Electric Recliner Repair: What To Do When A Power Recliner Is Not Working

Compared to manual recliners, electric recliners can save effort while operating and would achieve more reclining positions. Some models even come with heat and massage functions.

However, electric recliners are more prone to break down. Have no idea about how to fix a power recliner? 

We provide a complete guide about electric recliner repair and teach you what to do when a power recliner is not working.

Most issues can be fixed without much effort, and you will save a bunch of money by following the tips in this post.

Common issues with power recliners

The first step of repairing an electric recliner is to identify what causes the malfunction. You may assume the issues are complicated, but some can be fixed within a few minutes. Let’s look at the most frequently mentioned problems with power recliners.

This is the most manageable issue to deal with, but it could take you a lot of time if you ignore it.

Unworking outlet

non working outlet
nonworking outlet

Sometimes, the reason why your loved recliner is not working is not due to the chair itself. The outlet can break down as well.

Unplug the recliner and plug in an electric gadget in good condition to see whether the outlet is working. If yes, you can continue to check other problems. If not, the only thing you need to do is fix your outlet.

Loose power plugs and wires

The connections between the outlet and motor could be loosened from time to time. It may be due to the improper use of the chair. It may be caused by the recent transportation from the living room to the bedroom. 

The power recliner chair may fail to work entirely or still can work occasionally. At first, you can check the connection between the outlet and the chair. If it is not the base, unplug the chair, keep the footrest open and flip over the chair.

When you look at the recliner mechanism, check all the connections around the motors. Reconnect the plugs and wires and use a pin or clamp to fasten them.

Broken wires

With time, internal wires can wear out. Misuse can also cut off the wires. If the chair stops working suddenly with sparks or strange sounds, one or more wires are likely broken.

Don’t be agitated! Fixing a broken wire of the electric recliner is a piece of cake. Be sure to have the electricity off and then flip over the chair. Fine the broken wire and reconnect it with electrical tape. 

To prevent possible damage later, use fasteners to secure the wires on the frame so that the wires will not be touched while reclining or lifting.

Power Surges

Power surges are something you can’t avoid basically, and they may cause severe problems to a power recliner. Usually, it could cause the transformer or even the motor to die. 

Motors are costly, and luckily, in most cases, the broken part would be the transformer. If you find the green light on the motor is not working anymore, it is highly possible that you need to replace it with a new one.

Unfortunately, if you can find visible damage on the motor, it is time to get a new motor. We all know that recliner motors are pricey. Sometimes it is even more expensive than a brand new recliner.  Therefore, it is better to ask for the price and decide if you want to continue the repair.

Remote controls

If the remote control breaks, the whole chair will stop working. You may check every part of the recliner and find nothing wrong. Then the culprit may be the remote control. 

Contact the manufacturer and dealer to buy the replacement and hire a pro to do it for you if you are not sure about it.

Other electric parts

The multifunctional recliner chair has more electric parts. For example, the massage or heat feature doesn’t work, but the chair can still recline and lift. If you are keen on these functions, the solution is to replace the related elements. However, always remember to compare the prices as buying a new chair could be a more sensible idea in some cases. 

How to troubleshoot and fix an electric recliner chair

We mentioned a few causes of a broken electric recliner, now let’s start to troubleshoot them.

Use the electric recliner reset button

Whenever there is a problem with a power recliner,  using the reset button is a good option. You may think the chair is dead, but the reset button can recover the chair immediately. Anything like overload or power surge can stop the recliner motor functioning and can be reset more often than not.

The simplest way to reset a chair is to unplug the recliner and plug it in after a few minutes. If it doesn’t work, you will need to push the reset button.

Where is the reset button? Some models have a button located on the motor, and the others have a button on the remote. The button on the remote is between the open and close buttons. 

The reset buttons are tiny so that you need to use a paperclip end or other sharp objects to push it. 

Electric recliner stuck in an open position

Electric recliner stuck in an open position
Electric recliner stuck in an open position

When the chair is stuck in an open position, the first step is to check if the outlet is working and the plug is connected firmly.

As we said before, you can start to reset the recliner. If this can’t fix the issue, the problem is likely related to wirings. 

Remember to unplug the chair and flip it over. Examine the conditions of wires and tight up the loosen ones. If there is any cut-off, wrap the ends with electrical tapes. Fasten all the wires to the frame to avoid unnecessary tear and wear if applicable.

For those who find these methods are not helpful, the issue could be in the motor, transformer, or even the remote control.

The chair can’t open or close

If the recliner can’t open or close, but you still can hear the sounds of the motor, the reason may be the stiff of the related parts. 

To fix this recliner issue is easy peasy. Put the chair upside down and apply a lubricant to the screws, rails, and joints. We often employ this method while fixing a recliner footrest.

Once it is done, the chair should be working smoothly. 

The power recliner doesn’t move smoothly

The main reason for this recliner issue is the intermittent power supply. It may be due to the loose connection between the outlet and wires. So the first step is to tighten the connections.

The tear of wires can also play a role. Therefore, to check the conditions of wires and repair or replace wires may fix it as well. 

Occasionally, the problem is with the mechanism and frame. The bent frame would interrupt the movement. To fix it, you will likely replace it with a new part.

Hire a pro

Fixing a power recliner is not always easy. If you encounter some complicated problem, the best way is to ask for help from a manufacturer or a dealer. They know the chair and if the chair has a warranty, you can get the repairment services for free.

Buy original parts

Some brands such as la-z-boy or Ashley furniture don’t use universal parts and you should buy the original products to ensure they will be compatible with the chair. 

Some parts you get from somewhere else could work but will shorten the lifespan of the chair. So you will likely end up costing more money. 

It would help if you had a surge protector

surge power protector
Surge power protector

We have mentioned that the power surges could break an electric recliner chair even the chair has a transformer embedded. 

In order to avoid it, you could buy a surge protector. Therefore, the chair could get stable power supply. You know, how expensive the motor is, right?

Sum up

In this post, we showed you why the electric recliner is not working and how to repair it. Some issues could be fixed in a few seconds but some could be a hard thing to do.

The loosen connections and the disconnection of wires are often the culprit and easy to repair. However, the broken motor also cause the malfunction of the chair.

If you are not sure about the procedure, always get help from an expert. If the chair has served you for years and the repairment could cost a lot, buying a new product would a better solution.

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Rachelle is the founder of Best Chair Finder. She is a fanatic of home improvement, and as an engineer, she knows well about each chair's mechanism. You can find her story on the About page.