How to Adjust Your Recliner’s Tension

Aug 9, 2018 | Blog

Rest and relaxation are the cornerstones of every recliner’s function. With that said, reclining sometimes takes a group effort to do, and will not suit everyone. Reclining tension, in this case, refers to how painless the backward movement of your recliner is.

If reclining is hard to do, you will need to reduce that tension. Usually, people with smaller frames or weaker strengths will need this to make reclining easier. People with larger frames, whether taller or heavier, will appreciate this best. This is best especially if you need extra support for your back.

There are two main types of reclining systems. Either manual or electronic. Depending on the style of your chair, you may or may not be able to fix this problem. The reason is that there are some chairs, like the gliding recliner, that have a relatively limited range of motion. Due to this, reclining is more or less a fixed action. In addition, some electronic chair problems will require expert help.

Process 1

1. Invert the chair, so that the bottom faces you. Ask a friend to help as bigger recliners are hard to flip.
2. Search for the control mechanism. You should find a wingnut or thumb bolt beneath the right or left of the chair. This is usually accompanied by a small lever or winch.
3. Once you locate it, adjust slowly by rotation. About a quarter turn each attempt should do it. Then test it out and repeat if required.

Process 2

1. Flip the chair and search for the points of attachment for the springs.
2. If you find that the springs are aged, make a note of it, and buy newer springs.
3. Stretch the spring using two screwdrivers and quarters (see video below).
4. Remove the old springs using a pair of pliers. Be sure to protect your eyes, as they will be under very high tension. They can easily pop up and out into unexpected places.
5. Fix the new springs by connecting one end to the attachment point. Pull on it to attach to the other end. It is best to use adjustable locking pliers.
6. Gently remove the quarters and reposition the chair to be upright.
7. Test it. If there is no resistance still, you may need to try other springs sets.

Process 3

1. Overturn your chair.
2. You should be able to locate a wingnut or bolt on either side of the bottom. They are also called recliner tension bolts and are located towards the inside of the chair legs.
3. Depending on what you would like, either loosen or tighten.
4. Test, and repeat the process if unsatisfied.


As you can see, adjusting the tension of your recliner is not especially difficult. These three methods should help fix most recliner styles. All the same, if you find that your problem is not solved contact your recliner chair’s manufacturer for assistance.

Barry White

Chief Editor and Furniture Expert for


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