How to Fix a Recliner that Leans to One Side

If you’ve ever owned a recliner, you probably know that they’re not the most durable piece of furniture in the world. They have lots of moving parts and are often made with cheaper materials which make them prone to breaking over time.

If you’re lucky, your recliner may just have a small issue where it leans to one side or another. This is much more common with cheaper models and isn’t something to be too worried about. 

However, if it’s obvious that it has been broken for a while, then there might be other issues going on as well. Fortunately, fixing a recliner that leans isn’t too difficult so long as you catch it early enough and don’t let things get too out of hand. 

In this article, we’re going to go through some of the most common reasons why your recliner may lean and what exactly you can do about it!

Before that, if you want to know how a recliner works, please read the linked article.

If your recliner has a sagging footrest, learn how to fix it.

Your Recliner is Out of Alignment

Recliners are often made with a tilt and swivel mechanism that allows the footrest to rest at multiple different positions. This is a great feature to have and comes in handy when you want to be able to switch between different positions. 

However, if the mechanism is out of alignment, it may cause your recliner to lean as it moves from one position to another. In this case, the solution is rather simple. Simply take the recliner apart and realign the mechanism by tightening the bolts that hold it in place. 

This is a very common reason why recliners may lean and can usually be fixed with a simple wrench!

If the mechanism is still out of alignment after realigning it, the problem might be a little more complicated. In this case, you’ll have to call a professional to have them look over the issue and make any necessary repairs.

Loose or Broken Springs

As we mentioned earlier, recliners are usually made with lots of moving parts. This is mainly why they’re so comfortable and easy to relax in, but it can also lead to some issues down the road. 

One of the most common issues involves the springs that are used to lift the footrest and headrest. They’re prone to becoming loose and broken if they’re used too much and aren’t built sturdily enough. 

This can cause your recliner to lean to one side slightly as the footrest lifts unevenly. If your recliner has loose or broken springs, the best solution is to replace them. This can be a little tricky if you’re not sure what you’re doing, so we recommend taking it to a repair shop and having them do it for you.

Defective Bolts or Parts

The bolts and other parts that are used to assemble your recliner are bound to get worn out after some time. 

These parts usually aren’t made from very sturdy materials and are designed to give out after a certain point. If one of the bolts that hold your recliner together happens to break, you may notice that your recliner leans. 

You can usually replace these bolts yourself or take them to a repair shop and have them do it. If one or more of the bolts is broken, you’re going to have to replace them. It’s usually a good idea to replace all of the bolts at once, just to be safe.

Loose Swivel and Tilt Mechanism

The mechanism that allows your recliner to move and tilt can sometimes be out of alignment and cause it to lean. In this instance, it isn’t because the mechanism is broken or out of alignment. 

The swivel and tilt mechanism isn’t broken, but it’s simply too loose. This can happen if the recliner is particularly old or has simply been used too many times. If this is the case, you can usually tighten the mechanism by removing it from the recliner and making necessary adjustments. 

If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, we recommend taking it to a repair shop and having them check it out for you.

Excessive Spraying and Buffing

Spraying and buffing your recliner can be a great way to extend its life and maintain its appearance. 

But, if you do this too often, your recliner can become too loose and begin to lean. The best thing you can do is to stop spraying and buffing your recliner until it’s fixed. 

It’s not going to get any better by continuing to spray it, and it might even get much worse. It’s a good idea to catch this issue early and let your recliner dry properly for a couple of days. You can then spray it or buff it again, but without overdoing it.

Tools you’ll be needing

If you know you’ll have to fix your recliner, we recommend that you get some professional help. But if you want to do it yourself, you’ll be needing a few things. The next part of this article will sum up exactly how you should be fixing a recliner that leans to one side.

You must have the right tools if you want to fix your recliner chair so that it no longer leans to one side. You may already have some of these tools at home, but if not, you can buy them at your local hardware store. Here are the tools you’re going to need:

  1. Oil
  2. Screwdriver
  3. Wood Glue

You’ll need to take a few basic steps to fix a recliner that’s broken or damaged. You might need to replace the recliner’s springs, or remove and clean the upholstery for a more thorough inspection of the frame. If the recliner is still structurally sound, you can repaint or refinish it to look like new again.

In addition to a good supply of tools and supplies, you will need the right knowledge and experience to get your recliner fixed. Since recliners are bulky, heavy furniture it may take a while before you can get it out of your house. It may also be difficult to move it into your car. This means you will have to bring along some help, which could be another person or an entire team of people.

Exact steps to fixing a leaning recliner

Regardless of its simplicity, repairing your recliner chair’s tendency to lean to one side might be tricky. Fixing your recliner’s leaning problem should be straightforward if you follow the directions provided. The steps are as follows:

Step 1: Put the recliner in a position where you can easily access the wooden panel behind the upholstery. When you do, loosen the screws on the panel and, if necessary, on the footrest as well. 

Step 2: Remove any upholstery or covering that covers the frame to reveal it more clearly.

Step 3: If necessary, apply oil to rusty or creaky springs and joints. Place a towel or newsprint on the ground to catch any oil drips. Wipe off any excess oil.

Step 4: Place any joints that were loosened or removed back into place with your screwdriver. Be extra careful with joints near springs.

Step 5: Check for hairline cracks or big cracks on the frame and joints of the recliners. If any of them are broken, you must replace them immediately.

Step 6: Clean any area where a part has been removed from a recliner before reinstalling. The recliner’s manual/new part manual can provide further information once the area has been cleaned.

Step 7: If a part is broken or disconnected, it may be mended with wood glue. It’s also possible to add metal bracing for additional support. 

Because everything should be functioning and connected, you can now cover your recliner up with wooden panels and put the upholstery back.


Recliners are a great piece of furniture to have, but they’re usually prone to issues. This is simply because they have lots of moving parts and aren’t built as sturdily as other pieces of furniture. 

This doesn’t mean that you have to get rid of your recliner though. It just means that you need to be more vigilant about repairs and keep an eye out for problems as they arise. If your recliner is leaning to one side, you can usually fix it by tightening the bolts that hold it together, realigning the tilt and swivel mechanism, or replacing the springs if they’re broken. If you notice that your recliner is leaning, don’t ignore the problem! It’s likely only going to get worse over time if you don’t take care of it.

If you want to watch a video to learn more about fixing a recliner, I am embedding a really good video I found in this article:

If you want to find more How Tos related to Recliners, click on the link.

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