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How to Fix a Recliner Footrest (With Tips&Tricks)

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a recliner with its footrest partially extended

Even though most recliners are designed to last, mechanical springs and joints can wear out with time. Usually, the first part to go is a recliner’s footrest. So, naturally, learning how to fix a recliner footrest is the way to go. But, where do you start?

When something goes wrong with a footrest, it’s usually a problem with the pullout feature. The footrests either don’t kick out or stay locked in the upright position. Luckily, footrests also use simple mechanisms and are generally easy to set right.

A recliner chair with the footrest in extended position

Table of Contents

How do you fix a sagging recliner footrest?

If the footrest of your recliner suddenly begins to sag, it results in poor weight support for your legs. Eventually, it stops working properly as a whole.

To fix your recliner footrest, you will first need to set up your recliner so it’s ready for maintenance. For this job, you will need a multi-purpose screwdriver and a set of new matching screws or bolts.

  1. The first step is to prepare the recliner. Flip the chair on its side, positioning the entire unit with the headrest and armrests touching the floor so that the bottom is now accessible. Now you can work with the mechanism easily
  2. Find the screws that secure the footrest to the main mechanism of the recliner. They are normally found on either side of the metal rails extending from the main framework. If the screws are still in good condition but have come loose, use the screwdriver or wrench to tighten them. This will restore them to the previous firmness of the footrest.
  3. If the screws are no longer gripping, your best bet would be to replace each screw with a new one. This time, choose screws that are a little bit longer than the ones you are replacing. Longer screws provide more structural support and keep the footrest firmly secured to the frame.
  4. Additionally, you may also want to swap the screws on the footrest brackets to ensure the entire contraption lasts longer.
  5. After you’ve tightened each screw, push the footrest to see if there is any wobble or sagging. If all is clear, put the recliner in its upright position.

But what if the problem isn’t old or loose screws? Well, another explanation for a sagging footrest might be that the mechanism simply gets stuck. When bearings and brackets become stuck, there are a few possible causes for that. This includes the early onset of rust, simple mechanical slippage, or gluing over time as a result of accidental spillages.

A bit of lube can go a long way

If you find your recliner footrest stuck and sagging in that setting, no need to panic just yet. The easiest way to solve this problem is by applying a lubricant to the problematic areas of the pullout mechanism. This type of issue is even easier to solve.

  1. Again, you will first need to turn the recliner just so, exposing the underside for easy maintenance.
  2. Once the chair is in position, protect the cushions with a size-appropriate piece of plastic or any other soil-repellent material. This ensures that the upholstery won’t get stained by the lubricant.
  3. Now find the pullout mechanism and locate the screws that hold the entire footrest to the frame. These can be spotted at the base of the footrest.
  4. Loosen the screws but don’t pull them out of the frame.
  5. Apply the lubricant of your choice to every moving and supporting part of the frame. You may want to use lubricant spray since it’s much easier to apply to the recliner’s intricate support mechanism. Be careful while coating every screw point, joint, and bearing rail with the spray and do it generously.
  6. Wait for the lubricant to set in and then turn the recliner into its original position. The gravity should do the rest of the job by spreading the lubricant deep within the framework.

So you’ve got your footrest tightened and lubricated, but the root of the problem seems to lie somewhere else entirely. This might mean that the footrest needs some working out, meaning that you will have to detach the framework of the footrest from the rest of the recliner mechanism and test the footrest manually. If it doesn’t work as it should, the problem could be in the faulty release spring which you will need to change for a new one.

A red leather recliner with the footrest extended

How do you adjust a footrest on a recliner?

Recliner footrests are mounted on mechanisms with adjustable tension, no matter if it’s a cuddler, massaging, or a sleeping recliner. The tension refers to the force at which the mechanism holds the footrest in the fully pulled out position. When the tension is too weak, your recliner footrest will sag and droop, failing to properly support your legs. To fix this issue, you will need to adjust the tension manually by working directly with the footrest mechanism.

  1. First, you need to position the recliner on its side to give yourself access to the underside of the footrest.
  2. Locate the springs that regulate the footrest tension on each side of the footrest frame.
  3. Each spring is hooked into a bearing with holes, and each hole corresponds to a tension level. To increase the tension of your footrest, move the spring back one hole. Use a tool to adjust each spring, like a pulling hook. Avoid using your bare hands since the release of pressure can snap the mechanism and damage your fingers.
  4. Test the tension of the footrest while sitting in the recliner. And if the new adjustment works, leave it be. If it’s still too loose, keep adjusting the tension and testing each position until you reach the mark.
  5. If the footrest feels too firm and you can’t fold it back from your sitting position, you might need to decrease the tension. Repeat earlier steps but instead of moving both springs back one hole, hook them onto one or several positions forward.
  6. Test the new adjustment: if the footrest doesn’t sag but you can now close it with ease, then you’ve reached the golden ratio.

How do you replace a recliner footrest spring?

If the springs that control the footrest mechanism are no longer able to handle their job, it is time to replace them. Even if only one spring is faulty, it is best to replace both with a matching set to ensure the equal quality of support on both sides of the footrest.

Of course, you will first need to buy new springs. Usually, you can find them easily in any dedicated hardware store. It’s best to buy the same type of springs that are the exact match for the mechanism of your recliner. If you are unsure what type of springs you need, seek assistance at the local hardware store. Showing them the model of your recliner and even a picture of the old springs should be enough.

Once you’ve got your new springs and a pulling hook ready, tip your recliner on its side to access the footrest mechanism. Use the hook to carefully pull both sides of a spring from the upper and lower holes to which it’s connected. Remember to unhook both springs, but do it with care to avoid hurting yourself. It is also best to replace old springs one at a time since it’s important to have some remaining tension in the frame.

Get your new springs and attach them to the same holes, each spring hook going into the upper hole and lower hole, one after the other. When you are sure the springs are properly secured, turn the recliner upright and test the pullout mechanism. If the footrest kicks out just fine, test the tension by propping your feet up and adjusting the settings if needed.

A recliner with the footrest in full extension

How to close the footrest on a recliner?

Most recliners have a manual kickback mechanism designed for an easy retraction of the footrest. When you set the backrest of your chair upright, simply press down onto the footrest until it folds back under the seat.

Depending on the tension of the springs, it might require either more or less power to push the footrest back down. If the spring tension is strong, you will have to push back with considerable force. If, however, the tension is weak, it won’t take a lot of effort to close the footrest and a simple nudge of your legs would do.

How to fix a La-Z-Boy power recliner footrest?

It’s common knowledge that Lazyboy recliners are powerful and ultra-comfortable furniture pieces that don’t experience malfunctions very often. However, any mechanism can go faulty after prolonged use, and Lazyboy recliner footrests are no exception. Fortunately, it is fairly easy to find spare parts for Lazyboy power recliners and just as easy to fix them on your own.

If one day you pull a lever on your Lazyboy recliner, expecting it to kick up the footrest and lock it in the upright setting but instead getting a stuck and unresponsive mechanism, you might need to inspect the entire frame on the underside of the chair.

Depending on the issue behind the malfunction, you may need different sets of tools. It’s best to prepare a screwdriver, a wrench, spare screws, new springs, and a lubricant. However, for this simple job, you will need only a screwdriver and WD40 lubricant.

  1. Position your Lazyboy recliner on its side so you can work with the footrest mechanism at a better angle.
  2. Loosen but don’t remove the screws that hold the footrest frame to the chair.
  3. Cover the floor under the recliner as well as the chair’s cushions with rags to protect fabric and carpet from the dripping lubricant.
  4. Take a can of WD40 spray and apply it to all functional parts of the frame. Spray the lubricant over screws, joints, bolts, springs, bearings, and the trigger mechanism.
  5. Pull the lever to check if the mechanism works. Normally some good lubrication will release any stuck parts.
  6. The frame still needs some final touches which you can do by applying 3-in-One oil to all moving joints. Remove any excess oil from the bearings with a spare rag.
  7. Set the recliner upright and try the footrest again—it should work effortlessly at this point.

How to adjust La-Z Boy recliner footrest?

While Lazyboy recliners are different from model to model, all of them almost uniformly use either wingnuts or thumbwheels to secure the footrest to the rest of the frame. These types of screws let you control the tension of the footrest with more precision.

To adjust the tension into your preferred setting, you will need to close the footrest and flip the recliner on its side or backrest—whichever is more convenient for you to work on the mechanism at the bottom of the chair.

On the footrest mechanism, you will find a pair of screws towards the back or closer to the center of the recliner. Both types of screws are easily adjustable, and you will need to follow the same method to do it.

If your footrest is too loose, you will probably do with an increase in tension. To accomplish this, use your matching tool to tighten the screws by turning the heads clockwise. Turn each screw only by a quarter on both sides of the footrest to better control the adjustment.

To do the opposite, you will quite naturally need to turn the screws counter-clockwise. Footrests that are too firm need to lose some tension. By loosening the screws by a quarter will just about do the job.

Always pay attention to how much you tighten or loosen the screws – the increase or decrease in tension should be equal on both sides. As mentioned before, it’s easier to adjust the tension by quarter and test the chair in the upright position after each quarter adjustment.

Another important thing to monitor is how far you are going with adjusting your thumbwheels and wingnuts. It’s best to avoid tightening or loosening the screws since going into such extremes may impair tension springs.

Recliner Footrest Repair Parts

One of the most common issues that can be easy to fix yourself is the sagging footrest. But what kind of parts or tools would you need to conduct a DIY repair job on your footrest?

To find the replacement parts you need, you first need to find the ID tag of your recliner. When contacting your manufacturer, supply the ID tag and the repair parts you need for your footrest.

Commonly replaced footrest repair parts include tension springs (such as double long neck springs with rubber hooks or wide rubber-coated hooks). Some models also require specific screws such as thumbwheels or wingnuts which can also be easily found either in hardware stores or through the manufacturer.

Can a broken recliner be fixed?

Depending on the manner of malfunction, a recliner can be fixed at home with simple tools and a lot of determination. For example, you can easily replace worn-down parts such as tension springs, screws, bolts, and even rocking legs. Various issues with the reclining and footrest mechanisms can also be fixed on your own, namely rusty joints and loose screws.

Of course, more serious structural damage isn’t so easy to handle at home. If the frame of your recliner has sustained irreparable damage, you might have to either replace the entire mechanism at the repair shop or buy a new recliner.

A pair of feet resting on a recliner footrest

In Conculsion

And there we go – learning how to fix a recliner footrest isn’t exactly rocket science. However, it does require a bit of patience and some elbow grease. We think that fixing your furniture is always worth (at least) a try. Not only will you go back to enjoying your recliner – you also get to learn a lot of useful things while you repair it. After all, if the whole process becomes too much for you, you can always call a professional.

At The Home Dweller, we bring you all the essentials on a wide variety of homestead topics. So, if you think someone needs help, feel free to send them this article and help them fix their good old recliner ASAP!

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