How to Fix a Recliner Tips: Fix the Back + Springs + Footrest + Cable

Recliner chairs raised the bar of comfort and flooded the market with a fantastic concept of leaning backs and footrests at your service just by pulling a lever. Recliner Chairs envelop the consumers with extreme comfort and relax our stressed bodies after a tiring day. These are D-chairs, it can lull you to sleep, it is a cozy place to read your favorite book in, put your feet up and watch a movie, well popcorn is just a bonus.

We are not even exaggerating while saying that sitting in a recliner feels like sinking into the ultimate form of relaxation and is a beautiful piece of furniture one can have from Cindy Crawford.  These fantastic chairs have spoilt us. So when you get back home from a long day and lay on the recliner just to find it broken, it can be quite upsetting. And as you own one you must be knowing reclining chairs are one of the most overused products you own, well this is the case with most people who have a recliner.

But don’t you worry, we got you. Further, in this article, we have some tips that can help you fix your dear recliner by yourself. This is a more affordable and sustainable solution than getting a new one. Tossing out a recliner chair without even looking at what went wrong with it and whether it is fixable or not would not be the smartest idea.

Locating the Root Problem

Knowing where the problem lies can be a big help while finding a solution. And in most mechanisms the case is you understand how it works you can fix any problem that comes your way, with this article there is a benefit of being able to fix it without that. But it would be best if you want to are interested in learning so.

Here is the link to a video that explains the work. It is optional to watch. If you are worried that you need to be a DIY pro for this activity, let us relieve you from this worry, this is not right. Anyone can do the following things. Plus, the money it saves can be quite motivating. And for some people, the sustainability factor can push them to get their hands dirty.

How to Fix Recliner Chair Springs?

Did you think the cushions are solely responsible for the ton of comfort that the recliner gives? Well, it isn’t like that. Springs are the behind the scene’s performers that are as much responsible for the comfort as the cushions. Springs are known for storing/absorbing energy. Most mechanisms use springs for stability, as they can efficiently counterbalance the “stress” if we were to use scientific terminology.

The durability and efficiency of the spring used in the recliner chair much depend on the use of the recliner and the weight it has been used to support. But no matter how good the quality, as we discussed recliner, is one of the most used pieces of furniture in most houses, so with time springs lose their efficiency and when it is used beyond its tolerance it sometimes even snaps. The good news is, in both cases, it can be fixed.

Well, we understand that you might not know when the problem is because of the springs. These are the scenarios where the problem is most likely because of the springs, with appropriate solutions.

In any of the below two scenarios, initially do the following. If your recliner has a removable back, do remove it as the task will get a tad easy for you. Then flip your recliner upside down in a stable position. Remove the screws or bolts that are holding it together using a screwdriver or wrench, respectively.

When your Recliner Leans to One Side

This can be due to multiple reasons, but the failure of the springs on one side holds a high chance. So here is what to do, you will require a screwdriver, pry bar, and depending on the damage spring/s that fit your recliner, wood glue, adjustable wrench.

Do as initially instructed. Then thoroughly inspect the springs of the recliner for any wearing out. Commonly, one side is noticed to be tighter than the other to cause such an issue. And in that case, you will need to replace the spring that has lost its tension (further it is explained how it can be replaced).

Or if you notice the mounting of the spring has loosened due to oversized holes in the wood, use wood glue to tighten it. If that is not the case, then the issue might be with the leveling of the mounting plate.

When you Sink into the Seat More than Usual

Do as initially instructed, then look for damage in the area that sinks more. You may see a damaged or snapped spring. Remove the footrest from the mainframe using the wrench to remove the bolts. Then to detach the spring. Hopefully, you won’t require tools, rotate it to loosen up, and remove it from the hook. Attach the new one, and it won’t be difficult as long as the frame is accessible. Make sure it is adequately attached and reattach the footrest and back. It is good to go for quite some time now.

Watch this video to understand better.

How to Fix the Back of a Recliner?

How to Fix the Back of a Recliner

You can still work with the other broken parts of a recliner, but a broken back needs immediate fixing. And we agree that this may look tricky, but fortunately, it can be repaired at home with commonly found tools and some work. So let us get to it.

The backs of recliners can be attached to the Seat with three commonly seen types of fasteners,

Levers- Levers are usually downwards when in use that is when they are locked, so flip them upwards to remove the back.

Locking tabs- When the back is slid in the panel, the tab locks right into the place, you can use a flat screwdriver to make sure that it is correctly locked in place. They can be tightened to increase the firmness by removal of the bracket fasteners.

Bolts- The bolts are placed under the lower side of the back panel. You can loosen and tighten them as per the need. But it is quite necessary to carefully inspect that bolts are correctly fastened to avoid unnecessary injuries.

So these are the three ways the back locks in. If you are facing any issue with this and the part is broken, order a replacement, and it can be fixed easily. But mostly you just tightening of these part should solve your problem

How to Fix the Footrest of a Recliner Chair?

Free movement of the footrest is an underestimated thing until it stops working or is broken. That is when you realize how much it adds to comfort regularly. You can see the mechanism of how it works by flipping and removing some screws. Trust me, and it is not difficult at all.

You can figure what is wrong by yourself. Some of the everyday things that go wrong are mentioned with solutions.

Do the following if,

Footrest is Stuck

This issue can be battled easily with the use of some lubricant on the joints. But remember to keep something to cover your cushions with to avoid lubricant stains and mess. You will need to overturn the recliner. Use lubricant on all joints, but don’t overuse it. This gets the job done. If this doesn’t work, try the below mentioned, or the problem might be with the spring.

(refer above-mentioned video to see how to replace recliner spring)

Footrest Does not Stay up or Lock Efficiently

Turn the recliner upside down. Do the required to access all joints that are responsible for holding the footrest and tightening them, replacing if required. It would be best to replace them with longer screws that will go through the wood slightly.

This will increase the sturdiness. If it is relatively old, the chair footrest, brackets should be secured with new screws, after inspecting all the joints and tightening and replacing the required. You can test the work done on an upright chair.

How to Fix Cable of a Recliner?

How to Fix Cable of a Recliner

The cable is the part of the recliner that makes sure the back of the recliner leans back whenever you want and comes back to default as per your convenience. So if there is any issue regarding the reclining, you can understand the cable is the part that needs fixing.

Here are some common problems and solutions that can help you;

  • When the back of the chair doesn’t recline
  • The back doesn’t go back to the default position

Both these issues can be fixed by the same method as a cable, and both operate them.

This is most likely to happen if the cable is loose or broken. This can be fixed easily in a traditional recliner, but it can get tricky in the advanced massage chairs, but the fundamental method remains the same.

To fix the cable of a recliner, turn your chair upside down. Remove the bolts that hold the bottom of the footrest. Also, remove the squab attached to the seat frame by removing the two bolts.

After doing so, you are likely to see the cable. Either it must be loose and out of its track or broken. If it is broken, you will be required to replace it. After which reattack the squab and footrest and test if it works.

And with that, we wind up the short guide of how you can fix the most common problems that occur in a recliner. We have mostly covered all the things that come under repairing the back, the springs, the cable, and the footrest of a recliner chair. We hope you find it easy and doable.

Here are some other issues you might face with solutions;

  • If you damaged the cushion cover, i.e., vinyl over the years or while fixing the recliner, you can certainly buy a self-adhesive patch available in the market and cover it up, plus it looks trendy.’
  • Maintaining the chair by tightening of screws and lubricating when required, will help in increasing the durability of the recliner.
  • If the chair mechanism has entirely gone for a toss, you can replace only that too. Here is the video of how you can replace it easily.
  • Replacing the worn out parts can also elongate the life of a recliner

We understand a broken recliner can be a real downer. You are not the only one who did not want to throw the recliner but also didn’t know what to do with it. Hopefully, we helped with that through this article.

These were some easy DIY fixes that anyone could do with the right tools. If you think you cannot handle it alone, take the help of a family member, they can assist you, hand over tools to you, and if nothing, they can just hold the torch for excellent vision at the back of the chair.

The manual that came along at the time of purchase can be a bit helpful not for fixing it but locating parts, and in case if you want to replace a part, there can be information that might help.

We have mentioned most of the problems and how you can fix a recliner, but you are the one who is doing it hands-on, so one thing that you must keep in mind while anything goes wrong is to look around for the cause, and once you have found the solution you can also mention it in a blog that will be written by you.

All problems come with a solution. And I hope this article was the solution you have been looking for, and we were able to help you fix your recliner back to the comfy go-to for you.

You can fix this!

Gerald Parker

With a rich experience spanning over 20 years in home maintenance, Gerald Parker holds a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas. He also holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. He began his career in construction management, later shifting to editorial roles in 2015. Outside work, he enjoys hiking and volunteers for habitat restoration projects. He is also a keen DIY enthusiast and a model train collector.

5 thoughts on “How to Fix a Recliner Tips: Fix the Back + Springs + Footrest + Cable”

  1. My dog has scratched the color from a leather recliner, the leather is fine just a patch of color
    is there a fix for this problem ?

  2. We have a double recliner sofa when we push the foot rest in it doesn’t latch shut. I’ve looked at it but don’t know how it works.what part of the mechanism holds it closed?
    Thanks for sharing
    Jeff Hartzler


Leave a Comment