearings to ensure smooth, noiseless rotation.  The steel parts are treated with a powder coating that protects against moisture and rust and reduces the risk of breakdowns and other possible issues discussed above.  Each of our swivels is also lubricated with High Temp #2 Grease designed specifically to be maintenance free, so your swivel never needs to be relubricated.

Each swivel also comes with a lifetime manufacturer warranty so even if there is a problem with your swivel, we will replace it immediately.  This warranty only applies to swivels used by the original purchaser for household use.

For more about our barstool swivels, you can call Trendler at (773) 284-6600, visit our online store, submit a contact form, or email us at