How To Adjust A Recliner

Are you looking for some easy ways to adjust a recliner? Well, you have arrived at the right place! A recliner that doesn’t adjust is of no use, as it can’t serve you with comfort.

Thus, to assist you in adjusting it real-quicker, we are here with some easy steps. The how to adjust a recliner guide comprises various steps that you can follow to fix the recliner’s adjustability.

Before plunging into the process to fix it, let’s understand why you should adjust a recliner after some time.

Some Reasons Why You Should Adjust the Recliner

Top 5 Best Swivel Recliners

The motion of the recliner chair depends on its tension. If the tension is good, then the chair will work properly, and you can enjoy the comfort. However, with time the tension of the recliner starts getting loose. 

There are many reasons behind it, such as age, the weight of the person sitting on it, and the natural tension of the spring.

Also, some users consider adjusting a recliner to get the best comfort, depending on their preference.  

Adjusting a recliner will reward you with more comfort. Furthermore, the reclining function will work smoothly, and the backrest will not lay back too much. 

Here are some reasons to adjust the recliner:

Best sitting position 

You will get an ideal sitting position after tensioning the recliner. As an example, pregnant ladies enjoy a straighter sitting position so that they can get up easily. On the other hand, the elderly love lying down on the recliner.

By adjusting the chair, you can achieve the best sitting position.

Enhanced life of motors 

If you have a power lift recliner, then adjusting it will enhance the lifespan of the motors. Decreasing the stress on the motor and the tension cable will impact their life. And you will have lesser issues with the recliner.

A Pro Tip 

Recliners are heavy, especially if you have a loveseat or a massive one that accommodates three people. Always ask someone to help you out in adjusting it. Having someone to help will make it easier for you to tilt the recliner without damaging it.

Adjusting the chair can take time, depending on what you are doing with it. So, it is advised to call someone for help.

Steps to Adjust a Recliner 

Below we have covered multiple steps that you can follow to adjust the recliner with ease. No matter if you have a manual recliner or an electronic one, you can use these steps.

1. Adjust the Tension 

Adjusting the recliner’s tension is easy as compared to replacing the tension cable and springs. The step is applicable for the recliners that come with a thumbscrew mechanism. 

Test the Tension 

Start by testing the tension of the recliner. And whether it needs an increase or decrease in the tension. Sit on the recliner, and use the recline feature. If the backrest is requiring too much pressure, that needs a decrease in the tension.

On the other hand, if the backrest feels loose and is leaning automatically after you press the reclining button or handle, then it needs an increase in the tension.

Tilt the recliner

Tilt the recliner with some help, and place it over a piece of cloth or a clean carpet to avoid any direct contact with the floor. Place it in a position that it doesn’t move when you are rotating the thumbscrew.

Adjust the tension 

You can adjust the tension of the recliner by rotating the thumbscrew. The thumbscrew is big in size, and you can rotate it without any tools. For reducing the tension, rotate the screw in an anticlockwise direction and vice versa to increase the tension.

It would be great to read the instruction manual before rotating the thumbscrew. Rotate the screw carefully to attain the right tension.

Test the tension again

Test the recliner’s tension again by sitting on it and using the reclining feature. You will get an idea if it still needs further adjustments or not. Keep adjusting the tension until you feel comfortable.

2. Change Recliner Pitch 

Sometimes rotating the thumbscrew doesn’t help because something is wrong with the recliner’s pitch. The pitch of a recliner is the height of the chair’s front part when it is closed. Here are the steps to correct the pitch.

Determine the pitch 

Sit on the recliner to determine the pitch. Consider sitting in an upright posture for a better idea. Try to lean on the backrest and don’t use the reclining feature. If your knees are bending upwards, then the recliner has a low pitch. 

On the other hand, if your feet are getting up from the floor, then the pitch is higher than required. In both events, you need to correct the pitch.

Tilt the chair forward 

Tilt the reclining chair forward to get access to its underside, where you will find the nuts and bolts. Make sure to close the footrest as it can get damaged during the process. The recliner should rest on the armrests so that you can fix the pitch easily.

Locate the cam bolt 

You will find this bolt on the underneath of the recliner. Look at the center of the recliner, and you will find these bolts. Don’t get confused between the cam bolts and the thumbscrew bolt. These are four bolts that hold the recliner’s frame.

Remove the front bolt.

Unscrew the front bolt from the frame. Don’t remove other bolts as it can harm the pitch. Keep the bolt safely into a box so that you can install it after correcting the pitch.

Unscrew the back bolt partially.

Unscrew the back bolt partially so that you can adjust the frame. Don’t remove the bolt as you did for the front bolt.

Adjust the frame 

Adjusting the frame will help you in adjusting the pitch. You can move the recliner’s frame to correct the pitch. To decrease the pitch, push the recliner’s frame upwards and downwards. On the other hand, if you want to increase the pitch, simply slide the frame by putting pressure on the top. 

Screw the bolt

After adjusting the pitch, screw the front bolt again. While screwing the bolts, make sure that the recliner stays in its place so that the pitch remains the same.

Test the corrected pitch 

Now, test the corrected pitch by sitting on the recliner. If the recliner needs any adjustments in the future, follow the same process to adjust the pitch.  

3. Fix the Tensioning Cable 

In a few cases, the tensioning cable breaks down. The reasons can be many such as the age of the recliner and how you are using it. If the tension cable breaks down, then the only solution is replacing it. An easy way to find out if the cable is fine or not is by moving the backrest.

If it is moving freely without even using the recline button, then the cable needs a replacement. Replacing the tension cable is a complex process, so here is a detailed video that will certainly help.

4. Replace the Tension Springs 

The recliner features multiple tension springs that help the backrest in moving back and forth when you recline the chair. After some time, these springs fail due to a lack of elasticity or any damages caused due to wear and tear.

You can replace the tension springs without any professional help. And here is a detailed process to do it at home.

Tilt the recliner 

Tilt the recliner so that you get access to its underside. The footrest of the recliner should face the ground.

Find the springs 

You will find the springs inside the reclining mechanism. Check if any spring has broken down or is there any other issue down there. 

Scrutinize carefully to find out the issues.

Use pliers to remove the springs.

Use pliers to remove the faulty springs. Hold the spring from one end, and tilt it a bit to remove it easily. Remove all the springs that aren’t working, and buy replacements. 

Attach new springs 

Attach new springs using pliers. The springs will be tight, so you need to attach them with care so that they don’t bounce back and harm you. 

Test the tension 

After replacing the springs, test the tension. For a few days, you will find that the recliner has tighter tension. It is due to using new springs. After some days, the springs will get loosen a bit, and you will get the perfect tension required for ultimate comfort.


With these easy ways, you can adjust the recliner without any professional help. Following these steps will help you in improving overall comfort. And that is indispensable. Follow the steps correctly and always use protective gear such as gloves and glasses for added protection.