How to Fix a Recliner Footrest

by | Feb 25, 2019 | Blog

Your recliners malfunctioning footrest may cause a lot of discomfort in a seat that is synonymous with comfort. With that said a recliner’s footrest loosens up with time and using them becomes a nuisance, but one you easily fix at home.

The most common complaints about malfunctioning footrests are the following:

  • Stuck in one unrelenting position
  • Refuse to lock in place
  • Will not stay up

Tools needed

  • Lubricant
  • Rag
  • Screwdriver
  • Spare parts

Some Useful Tips

Warranty from your manufacturer covers the mechanism of your recliner. Look this warranty up before commencing on the repairs or any purchases as it has potential to save you a few bucks or even time. Some manufacturers have technicians they can send to your residence to fix up any problems arising with your purchase, so long as its covered by their warranty.
Do not keep slamming down your footrest as eventually, you will end up breaking it. Always apply some gentleness and civility even though you are in the euphoria of Super Bowl.
You can always access your recliner’s footrest by flipping over your recliner. Keep checking for any loose or worn out screws to mitigate any potential extensive damage.

How to Fix a Footrest Stuck in the Up Position

The footrest of your recliner should release easily and lock into place once the recliner’s lever is pulled. It should also be as easy to release the footrest back to its resting position.

1. Protect the cushions or material underneath the footrest using old newspapers or cloth.
2. Flip open the recliner cover and loosen all the screws that attach the metal of the footrest to the wooden chassis.
3. Spray a good lubricant like WD40 to every joint that moves.
4. The handle should release the recliner’s footrest.
5. Ensure that you correctly oil the movable joints to ensure that they do not get stuck again.
6. Use a rag to wipe off the residual oil.
7. Flip the chair over and try to close the recliner.

How to Fix Stuck Footrest Adjustment Systems

Your recliner’s footrest adjustment mechanism should allow for a range of positions. It should go up and down and still manage to hold at various spots in between. If the seat fails to go back down when in the up position, there is a failure to lock in one of the –in-between posts. To mitigate this, with the assistance of this guide, make some adjustments to the mechanism to allow it to flow up and down smoothly.

1. Turn the recliner over and locate the locking mechanism that locks the footrest in the in-between stages. It is usually in the form of a ratchet. This ratchet is what predetermines the in-between positions.
2. Disassemble the piece attached to this ratchet by removing the springs and the pins on it. This bar is also usually connected to the recliner’s seat front area.
3. With the ratchet free, your footrest should go all the way up or down on testing it.
4. In case you would like to restore the in-between positions, you will need a new ratchet or try to file and smoothen the ‘teeth’ to allow your footrest transition between the up, down and in-between positions easily.
5. Reassemble the bar to the recliner as it was initially.
Flip the chair back up and try your better than new footrest locking mechanism.

In case our written guide isn’t enough for visual learners, provided below is a video from Pete Medek the “Recliner Repair Guy.” This video is tailored specifically towards the Lazy Boy 3 position locking mechanism, which we referred to as a ratchet.

How to Fix a Footrest That Won’t Lock in Place

Image Credit / Danny Donahue of

There is nothing as deflating as stepping on a recliner footrest, and when trying to lock its position, it falls right back down at the weight of your feet. This can be remedied by inspecting the locking mechanism to ensure that the spring .is in working order. This spring is necessary for the tension needed to hold the footrest in place, but with use, it might get overstretched or break.

1. Turn the recliner over and locate the locking mechanism that locks the footrest in place.
2. Disassemble the bar attached to the footrest by removing the springs and the pins on it. This bar is also usually connected to the recliner’s seat front area.
3. Replace the spring with a spare part to allow your footrest to lock.
4. Re-attach the bar to the recliner.
5. Flip the chair back over and check if the spring is working.

If you have a spring broken on the bottom of the seat and you “sink-in,” the video below goes over how to replace this. It’s a fairly straight-forward process.


Hopefully, these guides help break-down simple ways to repair your recliner. If there is another footrest situation that needs repair please feel free to leave a comment below and we will be sure to go over it. At the end of the day, if you aren’t confident with a do it yourself approach, please consult a professional for the repair.

Barry White

Chief Editor and Furniture Expert for


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