Why My Recliner Won’t Stay Reclined? (Easy Fix)

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Recliners are some of the most popular pieces of furniture in most contemporary homes. However, every recliner also gets to a point where it’s worn out due to everyday wear and tear. When this happens, multiple things start to happen. A bolt will come loose, or the recliner will not stay in the reclined position. So how do you diagnose and fix the problem? Read on to find out.

Why Won’t My Recliner Stay in a Reclined Position?

You probably tried to recline your recliner, and it embarrassingly returned to the sitting position. This isn’t a unique or new problem. Sometimes, recliners do that. Here are a few reasons why your recliner won’t stay reclined:

1) Incorrect Assembly

Sometimes, your recliner chair might not be old but assembled the wrong way instead. This is common if the assembly or disassembly was recent. If this is the case, then dismantling the assembling the recliner chair again should do the trick.

Incorrect assembly

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Checking the assembly instructions and making the necessary adjustments should also ensure your recliner mechanism is correctly positioned. Wobbling could also be a result of incorrect assembly. Therefore, ensure to confirm that the recliner is sturdy.

2) Damaged Tension Springs

When your recliner doesn’t hold the reclining position, then it might mean that the tension springs might be worn out or damaged. You first have to find out if that’s the case, and this might mean taking the chair apart. If the springs are worn out, you might need new springs for your lazy boy recliner.

Damaged tension springs

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Remember, if your recliner spring is damaged, you might also be sinking too far into the seat. If you have the patience, you can replace the springs yourself, however, it’s best to contact your local recliner retailer to ask for assistance.

3) Loose or Damaged Recliner Mechanism

If your recliner still doesn’t stay in a reclined position, the reclining mechanism might be loose or damaged. Bolts and screws can come loose at the attachment points, preventing the recliner from staying reclined. Furthermore, depending on your recliner model, you might either need to tighten the loose screws or replace the parts.

Loose or damaged recliner mechanism

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After you have tightened and replaced the parts, lubricating moving parts is a good move to ensure no friction, even with the best swivel chairs.

4) Incorrect Recliner Tension

Recliner tension controls how much force you use to recline the chair. If you sit in the chair and try to recline but find it difficult, you need to decrease the recliner tension. If the recliner leans too far back for comfort, increase the recliner tension. This is especially recommended for taller and heavier people.

Incorrect recliner tension

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The tension might be too loose and can result in the chair returning to an upright position, which means the recliner backrest won’t lock in place or recline. When you adjust the tension, it will improve your sitting experience.

5) Mechanical Issues

Mechanical issues

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If you have checked everything and your recliner won’t stay reclined, you should consider a mechanical issue. Mechanical issues are usually serious and require professional diagnosis and fixing.

Common Fixes to Keep Your Recliner in Place

Before contacting your local recliner store, there are a few things you can do to fix minor issues.

To adjust the tension:

a) Assess How The Tension Feels

Assess how the tension feels

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To determine the tension, sit in the recliner and try to recline as you normally would. If you are having difficulty leaning backward or suddenly sinking into the seat, you might have to make a few adjustments.

b) Find The Adjustment Mechanism

Find the adjustment mechanism

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The adjustment mechanism is usually under the chair and sometimes on the backrest. Remember, the most common types of adjustment mechanisms are usually bolts, knobs, and a lever.

c) Make Small Adjustments

When adjusting the mechanism, it’s not advisable to adjust the bolts or knobs too tight or loose. You should make small and gradual adjustments to ensure you get the right tension for the recliner. Additionally, quarter-turn adjustments are an excellent way to go for most recliners.

Make small adjustments

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These additional adjustments should be made with the right equipment, like screwdrivers and locking adjustable pliers. Keep in mind that bolts and screws might pop out, so you will need safety goggles.

d) Test The Recliner Mechanism Again

Test the recliner mechanism again

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After adjusting everything, sit on the recliner in a reclined position and gently pull your recliner footrest out. It should be smooth enough to have the perfect tension. After every adjustment, you can also sit on the recliner to ensure you get the perfect settings.

How to Keep Your Recliner Reclined for The Long Term

In the long run, simple maintenance tips will ensure that your recline remains secure and you won’t replace any parts soon.

1) Choose a Quality Recliner

Choose a quality recliner

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Quality doesn’t only apply to the upholstery; it applies to the frame as well. Reputable brands of recliner chairs are recommended. Additionally, you should test the recliner at the shop on a flat surface, preferably the floor. If it stays reclined, then it’s worth looking into. You should also search online and ensure

2) Clean and Maintain the Recliner

Clean and maintain the recliner

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It is impossible to avoid dust. Dirt, dust, and debris are sometimes the common reasons your mechanism refuses to work. Therefore, cleaning these recliner parts ensures your recliner’s performance is improved. Using a vacuum or damp cloth, you can remove any particles hindering the chair’s work.

3) Avoid Placing Extra Weight on The Footrest

Avoid placing extra weight on the footrest

Image Source: ikea.com

The footrest shouldn’t hold too much weight, otherwise, this damages the reclining mechanism over time. Therefore, sitting or stepping on the footrest should be avoided. When the recliner is fully reclined, the footrest can only handle the weight of your outstretched legs.

4) Use the Recliner With Care

Use the recliner with care

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Using force on any part of the recliner is a big no if you want the reclining mechanism to last. Any forceful and excessive movements on the reclining mechanism will cause it to malfunction. To reduce the stress on the mechanism, you should slowly return to an upright position. Using a slipcover for your recliner will keep its fabric looking new.

Frequently Asked Questions About Why Your Recliner Won’t Stay Reclined

i) How do you keep your recliner in a reclined position?

Turn the wing nuts clockwise to increase the tension and counterclockwise to decrease the tension.

ii) Why won’t my chair stay reclined?

Your recliner’s mechanism might need lubrication or a replacement spring. Additionally, it might also need a tension adjustment.

iii) How do I stop my recliner from tipping?

If you place all your weight on one of the arms of the recliner, it’s bound to tip. Additionally, if the floor isn’t leveled, one of the sides will tip over. To counter this, distribute your weight in the middle of the recliner and place the recliner on a flat and firm surface.

The Bottom Line

Some recliner problems can be fixed with a simple tightening, saving you a lot of money. However, other problems are more serious and require a professional. Either way, if you’re struggling with your recliner not staying reclined, our guide helps you through this.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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