How to Fix a Recliner That Won’t Recline or Stay Up [2023 Working Solution]

We’ve updated this article to the latest solutions as at January 2023.

In this article, I lay bare everything you need to know about how to fix a recliner that won’t stay up or recline.

So, you have an expensive recliner that’s becoming a waste of space because it won’t stay up or recline. You don’t know what to do about this bulk but would prefer if there’s a cheaper alternative rather than spending extra bucks to fix it at a recliner repair shop?

Well, you’re in luck! Fixing your spoilt recliners just became easier and cheaper. For good measure, you can run this through with a few tools and be done with it in several hours if you take your time.

Fixing Your Recliner

It’s no big deal for recliners, like every other product to experience a decline in their ability as a result of excessive use, and/or aging of the lift chair. But, throwing it away shouldn’t be on your list of options, as you can now fix it yourself.

Fixing a recliner is usually quite easy and takes only a few minutes, just take note that broken or missing fasteners, such as nuts, bolts, and screws will need replacing.

So…. Do you want to quit throwing away pricey and still functional recliners by learning to fix them? If your answer is yes, then continue reading.

PS: Keep in mind that fixing your recliner will ultimately depend on how badly damaged it is. This brings us to the first thing to do.

Figure out the problem

So, what exactly is wrong with your lift chair? Now’s the time you should find out what needs fixing. Before you think of fixing your recliner you should first identify what exactly is wrong with it.

Knowing the problem with your recliner will not only help you know how to go about fixing it but also let you know what tools and materials you will need to fix it. Some common problems most recliners experience are:

  • The Recliner footrest leaning
  • A recliner that won’t close
  • A broken reclining mechanism
  • The recliner has a hole in its sit

Funny enough, most of these problems are easily fixed by replacing certain parts like:

  • Spoilt springs
  • Broken cables
  • Broken handles

Now that we’ve spelled out the common problems most recliners face, let’s talk about how to fix them. If you could find your recliner’s problem listed above, follow me as I explain in detail how to rectify these problems.

Tools You’ll Need to Fix Your Recliner That Won’t Stay Up

After spotting your problem, now’s the time to open your toolbox and get a hold of all the tools you’ll need to rectify this problem. Don’t have the necessary tools? No worries, order them by clicking the links highlighted or attached images which would take you to Amazon.

So, here are a few tools you’ll need.

  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Your recliner replacement parts – handle, springs, cable – any which your recliner urgently needs

You might also decide to invest in a handyman’s overall if you’re feeling yourself.

How can I fix the problem with my recliner, after I spot it?

 How to Fix Your Recliner Footrest When It’s Leaning

 For this problem, you will need your lubricant, spanner, and a cover or nylon. If you notice abnormal behavior in the footrest of your recliner or it’s stuck and won’t stay up, you should follow the below steps:

  • Turn the recliner upside down to gain access to the bottom of the footrest.
  • Cover the body of the recliner and its seat with your nylon cover to prevent stain.
  • Lubricate the footrest joints extensively
  • Using your spanner, make sure that the bolts that hold the reclining mechanism and footrest are well tightened.
  • Put your recliner back to its initial upright position and test that the footrest stays put.

How to Fix a Recliner That Won’t Close


For this problem, you will need a screwdriver, spanner, lubricant, and a cover. Check out the steps below:

  • First, you will need to turn the recliner on its face to expose the mechanisms clearly or turn it to its side opposite the handle.
  • Check to see if you notice loose screws, nuts, or worn rivets. If there are, tighten them.
  • Increase the reclining tension by turning the thumbwheels and/or wing nuts clockwise.
  • Decrease the tension by turning them anti-clockwise
  • Make sure that the recliner’s entire mechanism is securely fixed to the seat frame.
  • Now, lubricate all the moving parts of the recliner

How to Replace the Reclining Mechanism on a Reclining Sofa

Reclining mechanism replacement

To replace the reclining mechanism on a reclining sofa you will need a new reclining mechanism, a spanner, screwdriver, nylon cover, and lubricant.

Do note that repairing a completely broken reclining mechanism can be quite expensive. If you choose to do this against purchasing a new recliner the following will give you a well-detailed step on how to replace the mechanism of your reclining sofa.

  • First, turn the recliner so that you’ll have access to its backside.
  • Now remove the back cover allowing you to gain access to locks holding the back of the recliner.
  • Using your screwdriver, gently press the release of the recliner on both sides. Now you can take off the back of the recliner completely.
  • Turn the recliner upside down to locate the bolts holding the reclining mechanism.
  • You can release the footrest of the recliner.
  • Use the screwdriver to loosen all the bolts keeping the chair’s rail bolt to the mechanism
  • Take the reclining mechanism out from the rails
  • Now remove the cable
  • Loosen the bolts keeping the recliner frame and the mechanism together, and then loosen those attaching the mechanism to the footrest.
  • Remove the reclining mechanism from the frame
  • Put in your new mechanism on the frame
  • Screw the footrest to your new reclining mechanism
  • Screw the mechanism together with the frame then place the release cable back
  • Lift the reclining mechanism back to the rails and bolt it back to position
  • Place the recliner in an upright position and test

     Fixing Your Recliner Spring – How to go about it

replacing recliner springs

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to see that your recliner spring has even come off or damaged following extensive use. We’ll be talking about how to fix them below. Keep the tools you’ll need for this task handy and follow the instructions outlined below.

To fix a spoilt spring in your recliner you will need a screwdriver, new spring (if the old spring is damaged).

  • Turn the recliner upside down
  • Confirm the state of the spring, loose or broken
  • Take out the spring and compare it with your new spring to be sure you got the right type
  • Put the new one back in the old one’s place once you’re sure it’s the same type. PS: You may need to stretch it to get to the holders
  • If by chance the old springs are only displaced from their holders but still intact, just fix them back to position with no need for replacement. You can use a string to pin them to the recliner’s frame of opposite direction to avoid a repeat occurrence

Replacing a Broken Recliner Cable

Replacing sofa recliner cable

You can tell that your recliner cable is be broken when the recliner does not recline when you pull it by the handle, or when you notice the cables moving but the recliner isn’t reclining.  

To fix a broken recliner cable you will need a screwdriver, pliers, and a new recliner cable. After you must have gotten your needed materials you follow the steps below:

  • Using your screwdriver, unscrew the screws at the top and bottom of the recliner handle
  • Remove the handle alongside the cable from its earlier position
  • Turn the chair upside down to get access to the cable mechanism that you’ll find at the bottom of the chair.
  • Use your pliers to remove the plastic clips holding the cable in line with its mechanism. This will give you access to take out the broken cable.
  • Now you can free the footrest by pulling on its arm. Doing so will give you access to the release arm where you’ll find the cable.
  • Raise the release arm to get access to the end of the fitted cable.
  • Note the way it was being fixed into the chair then unhook the cable and pull it free from the chair.
  • Place the plastic clip after which you raise the release arm and fit the cable to the hole where the original cable was fitted. Asides from this, you may decide to change the cable’s tension by changing the hole.
  • Close the footrest. Stand the recliner back upright
  • Test the recliner after screwing the handle back on rightly.

How to Fix a Recliner with a Hole in its Seat

Over time you may stumble on a hole in your favorite lift chair. This shouldn’t be surprising; recliner materials may suffer wear and tear or even friction burn after extended use.

If you find a hole in your recliner lift chair, here’s a suggestion to fix and cover it up.

For this problem, you are going to need glue, scissors, a blade, cotton.  After you must have gotten these materials, follow these steps to cover the hole in your recliner.

  • First, trim the places where the burn/tear is, removing all discolor from the area.
  • Now, cut out a patch material from a hidden side of your recliner.
  • Put cotton beneath the hole, filling it up.
  • Using fabric glue, dab the edges of the patch and the hole. 
  • Now cover up the tear/cut with your piece of recliner cloth.

How to Fix a Recliner Handle 

how to fix a recliner handle

Having issues with your recliner handle? I think it’s time to fix it. Here’s a quick fix to get it straight again. To fix a recliner handle you will need to get a new handle and your screwdriver.

  • First, using your screwdriver, unscrew the two screws on the bottom and top part of the handle.
  • Gently remove the handle from the chair.
  • At the handle’s rear, if you find any retaining clip remove it.
  • Now unclip the cable neck from the handle. From here you can easily unhook the cable end from the handle while keeping in mind its original position.
  • Remove the retaining clip from the new handle if you find any.
  • Hook the cable end to the new handle. Then clip the cable neck into the new handle.
  • Place retaining clip back onto the handle to hold the cable into position.
  • Put back the handle to its position on the chair.
  • Tighten the handle using your screwdriver.

Final Thoughts

You can save costs by properly maintaining your recliner and fixing it yourself even when it does turn out faulty.

Consistent maintenance of your recliner is necessary to allow it last longer and work with more efficiency. If you are consistent in your recliner maintenance, it will help you identify problems and act on them before they can cause major breakdowns which could lead to a more expensive repair.

I hope this article was clear enough to grasp to help you on your quest to saving and being your own recliner engineer. If you follow through with the instructions here, you won’t need to worry about splashing several hundred or thousands of dollars on a new recliner.