How Do You Fix A Recliner Chair: Tips & Tricks

Updated November 2021

Recliners, although generally heavy and durable, can sometimes be vulnerable to damage. The most common damages include the dreaded reclining function damage and ripped/scraped/scuffed leather (Don’t you just hate that?). If you’re tired of not knowing what to do when you notice damage, our guide will help you learn how torepair a recliner, depending on the cause of the malfunction. 

How To Fix Reclining Mechanism

Have you been wondering “How do I fix my recliner mechanism?” This video might be able to help. We here at Recliner Life tested this method out for ourselves, and it was hit or miss. For some of our broken-down recliners, it worked, but for others… Let’s just say R.I.P. We suggest you try for yourself and see what happens. Maybe you’ll get lucky! If you want to learn how to repair a lazy boy recliner mechanism, there are details here.

How To Fix Ripped/Scuffed/Torn Leather

The problem with fixing ripped or torn leather is that it is dependent on the leather being ripped in a certain way. In most cases, small rips can be repaired using the right adhesive. What you want to do is carefully place the leather as close as you can to the position it once was, apply the adhesive, and then wait. This method is somewhat outdated, but it does what it’s supposed to on a smaller level. Check out this video for a better idea of how to fix ripped leather.

Fixing The Squeaky Recliner

The next issue that can occur is a squeaky recliner. This is probably the easiest problem to fix and it requires little knowledge of recliners. All you will need is some WD-40 or another solution that works in a similar way. What you want to do is to gently apply the WD-40 in the joint area underneath your recliner that enables the reclining function. Apply as much as necessary, and constantly test to see if it needs any more. This usually does the job for us, and most of our chairs are completely silent after this process.

Another thing you can try is to get a replacement part for your chair if the first method doesn’t work. Usually, the piece represents a sort of hydraulic type component. You can often get this replacement piece at stores like Home Depot or wherever you got your recliner, but note that if your recliner features some foreign or rare manufacturing components, it will be more difficult to find replacement parts.

Fixing Malfunction Reclining

This might be the most difficult problem yet, and we can’t help you as much as we’d like. For a problem such as this one, Recliner Life suggests you take it down to a professional and have them look at it. You can also give up on this helpless soul and get a new recliner.

FAQ

How to fix a broken recliner?

How to fix a broken recliner?

The approach you’ll take to fix a recliner depends on what’s broken. As we previously mentioned, taking care of the recliner mechanism is the trickiest part. You can try fixing it at home, but it won’t always work. Your best bet is to get professional help, and if that doesn’t work, then you might need to get a new one!

Squeaky recliners are the easiest to fix because they just need a quick touch-up with a bit of WD-40. If you notice cracks and rips in the material, you can either try repairing them with an adhesive or reupholster the chair (something we’ll discuss in the following FAQ). 

A question we get a lot that we didn’t mention before is the following: What happens if your pull handle breaks? Is that something you can fix?

Yes, pull handles are quite straightforward to fix, and you don’t have to be a professional to do it. We prepared a quick guide to take you through the process, so you’ll save time and money and bring your chair back to life. 

These handles come in various shapes and forms; thankfully, they’re all equally simple to change and all affordable. In addition, you can easily find the parts, both in-store and online, meaning that you’ll be done in no time. 

Grab your new handle, needle-nose pliers, and a driver. The two most common shapes of handles are lever and D-shaped, so this guide is meant for those two. Here are the steps to follow when changing a lever handle:

  1. Get a Torx head screwdriver because most recliners use that type of screw. 
  2. Push the recliner forward so that it is in an upside-down position. It will be much easier for you to work when it’s placed like this. 
  3. Find the lever handle, then use the driver to remove its screws. 
  4. Take off the damaged part and the protective metal part. 
  5. Add the new part of the lever and the new protective metal part. Use the driver to apply the new screws. 

This guide will help you change a D-shaped handle:

  1. When your recliner chair uses a D-shaped pull handle, you should also push it forward to allow for better access. 
  2. Remove the screws, and take a look inside the recliner. You should look for the handle area and find the cables. 
  3. There will be two cables connected to the handle. Now, you should grab a pair of needle-nose pliers to remove the release clip, the cable, and the handle.
  4. Get the new cable and place it in the same position as the old one. 
  5. Place the new mechanism release clip, and place back the handle. 
  6. You can now check if it is working again. If not, you can turn to a professional. 

Why does my recliner chair lean to one side?

If you love your recliner as much as we do, you’re probably so disappointed because it started leaning towards one side. Is this something you can fix and why did it happen? There are various reasons why your chair is unstable and leaning towards one side constantly:

  • Improper construction of the chair
  • Uneven floors in your home
  • Uneven padding
  • Linkage mechanism isn’t working properly
  • Wooden frames that need fixing over time due to continuous use

Even though all these reasons sound scary, in most cases, fixing the recliner takes only minutes. The leaning usually happens because the spring mechanism isn’t working properly and you need to adjust its tension. Unfortunately, this spring is located in the bottom part of the recliner, so you’ll have to access it by pushing the chair forward. 

The main goal is to even out the tension on the left and right side because if it’s stronger on one side, it will pull more and cause it to lean. Start by closing the footrest, then push the recliner with the headrest forward so that you can see the bottom part. You should be looking for thumb wheels on both sides, and unfortunately, they’re positioned differently on different recliner models. 

These thumb wheels are connected to the tension springs, and if you move the wheels, you can adjust the tension. First, ensure that both springs are positioned the same; if not, rotate the wheels. If you still feel like the chair leans to one side, adjust the springs again. 

How do I fix my power recliner chair?

How do I fix my power recliner chair?

Power recliners sound much more complicated to fix. Thankfully, that’s not quite the case. However, before you take any other measures, you should find the issue. 

Start by checking the transformer. If the light is green, then you shouldn’t worry about any electrical issues. If it’s red, then the issue is electrical. 

Next, take a look at the position of the chair. If the chair is open, then you should look for the issue in the electrical recliner parts. In some cases, the recliner might not be plugged in, therefore, you should check it once again. 

Now, see if all the wires are where they should be. Loose wires can happen, and you’ll easily resolve the problem if you connect them again. 

In some cases, wires can be damaged or cut. When that happens, you can fix the wires yourself or find a professional to help. 

Power recliners have a reset button you can use when you can’t find the issue. After you press the button, wait for the recliner to start working again and test it to see if it’s back to normal. 

So the next time you want to know “How do you fix a recliner chair that stopped working all of a sudden?” you should go over these troubleshooting steps, find the reason, and take action. 

How to refurbish a recliner?

Unfortunately, recliners aren’t a lifetime investment even if you take the best care of them. Even if they’re made of the best material on the market, chances are they’ll show signs of wear and aging. Just by using your recliner regularly, you can easily damage the material or spill food and drinks on it so it won’t look at its best.

In this case, you can reupholster the recliner and choose material of your liking. After you’re done with the process, it will be like owning a brand new reclining chair. Here are the steps you should follow to reupholster your favorite chair:

  1. Take off all the pieces of the recliner; you can position the recliner upside down and do one piece at a time. 
  2. When you’re done, you can bring it back in its upright position and remove all the fabric that you want to change. Before you go with this step, it’s recommended that you create patterns to help you cut the new material. You should cut them larger so that there’s enough material, and if there’s too much, you can easily fix it. 
  3. Place the new material on the chair. It will move around; therefore, you should use pins to secure it. You can now start stapling the material all over the chair surface.
  4. The material should sit tight, but not too tight around the corners because it will damage easily. If there are any spots you can’t staple, you can use glue.

Conclusion

Fixing your beloved sofa recliner is definitely a doable task. It’s no walk in the park, but for your recliner, you’d do anything, right? We certainly would. Perhaps, if you are not exactly the fixing type, you could be in the market for a newer, sexier, and more durable recliner. If so, check out what we feel to be the best recliners being sold in 2021: