How to Fix a Recliner That Won’t Recline

Fix a Recliner That Won’t Recline

Suppose you came home from a long, tiring day at the office. The only thing you are looking forward to now is being able to cuddle on your recliner with a cozy blanket and a mug of hot chocolate.

You sit on the recliner and pull the lever to recline it, yet it doesn’t recline. Now, you have no choice now but to call a mechanic and give up on your rest.

This is a scenario a lot of us face from time to time. Yet this can be fixed with only a little bit of knowledge and time. So, where can you gain that knowledge from? By reading this article about how to fix a recliner that won’t recline, of course! You can fix issues like this without any problem at all after you’ve read it.

Find the Problem

To fix a recliner chair that does not recline, you need to be aware of the mechanism it employs first. That way, you can understand which part of the product might be damaged and causing the recliner to malfunction.

Typically, a recliner chair might stop working if any of these things occur –

A Broken Cable System

Recliners with a cable system typically stop reclining if the cable becomes loose or broken. The cable helps to elevate the footrest, which in turn reclines the chair through a lever. If the lever is damaged, then that causes a problem too, as it cannot aid the cable in lifting the footrest anymore.

A Faulty Arm System

These types of recliners come equipped with an arm outside of the body. The arm turns and raises the footrest so that the recliner may be adjusted to whatever position the user wants.

Sometimes the arm may get stuck. Other times, the bolts holding the arm in place may get loose. Either way, the footrest cannot work anymore, and the chair stops reclining.

A Stuck Footrest

Often, a footrest might get stuck in its place without any fault from the cables. The screws get stuck, or even the joints get rusty from working all the time. If this happens, it won’t rise, and as a consequence, the chair won’t recline either.

A Damaged Handle

Externally, a handle in a recliner chair seems to be serving no other purpose than to be a resting place for the user’s arms.

But in reality, it works to keep the footrest raised up in the position the user wants. If it gets broken or damaged, the footrest will still be able to rise, but it will not be able to stay in that position, thus causing the chair to not recline.

Access the Problematic Part

Now that you have identified which part the problem lies with, you need to access that part. If the issue is with the footrest or handle, it is typically easy to fix as you can get a hold of these from the outside. But in case of a broken cable or bolts, you need to be prepared to go through a bit of trouble.

First of all, you need to try to get the cushion off the chair. That will make it easier to access the inside parts. When that is done, you can easily handle or lever that is inside of the chair.

The cable will be easy enough to spot too. But in case you are having trouble seeing exactly where the cable attaches itself, put the chair upside down to get a better view.

How to Fix a Recliner That Won’t Recline | The Solution

Once you have got a hold of the part that has been disturbing your chair’s basic functions, it is time to go into repair mode! Hold still while we tell you how to fix each part in detail.


The arm is typically located inside the handle. And the first thing you need to see is if the bolts are screwed tight on the arm. If they are not, get a screwdriver and start tightening. Make sure to see if any bolt is missing as well. In case of any missing bolts, get some new good quality ones.


The cable might have slipped off or got broken. In case of a broken cable, you will need to turn the chair completely upside down and get the cable out of the clip that holds it.

You then need to measure the cable and get one of exactly the same length to replace it. Once you have hooked the cable back to its place, the chair should be able to recline again.

If the cable didn’t get broken and only slipped out, the task becomes a lot easier. You just need to hook it back to the lever, and it will work like before.


To fix the footrest, you need to first tighten the screws that hold it in place. If you feel the screws are not doing a good job, consider getting some of a larger size. These will be able to hold it in place better.

If the problem is not with the screws, but the footrest is still stuck, then you need to get a good lubricant. Apply it properly on all joints, and it will get back to working in no time at all.


If the handle is broken, you must invest in a new one. To replace the old one, put the recliner in a downward-facing position so you can access the screws underneath the original handle. After that, you just need to get the old handle off the brackets and screw the new one on tightly.


Being able to rest in a recliner after a long day’s work is a blessing like no other. Do not let things like a malfunctioning part ever stop you from doing that. Hopefully, after reading this article, you now know how to fix a recliner that won't recline and will be able to take matters into your own hands at the sign of any trouble.

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