How to Fix a Recliner Chair Mechanism

Do you also have a recliner in the cozy corner of your room? That big old chair that sits there with a throw blanket where you often fall asleep while reading. You can just put your feet up and enjoy your favorite movies while sitting on the recliner. The comfort and support they provide are unmatched. 

More often than not, these old recliners start having some problems like springs might not work, issues with the pull handle, lever, etc. It doesn’t mean it’s time to throw them out. You can always get these issues fixed or even better fix them yourself. Yes, you read it right!

You might be wondering, how? Sometimes these mechanism problems are meager and can be fixed by people like you and us. Consider this article as a small tutorial on how to fix your recliner chair mechanism at home. Sounds daunting? No need to worry as we will walk you through the process of fixing the chair without any professional help. Just follow the given steps carefully.

Issues to Fix

First things first, identify the issues with your chair and note them down. Many issues can happen with your chair but we will be looking at the five most common ones. We will be providing a step by step solution to all five of them. 9 out of 10 times the parts go bad and you need to replace them. These replacement parts can be easily bought online or from the manufacturer’s store. 

You need to keep you calm and be patient as you might not get it right in the first attempt. You may have to repeat the steps over and over again and understand where you went wrong. This is a tedious process but the result will surely be satisfactory.

In this article, we will be looking at fixing the pull handle, the power button, footrest, recliner’s back, and tension springs. The tools we used are a screwdriver, plier, wrench and some lubricant oil. Let’s fix them one by one. 

How to Fix the Pull Handle of a Recliner?

When the pull handle of your recliner starts to malfunction, it’s not possible to use the recliner at all. You just have to sit there with the last position it was set to. Because you cannot change the position without the handle. 

It means it’s time to replace it. You can just buy a new handle from the market and replace it with the old one yourself. Follow the given steps and let’s fix it together.

    • To start, make sure the recliner is closed, that means the footrest should be down and the seat is upright. Then, turn the recliner upside down. Ask for help as recliners are heavy. You might end up hurting your back. 
    • Once upside down, find the screw or mechanism that is connected to the handle. Loose the screws and safely put them aside.
    • Remove the broken pull handle with the chair upside down on the floor. Now, you will find the cable’s end attached to the old handle that is in turn connected to the recliner. 
    • Use the needle-nose pliers to separate the S- tip of this cable from the old handle. Then, attach the cable to the replacement handle. 
    • Now, put the handle back inside the chair using the bolts you removed earlier using a screwdriver. Tighten the screws and then put the chair back upside. 
    • Lastly, test if the new handle works. You will have to sit on the recliner and try pulling the handle to check if it is working properly. Do it multiple times to make sure everything is working fine and you are good to go. 

How to Fix the Power Button?

If the recliner has stopped taking instructions and is stuck in one position, it might be having power button issues. It is a common issue in the overworked recliners. The repetitive instructions make the machine wear out fast. But the good news is that you can replace the power button with a new one. Let’s see how. 

    • To check the power button, switch on the recliner and listen to it closely for the motor sound. If you hear no sound, it means the power button is not working. 
    • Now let’s replace the power button. Start by disconnecting the recliner from the power supply and take out the plug from the switch. There should be no supply of electricity to the recliner.
    • Now, put the recliner upside down and start finding the power switch. Once you find it, try taking it off the chair by loosening its screws.
    • Then, disconnect the 5- prong plug of the power switch. This plug has a cable connected to the motor.
    • Once done, place the new switch and connect it with the 5- prong plug and its cable. Using a screwdriver, put the screws back as well.
    • Now put the recliner upside and check if the power button is working. Try reclining the chair and then putting it back up. If all is working fine, the chair is repaired. 

How to Fix a Recliner Footrest?

The footrest is the best part of a recliner, especially for all the lazy bums. Just put your feet up and take a quick nap on the recliner. The malfunction of a recliner footrest is also a common problem. Sometimes it gets stuck or might not lock when required. Lucky for you, this is something you can fix on your own. Just roll up your sleeves and let’s get started. 

    • Issue 1: Start by turning the recliner upside down and check if there are any loose screws. Tighten them up properly if you find any or replace the ones that are no longer useful or have gone rusty. Apply some lubricant on the joints of the footrest. Move it up and down and it is fixed.
    • Issue 2:
      • But when your footrest gets stuck in the middle, it calls for adjustment of its mechanism. Turn it upside down and find the mechanism connected to the footrest which is ratchet type.
      • Loosen the screws and springs to reach the ratchet and remove the bar attached to it. The footrest will move up and down when you remove the ratchet. If this happens, then you need to replace the ratchet. 
      • Get a new ratchet and put it back in the reverse manner of how you removed the previous one. Turn the chair upside and check if the footrest is working fine now. 

How to Fix the Back of a Recliner Chair?

Recliners have 3 types of backs- locking lever, locking tabs, and bolted on backs. With passing time you might face problems with the back of the recliners. It may be due to uneven padding, floor or might have been used too much. We will tell you how to fix each of those. 

    • For bolted on backs, you will have to loosen the lower side of the back panel. Using a screwdriver, remove the back from the recliner and unfasten the screws. Then put the back again on the chair and put the screws in tightly. Move the back sideways to ensure it is fitted properly. Push the lever down with a screwdriver to lock the back into the chair. 
    • For locking lever backs, check if the brackets are fastened to the back. They should be flipped downwards and locked down to the metal studs of the back seat when you sit on it. 
    • For locking tabs or catches automatically lock into place when the recliner slides back on. Using a screwdriver, you can remove the chair’s bracket hooks and then put them back tightly. 

How to Fix Recliner Chair Tension Springs?

The springs your recliner has can fail with time. They need to be replaced and your recliner will be as good as new. Fortunately, you don’t need to call a professional every time this happens. Just get a strong recliner spring and set it right yourself.

    • Turn the recliner upside down and find the old damaged spring. If the spring is still there, look for the ends it is clipped to.
    • Use a pair of pliers to disconnect it from the recliner frame.
    • Now place the new spring on the frame and stretch it to both ends using a screwdriver. Ask for help during this step and attach the tension spring properly on both sides. 
    • Now put the chair in the upside position and sit on it to check if the springs are working properly.

Also If you are willing to buy new Recliner chair for yourself, check out: Best La-Z-Boy Recliners


Recliners are a valuable addition to our homes. They can have a long life if taken care of properly. Some minor issues can come up with them from time to time. You can fix them real quick through our article or maybe some youtube videos. Just take out your tools and a few hours of your time on a weekend to follow the above mentioned simple steps. Make sure you have assistance as the recliners are heavy and you are wearing proper safety gear. 

We hope we helped you in solving the issues of your favorite chair. 

Happy fixing!