Fixing a Recliner Footrest – All the Steps that You Should Take

If used and taken care of properly, a recliner is a furniture piece that can last for years without the need for a replacement. Of course, that’s not to say that you won’t have to upgrade parts over the years. But knowing what to do in the even to breaks or malfunction under the cushions could save you a lot of time (and funds) from the avoidance of getting a professional to make repairs. Like almost any product, breaks can happen.

The information below shows all the things you need, along with detailed steps, to repair a broken recliner. “Break” can entail many different parts but the guide is mostly based on footrests, spring, and tilt repairs. Most areas are covered so you’ll likely find a solution to your recliner problems. Let’s begin!

What You’ll Need to Get Started

Before you get started with repairs, you’re going to need a few handy accessories. Most of the items can be found at a hardware store but you might have a few already laying around in your garage.

  • Assistance – Having someone to help you repair your recliner is important, especially the elderly or disabled. If compared to an automobile, you’ll have to get “under the hood” of your recliners to check/make fixes. Many brands can weigh well over 50 pounds, not an easy weight for everyone to pick up and place at awkward angles. Call a friend or have a loved one assist you with your repair work, particularly for underside repairs.
  • Flashlight – If there are any small parts that you must fix, a flashlight could be very useful. It’s also a good way of getting a look in corners and the underside without flipping the recliner over. Depending on the brand that you have, you may be able to reach underneath simply by removing the cushion that you sit on. In this case, a high-beam flashlight should definitely help you get a good look at everything. You don’t want to mistakenly miss seeing a piece that could be the reason your recliner isn’t working in the first place.
  • Adjustable Wrench – An adjustable wrench can tighten any loose washers or bolts along the railings. It’ll also help you unscrew pieces if there’s anything broken that you want to replace. If you have a small adjustable wrench in your home already, it should be good enough for you to finish the job. However, do take a good look at those you possess already. If there’s rust along with the adjustment knob, it’s recommended that you get a replacement (more so if you’re unable to move the wrench at all).
  • Screws – Be sure that the screws you have are the correct size for your recliner. Try to pick good screws that don’t strip easily. If not, it could be more difficult for you to remove them if another repair is needed in the future. If you’re using a simple screwdriver to remove old screws, see if the size fits into them well. A drill could help with this too, just as long as you have adequate drill bits.
  • Other Recliner Replacement Parts – You might have to buy replacement parts for your recliner directly from the manufacturer. Still, many are sold on major retail websites, especially the companies that are most popular with consumers. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t find pieces that are made by a different company altogether. Always check and see if the part (or parts) you need to fix something is competitively sold. That way, you’ll get a bigger selection of choices (or maybe even a higher quality part that what’s provided by the brand!).
  • Lubricating Oil – Recliners are built with metal parts that can sometimes be hard to take apart during a fix. However, even if nothing’s wrong with your recliner, it’s highly recommended for you to purchase a lubricating oil for the furniture piece. Apply this to metal parts that turn the back and footrest to make them last longer. You can also add a bit to areas along the underside that cause friction when you move the recliner around. Lubrication oil also prevents vital areas from oxidation or accumulating rust.
  • Paper Towels/Cleaning Wipes – Cleaning wipes are needed to wipe away any dust and debris that are underneath the recliner. Keep in mind that you probably won’t need to add any chemicals to do this; just a quick wipe down should be good enough. But if you insist, always avoid cleaners that are water-based. Rust can grow easier in areas that are touched by water. And if that occurs, you could end up needing to do more repairs that weren’t necessary from the beginning.

luxury leather recliners

How to Fix Your Recliner

Here are some of the most important steps for you to take during your recliner repair.

Step 1: Get Everything Prepared

Do you have everything prepared? No matter what sort of repair that you’re going to do, you’ll need to proper tools to get the job done. If you haven’t already, refer to the section above to know which items are most important to fixing your recliner.

Try and allocate some working space, as you’ll be moving the furniture piece in varying positions throughout the entire session. If there’s anything fragile nearby the recliner, be sure to put it away to avoid anything getting damaged. Do not allow small children or pets to get close, either.

Step 2: Examine the area that Must be Fixed

The next step is to take a good look at all portions of your recliner. You’ll want to be as thorough as possible, to avoid missing anything. Use your flashlight to look inside the cracks of the cushions. When you’ve gone over the top, flip over the recliner slowly, getting help with this if needed. Avoid leaning the entire furniture piece on a wall or other area where it could mistakenly topple.

After you’ve positioned it to where you can clearly see the bottom, see if the footrest is in good shape. Check along the metal parts that tilt the recliner, and whether or not they’re bent. Some recliners may contain wooden planks underneath as well. If yours has them and they appear a bit brittle or chipped, it might be a good idea to apply some wood glue or epoxy to the damaged area.

Step 3: Remove the Accessories and/or Replace

By now, it’s assumed that you have all the right replacement parts for your recliner. Take off the old parts and replace them but be sure that whatever you move is secured tightly. Use your adjustable screw to fasten any loose parts. Apply lubricating oil as you go, although you don’t have to drown in in the solution.

Step 4: Secure any Items to the Recliner

If there are more items for you to place on your recliner, now is the time to do so. This can include different cushions, an improved handle, or even updated remotes by the same company. You could even get a bit creative if you wanted.

For example, it might be possible for you to add a magazine rack to the side, although this might require you to do a bit of drilling and may only work if there’s a piece on the inside to reinforce the rack. If you’re keeping your old cushions, give them a wash if you can in accordance with the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions.

Step 5: Lubricate metal portions of the Recliner

Lubricating oil is an item for you to use periodically on your recliner. But you’ll want to check the areas that are most prone to developing rust. Remember, if rust does grow on the metal pieces underneath, you could end up with a recliner that fails to move at all when you’re ready to sit. You don’t have to use oil with a high viscosity, just something that can keep the parts from drying up too much.

Step 6: Level the Recliner and Test

The final step is to raise the recliner back into its original position. You should always do this with a helping hand, if possible. Test the recliner by sitting in it has you normally would, going through the mechanisms (handle or remote control) that move the footrest and backrest. If you notice something that isn’t normal, you may have to repeat the turn it over again to see if all screws and bolts are secured well.

man sits in leather recliner

Additional Steps

The information below is additional repair options that are part and issue-specific. If one of them applies to your situation, start from here and check the item recommendations above if something from there is needed for the fix.

How to Fix a Recliner Footrest Spring

The first step is to close the footrest all the way. After that, you’ll have to tip the recliner over to see where the problem lies. If your footrest is stuck or was unable to be moved, it’s likely a screw issue. Find the screw piece that connects the footrest with the rest of the recliner, then secure it well.

Check the footrest before you move it back into an upright position. Consider spraying the metal parts along the footrest with a lubricant, then move everything back to upright. Try not to jerk the footrest’s handle too aggressively when you’re testing it, to avoid doing more damages.

How To Fix a Recliner Footrest that Won’t Stay Up

If your footrest won’t stay in an upright position when you need it to, it could be that your springs need to be replaced, or at least moved. Sometimes, these can be shifted or simply moved back into the spot that they were in when you first acquired the furniture. Whatever the case may be, move them or replace them. But if they’re not the problem, check the wooden pieces in the back of the recliner. In some models, these support the recliner and keep it from going back when it’s stationed upright. If they’re damaged, check with your recliner’s brand to see if you could get replacement parts for this.

How To Fix a Recliner that Won’t Close

If your recliner’s footrest won’t close, don’t try to force it as you may end up damaging the reinforcement parts underneath. Instead, flip the entire thing over and check the mechanism. This can oftentimes be caused by jams in the footrest or handle. But on a good note, this fix is usually competed by simply adjusting the bolts and screws that hold the footrest to the recliner itself.

Still, if that’s not your problem then it’s probably jamming from a jack of lubricant. Spray on a bit of oil around the moving parts to see if the footrest can turn. Rusting might cause this to happen so consider filing it down if you notice anything oxidation along the rails.

How To Fix a Lazy Boy Recliner Footrest

If you have a La-Z-Boy recliner with a malfunctioning footrest, first check to see if the problem is something small by looking at the bottom of the furniture. If it appears to be something major (such as a broken rail or handle), then check with the company if your product is still under warranty.

Unfortunately, you’ll have to fix this yourself if it’s already expired for you. In this case, be sure to not undo one of many bolts underneath that make up most La-Z-Boy models. Unscrew the problematic bolts from the footrest if you notice any jams, then attach back as it were before you began.

Where Does the Spring Go on A Recliner

A recliner’s springs are usually located directly underneath the recliner itself. If you cannot see it from the top, you might have to turn the recliner on its bottom to locate. This can sometimes be model-specific, so check with the company you bought it from if you’re having problems locating all of them. If your recliner has instructions provided in a booklet or manual, this might show you where the springs are located.

Why is My Recliner Footrest Hard to Close

IF you’re having a hard time closing your footrest, don’t panic. The first thing to do is check with your instruction manual if there’s a troubleshooting guide provided in it. Contact the manufacturer if you don’t have anyone around to help you fix the problem. Sometimes, the solution may not necessitate flipping the furniture over.


How severer is your recliner problem? You don’t always have to rely on professional service to fix most issues. Always look for the easy way before going taking such a major last resort. Use the steps and info provided in this review to see if the problem can be fixed in an easy way. You may not even need to buy anything to make small one-off repairs. And when you’re done, get ready to use your fully-restored recliner as you did before the malfunctions started.

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