How to Fix a Recliner Mechanism – Pull-handle, Lever, or Power Button

There are many problems you can experience with a recliner. But if there’s a specific issue that could ultimately kill off the advantages of having one of these – then that’s when the reclining mechanism doesn’t work anymore.

If your chair, sofa, or loveseat doesn’t want to recline– then you’ve come to the right place. Here we’ll teach you how to fix a recliner mechanism in the best way possible.

But there are many types of reclining mechanisms out there, so we focused on the three most common: the pull-handle, the lever, and the power-switch mechanisms. 

Excited to finally start fixing your recliner to enjoy it once again? If so, then you’ll want to look at this guide…

How to Fix a Pull Handle in Recliner

When the handle of the recliner starts to malfunction, it is either starting to break, or it just broke completely. Without the pull handle, maintaining the footrest up and the backseat in the reclined position can be impossible. So you start to look for alternatives.

If you see that the pull-tab needs fixing, then you’ll have to replace it entirely. There’s no other way around. But that will very likely fix the problem once and for all – so it is the best solution by far.

Here’s a video you can follow:

Tools You’ll Need :

Steps to Take :

  1. First, you can start by making sure the recliner is closed. If the backseat is upright and the footrest is down, then you can continue. 
  2. Once you close the recliner, proceed by turning the piece upside down. The headrest(s) and armrest(s) should touch the grown and with the base facing up. Be careful if it is a big sofa or loveseat. Ask for help if needed.
  3. In the upside position, look for a screw, bolt, hardware, or mechanism that connects to the handle from the inside. Most of the time, this mechanism is located on the inside of the pull handle. Check to see if it looks broken. If it is, then you’ll need to replace it.
  4. Check the manufacturer and model number/name of your recliner. Then find a recliner handle replacement accordingly. If you can’t find the right replacement kit, then you can always get a universal piece. As a last resort, bring the recliner to a manufacturer’s shop or facility (with warranty).
  5. Continue by grabbing a screwdriver or Allen wrench to remove the bolt/screw. You should look for the right tool only once you look at the screw/bolt to remove. Get it off with care to prevent any further damage to the handle or mechanism.
  6. Once you take the bolt or screw off, proceed to remove the broken handle and the escutcheon (a protective piece or cover inside the pull-handle mechanism). Then you can install the recliner pull handle replacement.
  7. Make sure the new piece fits properly. Set it up inside the escutcheon you removed previously with care. Then screw it down accordingly. There shouldn’t be any wiggling or weird movement from the piece. 
  8. Now you can set the recliner in the upside position once again. Check that it is working correctly as it should. If it is, then you’ve fixed your pull-handle reclining mechanism correctly.

This can take from a few minutes (with the replacement at hand) to a few days to completely repair your recliner. We recommend taking a clear look at our Best Recliner Reviews to find new alternatives to your broken couch.

How to Fix a Lever in a Recliner

Another common issue is with recliner mechanism parts is when a lever is either broken or just doesn’t want to work anymore. This process is pretty similar to the pull-tab handle – but with a slightly simpler mechanism.

As the lever-reclining system tends to be simpler, the problem is almost always a lever breaking by harsh use or wear. Once the lever strips, breaks or just loosens up – then the footrest and the backseat won’t move at all when you activate it.

Inevitably, this means you’ll have to fix the piece yourself. Here we will tell you how.

Tools You’ll Need :

Steps to Take :

  1. To start, make sure you know the manufacturer and model name of your recliner. This will give you an exact idea of what type of replacement to look for. If you can’t find the right alternative, you can always use a universal piece.
  2. But before, you should make sure that the lever is broken or unusable. And for that, you should check it by turning the recliner upside down with the armrest and headrest touching the floor. 
  3. In this position, look all around the base and inside mechanism of the recliner to see where the lever goes or connects. If you don’t know if the lever is broken or just loosen, here you will make sure. Check everything accordingly. But if the lever broke and you’re assured of that, then proceed to get it off.
  4. Here, you should look for a bolt or screw in the recliner lever mechanism that connects both. Place the bolt or screw on the side for later use. If it is broken or worn off, try to find a new one of the same length and width.
  5. After getting the screw or bolt out, take the lever parts out too.  The escutcheon is almost always covering the mechanism, so you should pull it off also. You’ll have to replace it for the new one with the lever.
  6. Now just place the new escutcheon and lever on place. Use the screw or bolt again to secure the piece. Make sure it doesn’t move at all without forget. Check that it feels sturdy enough to hold constant use.
  7. Finish by returning the recliner to the upright position and check if the lever is working. If the couch starts to recline as it should, then you’ve successfully repaired the lever mechanism.

This process takes between a few minutes or hours to a few days. It all depends on how fast you can find a new lever or replacement for the broken piece. We always recommend taking recliners to their manufacturer’s shops for checking, especially if the product still has a warranty. 


How to Fix a Power Switch Panel

One of the recliner chair parts that gets damaged more easily is the switch panel on power recliners. With the constant tapping and pushing of the button, this mechanism tends to wear off in months or years and eventually stops working. 

Sometimes, the power-reclining system may work from time to time, and sometimes it may just get stuck in either reclined or upright position. 

Whatever the problem you’re facing with your power chair that’s related to the switch panel, you’ll be glad to know that there’s no other solution than to replace it.

Here’s a video that can help you:

Tools You’ll Need :

Steps to Take :

  1. Check that it is the power switch of the recliner that is indeed having the problem. For that, try to activate the system. Place your ear close to the recliner base and try to listen to any motor sound. If you hear something, it probably means it is the motor having the issue. Otherwise, it is the power switch.
  2. If the recliner doesn’t make any sound, that means the power switch is not sending any electric power-up signal to the motor. So, you’ll need to replace it.
  3. Start by disconnecting the chair or couch from the adapters, surge protectors, wall-plug, and power supply. If the recliner has a backup battery, try to disconnect it as well.
  4. Then try to place the recliner in an area with enough visibility and space to work with. You should try to move it alone. If you can’t, then ask for help.
  5. Some models have the screws and covers on the exterior to replace in the exterior. That would make the process easier, and you won’t have to look from behind the piece. Otherwise, you’ll have to place the recliner upside down.
  6. Once you have the piece of furniture in the right place to work more comfortably and effectively, you can place the piece upside down. You could need some help here too, as power recliners tend to be really heavy.
  7. Now try to look for the place where the power switch connects directly to the rest of the power recliner parts. It is typically on the right side of the recliner, close to the armrest position.
  8. It could be challenging to access this part. So you’ll need proper visibility with a head-lamp or flashlight if possible.
  9. Once you find where the power switch is located, you can proceed to take it off. Here you’ll need to get the cover/housing off first (for exterior models) by applying some pressure. Then turn the cover counter-clockwise or wherever it starts to loosen up. Take it off and proceed to unscrew.
  10. Unscrew the piece using the Phillips screwdrivers. If you can go for small, medium-sized screwdrivers, that would be ideal. Make sure you can connect the new power-switch using the same screws.
  11. First, however, disconnect the 5-prong plug that usually connects to the switch or button. This plug comes with a cable that connects to the motor of the piece and the battery (if it has any).
  12. After disconnection the 5-prong plug and cable, you’ll be able to place the new switch on place. Remember to screw the replacement correctly and make sure it doesn’t move. Then connect the 5-prong plug to it, and that’s it.
  13. You can now place the recliner in an upright position again (if you had to place it upside down). And just check if the recliner works. If it does, then you’ve successfully repaired your recliner.

If the recliner doesn’t work after replacing the power switch, it is very likely the motor’s fault. To replace the motor, here’s another guide to follow.

We always recommend taking power or electric recliners to the manufacturer’s shop for the best results. This could save you lots of time, effort, and money.


Bottom Line

Doing proper recliner chair mechanism repair is not that hard as you may think. But it can still take a lot of time and money if you aren’t sure of what to do. 

If you want to save some time, it is always better to look for expert help, especially if you can bring the couch to a manufacturer’s facility. Otherwise, you’ll have to learn how to do this by yourself.

But as you can see, learning how to fix a recliner mechanism is not as hard it seems. You just need to have the right tool and follow our guide to repair most problems with the reclining system of your recliner.

After you repair one of these for the first time, you’ll realize that it was never a hard job. And of course, you’ll feel completely glad of such deed. But of course, you’ll have to still spend some of your time, effort and money into it – so start now if you want to get the recliner working today!