Most common problems with foosball tables
It doesn’t matter how much you care for a foosball table, over time certain problems will start developing. And it is just a question of time when something bad will happen with it. The good thing about them is that even when they happen, you can count on the rest of the table to be quite solid.
If you are looking at the table you already own, this means that you can affordably fix the problem and continue enjoying the game. But, if you are in the market for a used foosball table, these issues can bring the price of the table much more than the fix can cost you.
So what are the most common issues? There are seven most common problems, in my opinion, and experience:
- Stuck rods
- Broken or missing men
- Warped playing surface
- Broken handles
- Bent or corroded rods
- Cracked cabinet sides
- Broken legs
All of these problems can be fixed most of the time, or you can find or make a replacement for a broken part. So, let’s see how you can fix these problems on the cheap.
How to fix a broken foosball table
Fixing a broken foosball table depends a lot on the nature of the problem itself. But the majority of the potential problems are very easy to fix with a little bit of knowledge and tools. Foosball tables are in essence just square cabinets standing on four legs, and do not have many parts that can be broken.
Some of the potential problems could look catastrophic, but almost always they are relatively easy to fix or replace.
I’ve seen in my life a lot of stuck rods, and even some people selling their tournament-grade foosball tables because no matter how much they lubricate the rod bearings, they are either completely stuck or slide very roughly. Problem is that they do not know how to replace foosball bearings or at least refurbish them. Sometimes just cleaning the bearing can fix the issue.
- Rods can get stuck from too much lubricant, which collects dust. So, the first thing is to clean them with rubbing alcohol.
2. Bearings do get scratched over time, and you can feel how much with your fingers. These scratches you can remove with 2000 grit sandpaper.
Broken or missing men
Some people are not aware that for many foosball tables you can purchase replacement men. And you can do it at the official web page of the manufacturer, or at other online shops. Changing them is very simple. Most of the time they are held in place with a screw or a pin, which you need just to remove.
Warped playing surface
Before you start googling “how to fix a warped foosball table: a step-by-step guide” and look for guides on how to fix a warped foosball table, you should know that playing surface warping is something every foosball table owner dreads and usually presumes to be a much bigger problem than it actually is. Personally, I’ve purchased a few used tables with slight warping at roughly 20% of their original price.
So, how to fix up a foosball table with a bent playing surface? By bracing it:
- You need a 2×4 cut to the exact width of the playing surface.
- Flip the table upside down and screw this bracing into the underside of the playing surface, with five wood screws, equally spaced starting from the outside and going toward the center.
3. Be careful when choosing the length of wood screws to use that 2×4 is actually 1½ inches thick, and playing fields are either ½ or ¾ inch thick.
Depending on how broken they are, you have two choices on how to fix up a foosball table handles.
- If damage is just cosmetic, you can always purchase some handle wraps and install them on all rods. You can choose them in the same colors as respective players, and thus give a bit of flair to your foosball table.
2. But, if there is considerable damage to them, the best way is to replace them. The only thing you should be careful about is the rod dimensions.
Bent or corroded rods
Bent foosball table rods can be fixed if you have access to a proper metalworking shop. There are specialized tools for both bending and straightening various metal parts, and just hammering the bend doesn’t work on hollow rods. If you have a shop in your neighborhood, it could cost you a few bucks to have it straightened.
Corrosion on rods is usually just a surface blemish that you can easily remove with any type of acid and scrubbing. Lemon juice, vinegar, Coke, and so on. If the corroded part is supposed to touch bearings, you should also polish it a bit with 1000 grit sandpaper.
Cracked cabinet sides
Depending on where the crack is and how big it is, you might be able to install a brace on the inside of the cabinet, and thus bring everything back into alignment. But, if it’s too damaged, remember that there are very small differences between cabinet sides that face each other and that they are joined together with screws.
If you have guessed that you could have it fabricated in any woodworking shop from the MDF board of the same specification, you’ve guessed it right. Many people fail to understand that replacing even side panels is an option of how to repair foosball table.
While you are replacing a cracked side, you can go and just paint the whole cabinet, and change the style of your table.
Many people will tell you that a foosball table broken leg is like having a broken leg of your own. Which couldn’t be much more away from the truth. Depending on the design of the table legs, you could be able to have built a replacement one. Very often they are just six pieces of MDF board screwed together and painted in satin black.
Depending on their design, you can replace them altogether with some other furniture legs. For many tables, a set of 28-inch furniture legs, inexpensive ones that go for $40-50, can really add some style that better fits some particular interior.
Should you sell your damaged foosball table?
It depends on how damaged your foosball table is, and how much you invested in it when you bought it. Most of the time, the damage looks much more dramatic than it is. Or to have it fixed is much cheaper than purchasing even the cheapest foosball table on the market.
One thing I like to have in mind is that when you buy a foosball table you are paying for the ability to use it for a certain time until it becomes unusable. If some fix will extend the life span for a higher fraction than the cost is the fraction of its price, it’s worth fixing it.
For example, if it would cost you 5% of the table’s worth, to extend its life by 10%, it’s worth fixing it.
Should you buy a damaged foosball table?
Depends on how much it is damaged. Foosball table restoration can be a fun little project to do over the course of a couple of weeks. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. In case there is no water damage on the table, the decision could come down to whether you can get that table for a good price. For foosball table restoration hardware can be found at very reasonable prices, so the cost of the table is the main factor.
Advantages of fixing up a foosball table
Whether you are buying a used table or your own got damaged, fixing it is a way to extend its life. Especially if you are buying a damaged table when with a very modest investment, you could get yourself a high-end product. Foosball tables are not machines that can be tricky to fix or can develop chronic problems. Once you fix a foosball table, it’s as good almost as new. And when fixing it, you can customize its styling, and get yourself a unique table.