HowTo – Tightening a Loose Laptop Lid

I finally became annoyed enough at one of my laptops loose, floppy lids to do something about it. I figured out how to fix it, and decided to post how I did it so that others could use the info.

From what I have seen, loose laptop lids are usually caused by

  • Loose hinge screws
  • Displaced hinge pin
  • Broken hinge

Usually its the displaced hinge pin. Over time the pin works its way out of the hinge. The farther it comes out, the looser the hinge gets. Even if this only happens on one side, it can make the lid not stay open on it’s own.

The first thing you should so is check for loose screws. On the underside of the laptop, near the rear edge, there are several recessed screws. Tighten them all and see if it helps. If your hinge pin is the problem, usually the lid is not only loose but it has a lot of “play”, where it moves really freely for a few cm before there is any resistance at all.

To get to the hinge, it depends on the model of laptop, but it’s usually fairly easy (except for Macbooks) as there is usually a bezel strip all the way across the top that covers the hinge and also has the power button and led area. Usually there is a little notch made for you to put a small screwdriver and with a little pressure it will pop up, and then you can just pull the entire strip off, which reveals the hinges. For dell “D” laptops this is also how you access the bluetooth module.

You should see right away if the hinge pin is the problem. The hinge pin may be sticking out like in this picture.

To fix this we want to “squeeze” the pin back into the hinge. The easiest way I found to do this is with a pair of “needle nose” pliers. Note that you should put some layers of tape and/or other cushioning on the corner, to protect the plastic against the rough teeth of the plier jaws. IF YOU DO NOT DO THIS THE PLIERS WILL REALLY SCRATCH UP THE PLASTIC AND YOU WILL NOT BE HAPPY!

I at first put 4-5 pieces of electrical tape and then also added a little cushion with a piece of folded paper towel. Also while you are at it, make sure the screw(s) holding the hinge to the laptop chassis are tight. Sometimes these internal screws being loose is the only problem, and sometimes they are half the problem and aggravate the pin problem.

Here are some pictures showing how I applied squeezing pressure to the pin. Depending on your hinge, you may have better access from the rear.

While you are squeezing the pin, it may seem like it is not going back in. Try rocking the lid back and forth and you should feel and see it going back into place. Keep at it until the pin is no longer protruding. Do this for both hinges (assuming they are both loose). Your laptop lid should now be stiff again!

Here is the same hinge after I “put the squeeze” on it. Note that it is no longer protruding out of the hinge. After doing this to both hinges, my lid is now good as new.

Note that if the pins have been coming out for a long time, they may be bent and can be quite difficult to get them to go back in. If you are brave enough, you could remove the screws that hold the hinge to the bottom part of the laptop (be careful of the interconnect cables for the display), so that you have more room to squeeze it or try to straighten the pin.

Hopefully this post will help some other people who’s laptops have developed “erectile disfunction” :-) Probably the hardest thing for most will be figuring out how to remove the plastic strip that covers the hinge. For Dell laptops at least, it’s easy. Good luck!

3 Responses to “HowTo – Tightening a Loose Laptop Lid”

  1. Chris Says:

    Thanks ownage man.

  2. Don Says:

    Thanks a lot, saved me money to fix the hinge of my Dell D430 by DIY, done in 5 mins. :)

  3. deb Says:

    will this be similar for compaq presario ? loose so much screen view looks gittery then i have to hold tightly till not but then need hands to do keyboard. cq50-130us notebook specifically model. help

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