How to Fix Your Recliner Footrest in 4 Easy Steps

Your recliner is much more than just another piece of furniture in the house. It is the place you go to relax after a long day of work. It is the place where you can take a quick nap, watch TV, snuggle and read a book. It is your one, all around, comfortable place in the house. But what do you do if something goes wrong, if it becomes damaged from over-use? You can’t just toss it away because something happened to the footrest.

It is disheartening but there is something you can do about it. Read on to find out how you can fix the recliner footrest and use your one comfortable place once again.

The Cause of the Broken Footrest

Before we go into the different ways of fixing the footrest, you should first figure out why it stopped working in the first place. Knowing what can go wrong with a footrest can help prevent it from breaking again once you fix it. So let’s start by getting to know the cause of the problem.

Slamming the Footrest down

Did you slam the footrest down too hard or once too often. Often this is the cause of a footrest break. Slamming the footrest down all the time places a huge amount of stress on the footrest mechanisms. Sooner than later, the machine stops working and stays in the last position you left it in.

So even when you have a brand new recliner you should be careful when closing the footrest. Slamming it down or pulling it up too quickly can damage the footrest functionality.

An Old recliner

Like everything else, a recliner will age. Parts will become loose, especially if you or someone else in the family assembled the recliner. Screws can become loose, so be sure to look around for loose or worn out screws. On older recliners, you might even want to consider replacing older screws.

Rust on The Mechanism

Consider the area where you live. Is the weather humid? Could dust and dirt be affecting the mechanism of the recliner?

In this case, a good idea may be to turn the chair on its side.

Wipeout any dust you see and spray some lubricant on the working parts. Try to move the footrest up and down to see if this is the problem.

Steps To Follow To Fix Your Recliner

First Check the Warranty

Ok. So you have checked all the basics, and nothing works. Let’s see how you can fix the problem. Before you start repairing, be sure to check the documents that came with the recliner. If your recliner has a warranty, you want to contact the manufacturer or the retailer to fix it. Know that if you tamper with a recliner’s mechanism still under warranty, you will invalidate the warranty.

Check for Loose Screws

Flip the recliner over on its side and stretch out the footrest to its fully open position. You should see all of the mechanism that moves the footrest. It is placed under the recliner. The mechanism is held together with screws. Check to see if any are missing or if the screws seem worn and loose.

Replace any screws that are worn and stripped. Lubricate the screws and tighten everything up. When replacing screws, use longer ones to ensure they fasten the parts together well. Make sure you fit them snuggly to the sockets. Clean and lubricate all moving parts.

Check to see if the footrest works. This may fix the problem for you.

Check For Smooth Up and Down Movement

A recliner that works well should have a smooth up and down motion. If it gets stuck in specific areas, you need to take a look and see if a lack of lubrication doesn’t cause it. If this is the situation. Lift the footrest to its upper position. Flip the recliner over and move any fabric out of the way.

Remove the screws holding the wood frame to the mechanism and spray lubricant into the sockets and on all joints. Make sure you get the lubricant onto all the screws before you replace them. Remove any excess oil after you reassemble the mechanism.

Once you have cleaned the recliner’s entire underside, flip the recliner back to its upright position and move the footrest up and down a few times to disperse the lubricant throughout the mechanism. Your footrest should now move smoothly into position.

Here is an example video where you can watch the repair process:

Adjusting the Mechanism

A recliner needs to move into its different positions without hanging or sticking. If it sticks somewhere in the middle, you may need to adjust the mechanism. Flip over the recliner so you can see the underside and the mechanism that makes the footrest work.

This is a ratchet type of mechanism. Loosen all the screws, pins and springs to access the ratchet.

You’ll notice that there is a bar attached to the ratchet. You want to remove this. Once you remove the ratchet, you can see that the footrest moves up and down freely. It just doesn’t stay in one place. This indicates that the ratchet is the problem, and you need to replace it with a new one. Once you purchase a new rachet, replace all parts in the reverse order of the way you disassembled.

Where to Get the Parts?

Ok, so now you know how to fix the recliner, but now you wonder where to get the replacement parts. This can certainly be a problem, especially if your recliner is older. There are a couple of things you can do in this case. First, you want to check and see if you still have the documentation for your recliner. Review the information to look for the manufacturer.

Often there is a phone number and address there so you can contact them. Ask about replacement parts. If the manufacturer sells the replacement parts, you can ask them to send the parts to you by mail. An alternative to contacting the manufacturer is to look for generic OEM replacement parts. You can often find replacement screws and parts online.


If you are repairing a favorite recliner, you should keep in mind that this is a furniture piece that is getting older. You want to perform basic cleaning and lubricating of all parts more frequently now to ensure the recliner continues to work for a longer period of time.

At some point in time, you also want to consider replacing the recliner with a new one. Remember, you can only keep the recliner working for a certain number of years. Sometimes replacing a recliner is the best option to getting the functionality you want.

If you decide to replace the recliner, you can check the list of the best recliners for your needs.