How to Fix a Recliner Chair Back: Step by Step Guide

What’s worse than a super expensive recliner? One that doesn’t fall back at all. There is no point in spending thousands of dollars on such a product if it doesn’t even perform basic functions.

But worry not, as you can work your way through this with the help of a few simple steps. In this article, we’ll show you how to fix a recliner chair back in the most cost-efficient way.

how to fix a recliner chair back

By the end of this post, your Lazy-Boy chair will be back to its glory, all without you having to spend tons of cash on professional assistance. Too good to be true? Read on ahead and see what we’ve got for you. Let’s DIY this baby now!

Find the Root of the Problem

Before you get down and dirty with your handy tools, you must try to look for the error first. Knowing what to work on will give you a head start in the process.

There could be multiple, or maybe just one problem with your recliner back. The most common reasons for a faulty chair are typical –

  • A loose nut
  • Faulty spring or coil coming off
  • The chair is leaning too far back
  • Tension spring losing its tensile strength

Now, whatever the underlying cause may be, don’t fret. You can actually DIY and fix each issue right from the comfort of your home.

Things You Might Need to Work with

Of course, you also need to come prepared if you want to cut your DIY activities short. Arming yourself with the following items will be enough for simple issues with your recliner back.

  1. A hand-towel to prevent your hands from sweating
  2. Pair of pliers
  3. Safety goggles to protect your eyes
  4. Coins (trust us, you might need ‘em)
  5. Lubricating oil

That’s all you will need to have in your inventory. Now that you know what your foundation should be like let us tackle the main issue itself – Fixing the recliner back.

Learn More About How to Fix a Recliner Chair Back Step by Step:

Step 1: Test the Waters

You should start off by sitting on the chair and leaning as far back as possible. This will allow you to note exactly where the creaking or loosening feeling comes into place.

If you can’t do it yourself (either due to height issues or strength), ask someone stronger and taller to test it out for you. All they have to do is just sit and lean.

1. Too Difficult to Push:

If pushing back feels too stiff and tough, you might have a really tight tension spring causing the issue. For this, the solution is to simply decrease it by loosening the component. We’ll be dissecting the recliner in another section below.

2. Falls Back Too Fast:

On the other hand, if the backrest falls over way too fast, you might have to increase the tensile strength instead.

Step 2: Adjust the Nuts

For this, you have to look for the knob or wheel on either side of the recliner. There is supposed to be a spring on the bottom of the component that you have to pull. This item will help you adjust the tension of the springs.

1. Increasing Tension:

To increase the tensile strength, rotate the adjustment wheel or knob in a clockwise direction. Keep doing this as long as it takes for the backrest to feel stiffer than before.

Don’t go too harsh on the knob, though, since you do not want to break the coils in the long run. This applies when you have to decrease the tensile strength as well.

2. Decreasing Tension:

On the flip side, you have to keep rotating the wheel/knob in an anti-clockwise direction if you want to decrease the strength. However, make sure to use pliers or wrap a cloth around your fingers for both steps if the wheel doesn’t budge at all. Not doing so can hurt your fingers and even cause Carpal Tunnel if the pain persists.

Tips to Remember:

Remember to carry out this process little by little at a time. You do not want to go overboard and rotate in one swift motion, as that might break the component entirely.

At the same time, it can also break the springs inside and cause more damage to the product.

For each method, keep going back up and sit on the chair to test the backrest. Do not push too hard when checking it out. Just take it slow and push back with little increments.

Step 3: Replacing the Springs Entirely

If nothing else works, you might have to turn the recliner over to check the springs themselves.

Chances are, they are probably a tad too loose or broken. In this case, you can replace them yourself. But taking them off might be a bit tricky. Go for the following methods to make the process easier –

1. Turn Chair Over and Identify Springs:

Make sure to keep the footrest attached to the chair itself when turning the recliner over. Ask for help from someone else if the product is too heavy to overturn by yourself.

Next, place your fingers on the underside of the chair. You should be able to spot two springs on both sides of the recliner. These coils will be attached to their respective frames as well.

2. Use Pliers to Remove Coils:

You can easily tell if the coils should be removed or not by the way they look. If they look old, rusty, and just wobbly, know that it is time to discard them.

For this, take your pliers and clip them onto the very end of the coil. This end will be attached to the frame we mentioned earlier. Taking it off of it should not be too difficult.

However, do put on your goggles before attempting this step since the coils will retain their tensile strength. As a result, it can jump and hit your face and eyes when using pliers.

Slowly twist the end of the spring and disconnect it from the frame. Don’t hasten through this process because you do not want to injure yourself with the high tension of the spring.

Step 4: Get New Coils

We would advise you to get high-quality tension springs for your recliner. If you are not too well-informed about such components, head to a hardware store and ask them to identify a suitable replacement.

Step 5: Stretch the New Springs

This is where those coins we mentioned above come in! Brand new springs will not be flexible at all, so you need to stretch them out beforehand.

For this, you can use two-three coins. Place them between the loops of the springs, and push them through. Try to gently pull on the very ends of the coils while the nickels do their job as well.

Your brand new coils should be well-stretched after an hour or two!

Step 6: Re-installing the Spring

You are now going to install the brand new coils back in their designated places. Just use your pliers again and hold each spring by the end. Don’t take out the coins from in-between the loops just yet.  

Place them over the frames, one end at a time, and lock it in position. As usual, do keep your goggles on the entire time you do this. You might have to pull on the second end of the coil with a bit more strength to stretch it towards the frame.

Just be really cautious while doing this, as suddenly letting go of the coil can trigger the tension.

We suggest you use adjustable pliers for this. It is even better if the tool comes with a rubber grip to hold onto since you do not want your sweaty hands to slip off.

Read Next: Tips on How to Fix a Leaning Recliner

Step 7: Remove Coins and Test Backrest Again

Once the springs are in place, you can gently remove the coins from the loops. Taking the nickels out will allow the coils to regain their usual tensile strength.

Afterward, turn the chair over again and try sitting on it to test the backrest. Push gently again, and check if it still feels too stiff or loose. However, the chances of any issues arising again will be comparatively lower this time.

Read Next: Tips on How to Replace Recliner Tension Spring

Final Words:

Now you can fix a recliner chair back, we hope you will not be wasting money on professional assistance. However, the issues we mentioned here are usually the most common and basic ones.

If more problems still arise, such as with the seat itself or the recliner back not functioning properly, do call for professional help.

The chances are that the issue runs deeper than what you can see on the surface. But other than that, fixing a recliner chair back is no hard work. We hope we have proven that to you through this article!

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