Fix your recliner's lever so you can get back to relaxing.

How to Fix the Lever on a Recliner

by Matt Smolsky

The lever on a recliner always breaks at the wrong time, such as when you're settling in with a bowl of popcorn and a favorite TV show. Fortunately, the inconvenience should be temporary as recliner levers are relatively quick to fix, even though it looks like an intimidating job. With the right replacement parts, tools and a little bit of perseverance, you'll be relaxing again in no time. Note that these instructions will work for most common types of recliners.

Turn the recliner over onto its top and arms. You might need help for this step, if only to control the recliner as you flip it.

Look for identifying information under the recliner, such as manufacturer, serial numbers and toll-free customer service numbers. The recliner may still be under warranty if it's less than a year old. Even if it's older, some parts may be covered by lifetime warranties. It's worth a phone call to see if you can get it repaired for free, or perhaps get the replacement part for free.

Note the name of the manufacturer and purchase a replacement handle. A furniture store will be able to help you locate the part. It may be available online. Upholstery repair shops are another possible source for replacement levers.

Look for a screw along the bottom of the recliner and remove the screw. Be aware that some manufacturers may use torx head screws instead of Phillips head screws. The slots on an a Phillips head screw look like a plus sign, while the slot on a torx screw resembles a star. You'll need the appropriate bit for your drill to remove and reinsert the screw. Both types are readily available at hardware stores.

Remove the broken lever from the recliner. Remove the escutcheon. Both will slip right off.

Slide the new escutcheon on the side of the recliner followed by the lever. Screw the screw into place and ensure everything's secure.

Turn the recliner over, returning it to it's upright position. Test the new lever out.

Items you will need

  • Replacement lever
  • Reversible drill
  • Phillips head or torx head bits


  • It's possible that your recliner lever will extend into and underneath the chair, fastened to the reclining mechanism by hex nuts. If this is the case, you'll need two small crescent wrenches, one to hold the nut still and another to turn the bolt.

About the Author

Matt Smolsky has been writing for more than 25 years. He wrote news, sports and feature stories for the "Omaha World-Herald" and other publications and has continued on in direct marketing and general advertising. He now writes for the web as well. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and journalism from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Photo Credits

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