Fifteen years into my service as business Attic Access, in metro Portland, Oregon, I find myself in a binge of calls for broken attic ladders made in Southeast USA, where fixing is the best response.This now-repaired attic ladder, lightly used and perhaps thirty years old, was found dysfunctional at both limit arms, as I call them. The upper pivots were very loose, with springs and arms jammed akimbo; cleverness demanded to deploy or stow. It is now better-than-new and should live on another thirty years and more. With sturdy limit arms, longevity may come of care to not let step section hinges come apart with lost nuts and bolts.
All of this failed experimentation and years of frustration with the ladder would have been avoided if, from the beginning, at ladder installation, the springs, arms and cups had been packaged loosely, for assembly required of the installer, with lag screws as chosen now, binding to the rough frame. Choose drill sizes for the lag screws, that are not too large. Find the screw hole locations in the ladder frame clearly labeled.
I made poor choices too, in reliance on fasteners from a nearby Home Depot. 3/8" x 1 1/2" coarse-thread hex bolts should have been 2" instead, permitting a washer outside the arm and under a lock nut, at each side of the arm lower pivots. Home Depot is not a full-selection hardware store. They do not offer lock nuts for these coarse-thread bolts.
I learn, and I share my learning.
A Safety Pole and More:
Having offered a simple repair, I shall avoid offering other services.This is my job-in-process at late-December 2022, with a safety pole always included. A safety pole is a selected pretty 2x4 rock-solidly bridged between floor joists and roof joists with three or more hand grips, and with power and lighting control attached.
A lighted switch
One or two sturdy handles in-reach while not hanging onto the safety pole.