Why a Recliner Leans to One Side

by | Feb 25, 2019 | Blog

A recliner is an armchair or sofa designed for comfort. Its backrest can be tilted back. Some even have footrests that extend when the back it tilted or reclined. With that said, these recliners can take a beating and sometimes this results in the chair leaning to one side. It’s surprising that a number of people are willing to put up with the discomfort simply because they do not know how to fix the problem. A recliner could develop these problems due to old age, being too roughly handled or due to lack of regular maintenance.

Why Does Your Recliner Lean to One Side?

The recliner may lean to one side because of a number of reasons. These may be;

  • The linkage mechanism may be leaning to one side.
  • Poor engineering resulting in the chair being constructed out of frame.
  • A leaning frame as a result of the wooden frames loosening up over time.
  • Uneven padding.
  • The chair leaning on some spots more than others due to unevenness of the floor.

Although a recliner may lean to one side because of these factors, you can have your recliner back in shape with a few basic tools and knowledge of how to tighten nuts, bolts, and screws. This is the case 90% of the time, and the problem is due to the recliners’ spring mechanism on the bottom.

Fixing the Problem

A recliner may lean to one side because of unevenness in the tension spring on the right and left sides of the chair’s rocker cam. The tension may be lower on one side and stronger on the other causing one side to lean more than the other due to high tension on the other side.

To fix this, make sure the footrest is closed. Expose the underside by tilting the entire recliner forward. A pair of thumb wheels can be found below recliners with adjustable recliner tension. Some models have wingnuts in place of thumb wheels. Their exact placement may vary but can be found beneath the seat. Each of these is located at the end of a bolt which is connected to the tension springs.

Rotate the thumb wheels or wing nuts to adjust the tension. Clockwise to increase the tension and counterclockwise to decrease it. Adjust them accordingly until the tension is equal on both sides. Turn in small increments when evening out the tension. A pair of sturdy pliers may come in handy if the mechanism is too tight to turn with your fingers. Test the adjustment. If it is not comfortable, repeat the process until it is adequately comfortable.

Fixing Springs, Screws, and Padding

If the spring needs to be replaced, just identify the attachment point and remove the spring. It is important to be careful when working with heavy duty springs as they have high recoil.

In some cases, the contact point between the wooden parts and screws may come loose. Use some wood fillings to fill the spaces so that the screws may fit snugly for a tight lock.

Other minor problems such as those with padding only require a change in cushions and the recliner will be as good as new. For broken parts, a replacement will fix the problem. Follow the user manual to know the correct parts for replacement.


It is cheaper to repair minor recliner problems at home rather than replacing the whole set. It is also important to perform maintenance checks on your seat to make sure it is in perfect working condition. With this in mind, you get to keep your chair in good shape without shelling out hundreds for a new recliner.


Barry White

Chief Editor and Furniture Expert for Reclinercize.com


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