How To Fix A Recliner That Won’t Close

time, making it can’t function properly. A common problem in a recliner is that it can’t close or can’t stay closed.

Instead of hiring a Pro, you can save a lot by fixing it on your own. It is not something too complicated to do, and we will guide you on how to fix a recliner that won’t close step by step in this post.

Possible reasons why your recliner won’t close

Before getting into the repair process, you should understand how the recliner works. It helps you to know where are the possible places that cause the problems.

Understand the latch mechanism

When you pull the handle on the side of a recliner, the cable connected with the handle will pull the lever inside the mechanism on the other end. When the lever has been pushed down, it will release the footrest, and the footrest will start to extend. 

This is how a manual recliner works, and whenever you want to close the chair, you should reverse this process.

There is a great video to check if you want to know more about the mechanism.

You may need to fix these parts

So, all the parts related to this process may play a role in making the chair can’t close or stay closed. These problems often include:

  • Pool lubrication. If the components are short of oil, they are easy to get stuck, making the footrest stay in the reclining position. 
  • Loose screws and bolts. Bolts and screws can wear and tear. These loosened parts could lead to the malfunction of the latch mechanism, causing the rails and frames can’t be closed by your feet.
  • Cable release issue. When the cable or the pull handle is broken suddenly, it loses control of the inside lever, and the lever is responsible for making the footrest stay closed.
  • An unbalanced bar. There is a bar located between each receiver. If it is out of alignment, the receiver can’t work simultaneously, making the footrest unable to close.
  • Loose internal springs. When the springs are worn out, they can’t provide enough tension or lose tension to keep the footrest in place.
  • Worn electric wiring. Electric wiring is something susceptible to damage and failure. If it is not functioning, the open footrest can’t go back to the closed position.
  • Burned motors. The motor is the most critical part of an electric recliner. The burned motor could cause the chair to stop working altogether.
  • Too much padding. The chair can’t stay closed when too much padding around the footrest, making the mechanism can’t work correctly.

Tools and materials you need

We have mentioned a few problems that may cause the chair can’t close. To fix them, you have to prepare a set of tools. We will enumerate them below:

  • Small wrenches
  • File
  • Screwdriver
  • Rags or other cloth
  • Lubricating oil
  • New springs, screws, and bolts

These tools will be used in the repair procedures below.

Fixing a recliner that is too hard to close

Method 1: Fix poor lubrication and loose components

  • Move the recliner chair to a spacious place.
  • Put the chair upside down and use rags to cover the upholstery to prevent oil stains.
  • Use the wrenches and screwdrivers to tighten every bolt and screw that may cause issues. If you find any rusty parts, you can replace them with a new ones.
  • You can spray all the moving parts, bolts, and screws with lubricating oil or use a cloth to dab the oil into each part. Don’t apply too much to it, which may turn out to be a mess.
  • Wait a few minutes to let the oil set.
  • Use another rag or microfiber cloth to clean up the excess oil.
  • Turn the chair back and test it again.

This process is very straightforward and could solve most problems that cause the chair don’t close.                                                                                                                

Method 2: Fix broken wires, pull handle, and springs.

  • Go to the local hardware store to buy a pull handle or spring. You should figure out the details about these parts to get the right ones that are compatible with your recliner. The best bet is to consult the manufacturer or read the info on the instruction.
  • Flip over the chair so that you can access the recliner mechanism easier. 
  • Cover the upholstery with rags or plastic cloths.
  • If it is a power recliner, check if there are any broken wires and reconnect them with an electric tape. 
  • If it is a manual recliner, check the conditions of the pull handle and cable. If it doesn’t work, replace it.
  • Sometimes, it could be the problem of internal springs under the internal lever. If it is the case, turn the recliner on the side.
  • Locate the spring and identify the “L” rod that is connected to the lever.
  • If there is any burr on the metal lever, use the file to remove it slowly and snap the “L” rod into space.
  • Spray some lubricating oil on the parts and rails to prevent rust.
  • Let the oil set and turn the chair back.

If you find the motor is dead, please get help from the manufacturer or seller. Note that replacing a motor could cost more than buying a new recliner sometimes.

How to avoid it happening again?

It could be annoying if your chair can’t lock in place from time to time. Luckily, you could avoid it in the furniture with a few simple steps.

Please don’t throw all your weight on the chair at once and don’t pull the handle too hard. 

Remember to apply some lubricating oil to the mechanism every half a year. In the meantime, don’t forget to fasten all the bolts and screws.

Check the conditions of internal wires a few times a year and clean up the dust underneath.

Bottom line

We shared a few methods to help you fix a recliner that won’t close in this post. We also explained why the issue will occur. 

More often than not,  a bottle of lubricating oil or a new screw could get the job done well. So, start to find the tools and you can fix it tonight!

Photo of author
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.