How to Adjust a Recliner

How to Adjust a Recliner?

A recliner can be one of your most expensive investments, and it can be so frustrating when it starts to get uncomfortable. But the thing is, you don’t have to rush and buy a new one. Instead, you can adjust the pitch, footrest, and tension to get better comfort. 

With that being said, are you looking for ways to adjust parts of your recliner? If you own a recliner, sooner or later, you’re going to have to fix it. So the best way is to learn how to make adjustments to it so that you can rework it according to your preferred comfort. 

In this article, we’ll guide you through a detailed explanation of how to adjust a recliner so that when you face a situation, you can fix it like a pro. And since most recliners have thumbscrews and nuts, it makes it much easier to adjust effortlessly.

So without further ado, let’s get started!

How to adjust the recliner? If you’ve newly bought a recliner chair and don’t know how it works, you can follow these simple steps and learn how to operate it.

  • First thing, remove tables or other furniture pieces and make space so that it’s easier to adjust the recliner.
  • To get started, sit on the chair. 
  • You can either use a button or a lever for adjustment. Usually, the lever is placed on the right side of the chair. And you can find the controlling button can be found on the side of the chair or armrest. 
  • If a lever controls the recliner, put some pressure while leaning on the chair, raise the footrest and pull the lever to adjust it according to your desired position. Once done, release the lever to stop.
  • If buttons control the recliner, lean on the chair, lift the footrest and press the button to recline the chair according to your satisfaction. 
  • To bring the chair back to its original position, lean forward, put pressure on the footrest, and press the button or use the lever. 
  • In addition, if you need to adjust the recliner’s tension, search for the nuts or thumbscrews. It should be located don the bottom or at the back.
  • To increase the tension, rotate the screws or thumbscrews clockwise and to reduce the tension, turn them anticlockwise. 

Reading tip: best TV recliners for watching TV in 2022 in your home theater.

And that’s it. It’s pretty simple, and you don’t have to sweat to recline the chair. 

However, sometimes things can get quite complicated. As such, you might want to adjust the pitch, footrest, or the chair might not be positioned correctly, and it can cause discomfort. 

In that case, we still have a solution for all your problems. Our handy guide will guide you to adjust your recliner so that you can relax more comfortably. It’s because the best solution is to thoroughly go through and make proper adjustments if you want to get the most comfort from a recliner.

How Do You Adjust The Pitch On A Recliner?

In more understandable terms, the recliner pitch refers to the chair’s height in an upright position. Generally, if the recliner pitch is too short, your knees will be bent above the chair when sitting down. And if the recliner pitch is high, your feet will hang in between while you sit on the chair. Either way, it can cause discomfort, and you will have to adjust the recliner’s pitch as it can also cause poor sitting posture. 

Luckily, you can solve this issue yourself, and you can fix it by modifying the nuts on the back or the bottom of the chair. 

All you have to do is sit on the recliner and lean your back against the chair so that you can determine the height of the recliner and make adjustments accordingly to meet your comfort.

Here’s how you can adjust the pitch on a recliner:

  • Turn the chair upside down so that it can be easier to make essential changes. 
  • Now, look for the cam bolts. You’ll usually find them located at the center bottom of the recliner. In total, there should be four bolts—two at the back and two at the front.
  • By using a wrench, loosen the cam bolts on either side to jiggle the chair comfortably. You have to ensure that they’re loose enough, but don’t wholly loosen it as it can cause the bolt to drop out.
  • For the next step, you’ll have to remove the front bolts but keep them in a safe place as you’ll require them again to put it back.
  • This step is where you’ll adjust the pitch of the recliner. And to do this, rearrange the frame and move it up or down. You’ll usually find various settings with a set of holes to fit the bolts, and you can either increase or decrease the height. 
  • Next, after you’ve adjusted the pitch according to your preference, put the bolts back into the frame. But before you tighten them, ensure that the bolts are in the exact position on both sides.
  • Once done, use a wrench to tighten the bolts, and if the recliner is not steady, you can check the bolts and re-tighten them again. 
  • Finally, it’s time to check the recliner. Put the chair back in position, take a seat, and check. If adjusted appropriately, your feet should be touching the ground, and your knees should also bend at the right angle. 
  • If the height is proper and comfortable, the setting is done, and you can comfortably relax on your recliner. However, if the pitch is still an issue, you can repeat the process to make further adjustments.

As you can see, it’s pretty simple and easy to adjust the pitch on a recliner, and you should be able to fix it effortlessly without hiring a professional.

Note that the recliner’s pitch and tension bolts/screws are not the same, so don’t get confused. The recliner’s cam bolts can be found on the metal frame, whereas the tension bolts are placed on the spring. In addition, bear in mind that even slight readjustment on the recliner’s pitch can make a significant change.  Hence, it’s best to work with minor adjustments while working on the recliner’s pitch.

How To Adjust Recliner Tension?

Now that you know how to adjust the recliner’s pitch, it should be easy to adjust the recliner tension.

In a simple sense, recliner tension means the effortless movement of the backrest of the recliner. So if your recliner is not comfortable, you have to work on its tension to receive extra support on your back. To find out the cause, sit on your recliner, and if you find difficulty leaning backward or if it pushes back too far, you should adjust the tension. Individuals who have larger frames or are taller might have to increase the tension. But people who are petite-built will have to decrease the recliner tension for better support.

How to Adjust a Recliner

Here’s how you can adjust the recliner tension:

  • Firstly, you might need the help of a partner to work on the recliner because it can be challenging to control the recliner by yourself.
  • Invert the recliner so that the bottom of the chair is exposed, and you can work on the recliner tension. You don’t necessarily have to convert the recliner. You can also tilt it forward in an upright position. 
  • To get it started, you’ll have to search for the control mechanism. Usually, you’ll find two wing nuts or thumbscrews at the bottom—one each on both the right and left sides at the end of a bolt. 

Meanwhile, you’ll find the tension spring connected to the bolt on each side.

  • Once you locate it, rotate the thumbwheels or wing nuts depending on whether you want to increase or decrease the recliner tension. 

You should be able to do this with your bare hands, but if it requires more strength, you can use pliers instead.

  • To tighten the tension, rotate the nuts clockwise and, to loosen, turn them in a counter-clockwise direction.
  • However, ensure that the pressure is applied equally on both sides. Work in small increments by a quarter at every turn to keep them even. 
  • Now it’s time to test the recliner tension. Once the adjustments are made, put the chair back in its original position and sit on the recliner to check the recliner tension. 
  • If you feel that the recliner tension has been adjusted appropriately, the problem is solved. However, if it requires more modification, you can repeat the process to meet your needs.

This step, too, is pretty simple. All you have to do is make a few adjustments to get the most comfort from a recliner. 

How To Replace The Tension Spring On A Recliner?

With time and age, even a recliner can develop some issues, which demand to be fixed. If you notice or detect the recliner tension spring producing strange sounds, then without a doubt, you should replace it. It would be best to get it fixed soon to prevent further damage as it can cost you a lot. 

Similar to the simple to follow steps like most recliner adjustments which can be done all by yourself, replacing the spring is another streamlined task that you can conveniently do on your own.

Here’s how you can change the tension spring on a recliner:

  • For the first step, flip the chair upside down and remove the upholstery padding.
  • Now, locate the points of attachment for the springs and loosen them using a wrench. But before you do that, take a look on both sides to know where the springs attach. 
  • To remove the old springs, use a plier but don’t hold it with your bare hands because the spring will be under high tension. Wear a glove and use safety goggles as the spring can easily pop up. 
  • To replace the tension spring, ensure that you purchase a compatible one from the manufacturer or parts dealers. 
  • Before installing the new spring, stretch it a bit by gently pulling each end of the spring.
  • Once done, install the new spring using a plier to connect one end to the other. However, you have to be careful as it can cause harm while working with springs under tension. 
  • Install the top part first and then attach the second one.
  • After changing the springs, ensure that the springs are tightly held.
  • Now, to check if the spring works appropriately, turn the recliner to its original position. Take a seat and lean to test the mechanism. 
  • If it works properly, rest assured you can re-attach the upholstery, and your hard work has paid off. However, if there is no resistance, you might need to work again with another spring. 

Finally, you can discard the old spring, and the new spring will probably last for some good years.

When the tension spring gets damaged, until you replace it, it’s not usable. People unaware of DIY recliner adjustments might toss it off in such cases, but that’s not a wise decision. Instead, try to find solutions on the internet as your last resort, and you can find a solution. 

Luckily for you, we have provided you with all the simple steps on how to replace the tension spring on a recliner which you can quickly fix yourself without having to call for professional help. 

Read later: 5 best Ashley recliner chairs of 2022.

How To Adjust Recliner Footrest?

One main reason why you purchase a recliner is that you can easily lift the footrest and relax. And though recliners are designed to last, the springs or joints can eventually wear out over time, or a few problems can arise during their lifetime.

The spring failure on a recliner’s footrest is also one of the most common problems that occur, and the cause is usually the pullout feature. In this case, the footrest gets stuck in an upright position or fails to kick out. Either way, all you have to do is use simple techniques to adjust the footrest and set it right. 

Of course, learning how to adjust the recliner footrest can come in handy, and they’re also easy to fix.

Footrests are reinforced with adjustable tension that supports the mechanism. So when the recliner tension becomes shaky, the footrest will fail to hold up the legs, and it will sag or collapse. To work with this problem, you’ll have to adjust the tension by working on the footrest mechanism.

Here’s how you can adjust a recliner footrest:

  • The first thing you have to do is lie the recliner in a comfortable position so that it’s easier for you to work on it.
  • Lie the recliner on the side to expose the underside while its weight rests on the armrest to make it easier for you to fix the issue. 
  • Next, you have to look for the springs on the footrest on each side. You’ll find the springs attached to a bearing with holes. 
  • To fix the problem, increase the tension of the footrest by moving the spring up to one hole. 
  • As you fix the tension, ensure that you use a hook to pull the spring rather than using bare hands. Since the spring will be under pressure, it can snap and cause harm.
  • Now, to test the tension, sit on your recliner and see if the adjustments worked fine. If the footrest can hold up correctly, you’ve fixed the issue. However, if it’s still loose, you can adjust the tension spring again.
  • But if the footrest is too firm and you find it difficult to fold it back, you will have to decrease the tension. 
  • To do this, repeat the same process and move the springs back to one hole. 

By following these steps, you should control the footrest without any problem, and you can now close the recliner with ease.

Sometimes various reasons cause the footrest to stop working. If you slam the footrest down too hard often, it can put immense stress on the mechanisms and can stop working. To prevent such problems, always be careful when closing the footrest. Prevent from pulling or closing too quickly. 

Or also, with age, even a recliner will start showing signs of wear and tear, and some parts can become loose. In that case, you can look for any loose screws and replace them. 

How To Check For Loose Screws On A Recliner Footrest?

The process is pretty simple. All you have to do is turn over the recliner to the side and stretch the footrest. By doing this, you can easily see the mechanisms that function the footrest at the bottom. Take a look and see if any screws are loose or missing. Often, even old screws can cause the footrest to sag. If you find any worn-out or loose screws, you can either replace or tighten them. 

A recliner that’s in good condition should be able to move the footrest up and down smoothly. But if it gets stuck in between, you’ll have to remove the parts and lubricate them. Generously apply the lubricant on the screws and remove any excess oil before you replace them. Once this process is done, you should be able to move the footrest smoothly in any position. 

How To Replace The Recliner Footrest Spring?

A recliner footrest spring can become loose from time to time. The reason can be due to breakage or rust, and even if a single spring gets damaged, it’s best to replace it on both sides because the mechanism will not provide equal support when you lie down. 

To begin the process, you will require new springs. Luckily, you can easily find the springs in any hardware store, or you can also call the manufacturer for help. It’s recommended that you purchase the exact pair for replacement.

So here’s a quick solution on how to replace the recliner footrest spring: 

  • Turn the chair upside down so that you can efficiently work on the mechanism.
  • Now, by using a torch, look for bolts that connect the springs on both sides. 
  • Using a wrench, remove the bolts to loosen the springs attached to the recliner. And by using a hook, you can carefully remove the spring. However, you have to be careful to avoid any harm. 
  • You have to remember the exact process as you’ll be fixing them in reverse order.
  • Now, you can take out the new spring and attach them to the same holes. Ensure that you secure the springs and bolts nice and tight.
  • Once the process is done, you can pull the recliner back into its original position, and the footrest should work fine.

So this is how you replace the footrest spring on a recliner, and the process is easy. In case you have to move the recliner, use a furniture slider for better protection. In addition, to avoid any spring damage ensure that you don’t place heavy objects on top of the chair.

How To Adjust Lazy Boy Recliner?

Since knowing how to adjust a recliner is equally important as owning one, in this section, we’ll guide you on how to fix a lazy boy recliner. 

You should appropriately adjust the recliner to match your body’s weight to receive optimal support. But this doesn’t happen often, and so adjustments have to be made according to your preference. Every bodyweight requires different pressure. Similarly, if your lazy boy recliner’s backrest leans back freely or if it’s too stiff, you’ll have to adjust the tension springs to make it more comfortable. 

One advantage is that you can adjust the backrest to your desired comfort. You don’t have to call for professional help. Simply following our step-by-step solution can enable you to fix your lazy boy recliner at home.

Here’s how you can adjust the lazy boy recliner:

  • The first step is to tilt the chair so that you can access the bottom of the recliner.
  • Now, look underneath, and you’ll be able to find a pair of wing nuts on tension springs on each side of the recliner. They are easy to identify.
  • You’ll have to adjust the tension spring for the next step, whether you want to loosen or tighten it. This process is simple. The screws on the recliner are similar to regular screws, and working on them is as simple as tightening or loosening a screw. 
  • If you want to tighten the tension spring, rotate the screw to the right, and this should make the wing nut tighter, and the backrest will be harder to push back.
  • Similarly, if you wish to loosen the tension spring, rotate the screw to the left. Doing this should make it easier for you to lean on the backrest of your recliner. 
  • You should also remember that to achieve the perfect balance on both sides; it’s best to turn the nuts in half-turn and check if the setting is satisfactory. Plus, you have to adjust the tension on each side equally.
  • To make sure that the tension spring works right, test the recliner after each turn and see if it works for you comfortably. And if not, you can flip the chair again and adjust the screws. 
  • You can repeat the process till you find the proper comfort. 

As a rule of thumb, when working on the recliner tension spring, never loosen or tighten the screws fully as it can damage the spring. But instead, work in small increments and ensure that the spring does not move, but it should also not be entirely pressed. Lastly, for maximum comfort, ensure that the recliner tension is adjusted to meet your convenience.  

How To Adjust Lazy Boy Recliner Footrest?

Lazy boy recliners are top-notch quality products, but this does not mean they’ll always be in good shape. Because one day or the other, you’ll face some common problems that you’ll have to fix. 

However, when it comes to recliner footrest, it can either be because it’s too stiff or there’s too much movement. Also, the lazy boy recliners can vary from model to model, and you’ll either find thumbwheels or wingnuts on its mechanism. By working on these screws, you can control the recliner’s footrest and adjust them accordingly.

To start working with it, you’ll have to follow the same procedure, i.e., to flip the recliner so the bottom is visible and you can conveniently work on it. Now, all you have to do is look for the screws at the back or center to adjust the screws. Once you see the screws, you can turn it clockwise to tighten the screws and if you wish to loosen, rotate it counter-clockwise. Always remember to turn them by a quarter equally on both sides, as mentioned previously. By using these simple tips, you’ll be able to adjust the recliner footrest and repeat the process if necessary.

How To Fix Lazy Boy Recliner Footrest?

If you notice that your lazy boy recliner footrest doesn’t move or has stuck and is unresponsive, it’s because of stiff joints. To fix this problem, turn your recliner on the side so that you can have a better view at the proper angle. Or, if the room is not bright enough, you might need a torch so that you can have a look properly. 

You will require a WD-40 spray to apply to the recliner’s internal mechanism to start this process. Loosen the screws that support the recliner’s footrest but don’t remove them. Now, to lubricate the parts, cover the floor with rags or newspapers to avoid any mess in the room. Once done, you can take the lubricant spray and apply it to all the frame parts where the metal bends, such as the bolts, springs, screws, etc., to ensure that it loosens any stiff parts. After this step, you can flip the recliner back and pull the lever to see if it works. Usually, applying a lubricant should do the trick. However, if it still requires some adjustments, you can use oil on all the joints. It should now be able to move smoothly without any problem. 


This guide has gone through almost every issue that occurs with recliners, and in case you face any such problems, you should be able to fix them comfortably at home.

About Karen Miller

As an interior designer, I believe that living spaces should be welcoming and comfortable. When you walk into your home or office for the first time after it's been remodeled by me - all of those efforts are paid off with a sense of comfort in knowing how much care went into making sure every detail was attended too!

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