How To Adjust Recliner Tension

December 16th, 2008 in Adjustments & Repairs /

The tension adjustment on a Lazy Boy Recliner allows you to set the tension on the reclining mechanism to best respond to your individual size and strength. If you find it difficult to push back or pull the lever into a reclining position then you may want to reduce the tension. If you are a taller or heavier person then you may want to increase the reclining mechanism tension.

Most lazy boy recliners are equipped with a pair of wing nuts or thumb wheels underneath the seat that let you adjust the reclining mechanism tension. First make sure that the leg rest is closed, then tilt the chair forward so it rests on the tips of its arms and the top of its back so you can see underneath the chair.

On the Reclina-Rocker chair, Reclina-Glider chair and Reclina-Way chair you should see two wing nuts (one on each side) towards the back of the recliner under the seat. The Reclina-Glider Swivel Recliner has two thumb wheels instead of wing nuts but they can be adjusted in the same manner.

On the Lazy Boy Classics Low Profile and High Leg recliner with 3-position mechanism you should see the two wing nuts (one on each side) toward the center of the recliner under the seat.

It is important to adjust both sides equally and to just make small adjustments (about one quarter of a turn) until you feel comfortable. To increase the reclining tension turn the wing nuts or thumb wheels clockwise one quarter turn on both sides. To decrease the tension turn the wing nuts or thumb wheels counter-clockwise one quarter turn on both sides. Return the chair to its upright position and test the new setting. Repeat the steps listed here if more adjustment is required.

Never tighten or loosen the adjustment wing nuts or thumb wheels all the way or you may damage the tension spring. The spring should not move on the bolt after making the adjustments. If it does, make sure you turn the wing nut or thumb wheel clockwise a minimum of one half turn after tightening it so the spring no longer moves. Nor should the spring be completely compressed after making your adjustments. If this occurs, loosen the wing nuts or thumb wheels a minimum of one half a turn counter-clockwise to avoid damaging the tension spring.

Remember to always adjust both wing nuts or thumb wheels equally.

32 Responses to “How To Adjust Recliner Tension”

  1. Jim Herrington Says: April 13th, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Hi: I bought my little recliner in 1991 in Lodi, CA. It has been a great recliner until this year when one spring broke in half and one other came lose from the wooden frame of the seat. How do I repair this problem? Thanks. Jim

  2. Tony Says: April 13th, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    If you still live in Lodi, there is a La-Z-Boy Furniture Warehouse there that may be able to assist you in finding the replacement spring for your recliner. Usually only authorized dealers are able to supply you with lazy boy parts. They should also be able to assist you with the repairs. It wouldn’t hurt to take some pictures of the damage so they can tell if the entire wooden frame needs to be rebuilt or if there is an alternate way to re-attach the spring.

  3. Ralton Says: April 14th, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    My leather lazy boy has the reclining system with capacity to lock in multiple positions as it clicks into a locking position. The recent problem with the locking system occurs when I try to lift the reclining lever and lean back in the chair–the handle will not engage into the locking position and the lever will not go back down. The chair is stuck in a half reclined position. The problem will not correct until multiple tries to lock and unlock the reclining position with the lever.

    Do you have any suggestions for correcting this malfunction? I live near Florence, AL. I bought the chair from Green’s Furniture in

  4. Tony Says: April 14th, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    I would start by contacting the retailer where you bought the recliner to see if this is a repair that can be done under warranty. It sounds like it could be a worn spring or pin that is causing the reclining lever to jam.

  5. jo Says: June 25th, 2009 at 12:10 am

    My lazy boy doesn’t have any wingnuts anywhere that I can see to adjust the tension. I looked everywhere. Is there some other screw or something else that I can adjust the tension for it?

  6. Tony Says: June 25th, 2009 at 7:10 am

    Some lazy-boy recliners, like the Reclina-Glider Swivel Recliner, have thumb wheels instead of wingnuts. If you can post more information on your model of lazy-boy recliner then someone here with the same model may be able to help. You can also check the Customer Care section of the La-Z-Boy website ( to see if they have a product manual for your particular model. You can also contact La-Z-Boy directly through

  7. Jason Says: July 21st, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Hello… I have a reclina-rest and the back will not stay up right when I sit normally. It began on the left side but now is on both sides. I can not see where to make any adjustments. Can you help? I can take pics if you want.

  8. Jason Says: July 21st, 2009 at 10:42 am

    Oh, I forgot to mention that the back mechanism is the only problem. The foot rest works perfectly.

  9. Tony Says: July 27th, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Did you check to make sure the back was properly installed? Perhaps it has unlocked from the metal mechanism required to keep it in place. Have you discussed the problem with the La-Z-Bly dealer where you bought your recliner?

    The Reclina-Rest is supposed to adjust automatically to your weight and strength. It is possible that the automatic adjustment mechanism has worn out or broken. Your local La-Z-Boy dealer may be able to help you.

  10. Carol Says: August 27th, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    My recliner sits lower on the right side than on the left. Will adjusting the tension wing nuts help solve this problem.

  11. Steve Says: December 14th, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    Hello, My parents gave me their Lazy Boy Reclina-Rocker. The problem I am having is that when sitting in it, it sits all the way back on the rocker platform to the point that it is bottoming out on the rear. With it doing this, I have no need to have the foot rest up as it is sitting that far back. Is there a way to adjust the tension for the rocker itself? Thanks

  12. Jayne Says: January 3rd, 2010 at 11:23 am

    My recliner foot rest will not return to upright position with handle. All other features are fine with little wear or tear on chair of 15 years. Where do I begin to find the problem No parts are missing, no cracks in frame. Just stopped returning to original position.

  13. justin Says: February 1st, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    i want to purchase a lazboy forte but when i fully recline i go past the clicking range and end up feeling upside down. any thoughts?

  14. Mark Says: March 23rd, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    I purchased a Lazyboy rocker recliner about 6 months ago. The chair is the best I have eve had. One thing is the loud knocking it makes when I pull the lever to release the recliner back to straight. It was rather loud as the compressed tension knocks 2x and i guess it sounded like I was lifting weights downstairs. I solved the problem with this trick. When the chair is reclined and you want to go straight again, put one of your feet around the foot rest and on the floor to take the energy transfer. Then you slowly relaease the lever and let your foot absorb the energy. Im just 5-10 and its no problem.

  15. Thomas Says: April 30th, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Wow, thanks for this information. I bought an expensive LZB leather recliner last Christmas and it has progressively slipped more and more. I thought I’d made a terrible mistake. I just used your instructions to adjust it and now it is like new. Thanks again.

  16. Martha Says: May 13th, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    My couch and loveseat that I bought 4 years ago have never worked properly. The problem is that when you pull the lever to recline it somehow sticks and the foot rest hangs and will now recline until you reach down and pull on the footrest. Also when you try to push in the foot rest after reclining you have to repeatedly try to get it to stay down. This is the most annoying furniture I have ever had. Is there some adjustment to correct this?? Also when you look at these pieces of furniture from the back it appears they tilt to the outside and aren’t sitting level. Help!!! I am ready to get rid of them and find other furniture.

  17. Maryanne Says: July 27th, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    The footrest on my 7 year old rocker recliner will not stay all the way up anymore. Also it does not have that clicking sound. The foot rest only stays up part way which is not comfortable at all. What can I do? My future son in law believes that the teeth on the mechanism that controls this are worn. Are there replacement parts we can buy? Thanks.

  18. Hank Says: August 29th, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    My recliner clunks when returning to upright position when moving lever back

  19. Scott Says: September 19th, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    So I just finished a complete rebuild of the frame on my 1974 Lay-Z-Boy and though the fabric (brown) is still in a serviceable state, it’s definitely time to think about recovering it.

    Does anyone have a rough price to fully recover the chair and replace the seat padding? I’m guessing it will be ~200 total (assuming I drop it off).

    Thanks in advance,

  20. lisa domagall Says: October 12th, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    I’m wondering how to find a slipcover for the Reclina-rocker. It’s such an odd size to fit compared to the normal recliner, that I can’t seem to find anything, short of expensive custom made slipcovers.

  21. Jerry Hilscher Says: November 6th, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Hi, I bought an upright, queen anne style recliner to sit in during recuperation from hip replacement. It has been very comfortable sitting up and leaning back to watch TV. Now I notice that I can make it lean all the way back, but it won’t stay back. Is there some sort of adjustment to allow this third position? It would be great for grabbing a cat nap.

  22. Paul Says: January 18th, 2011 at 8:00 am

    My lazy boy recliner has the wing nuts I am a heavier guy so I have always had problems with the tension.
    I’d like to adjust it further(more tension) but have reached the end…no further adjust can be made….any suggestions?

  23. Clare Lear Says: January 31st, 2011 at 11:40 am

    When first making adjustments with the two wing nuts, I did not know that each should be turned only a quarter of a turn. Therefore, I turned both wing nuts until one fell off. My two questions are, “Have I ruined the tension?” and “Where should the wing nuts be located before beginning to make adjustments again?”

  24. J Westgor Says: February 5th, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Just recvd 3 Reclina Rockers. One does not “click” into a fixed position like the other 2.
    This is not the wing nut adjustment. Does anyone know fix?

  25. Allen Cooper Says: March 27th, 2011 at 10:48 am

    I have a lazy boy love seat that both sides recline. I have tightened the wing nuts under the chair, but one side still is loose when you sit in it. The seat itself floats a short distance, is there anything I can adjust to get this to stop?

  26. Ray Desloges Says: April 16th, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    I have two lazyboy recliners that are about 10 years old. They are the most comfortable chairs we have sat in. They are still in great shape except that the plastic rollers (the plastic covers over the steel rollers)have all broken and it is now more difficult to recline the chairs. Is the plastic covering essential to the good operation of the chair? If so, can these rollers be easily replaced?

  27. Barbara Woods Says: April 30th, 2011 at 12:47 am

    On the back of the recliner a hex bolt has snapped off. I would like to purchase one of these bolts and repair the recliner. Unfortunately I do not know where to purchase it. If you could contact me with where and how much one of these bolts would cost.
    Information on the chair was reg#CA-35069
    Style 46315
    SKU A777763
    Dealer 56557043

  28. j dempsey Says: May 16th, 2011 at 8:16 am

    one of our two lazy boy chairs will not release to an upright position when we use the side handle. please help on how to adjust same. thanks

  29. John Peele Says: May 19th, 2011 at 11:03 am

    our lazy boy recliner will not release to an upright position when we use the side handle. please help on how to adjust same. thanks

  30. Greg Carter Says: July 3rd, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    Purchased two lazy boy recliners about 3 weeks ago. My wife’s recliner does fine. The problem is with mine. As Justin said on your blog, my recliner goes to far back. I feel as I am upside down and am getting a head rush. I have made the adjustments with the wing nuts but to no satisfaction. It helps some but not enough. I eventually go completely back when I don’t want too. I have spent a lot of money on this product and am so far very disappointed with it. I would appreciate any advise.

    Thank You

    Greg Carter

  31. Tony Says: July 6th, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Did you buy your recliners new? If so, you should first check with your La-Z-Boy dealer to see if it can be repaired under warranty.
    It is possible that the tension springs are worn or weak and will not support you properly. Is your wife’s recliner identical to yours and capable of supporting you properly?
    Are both recliners adjusted the same? You can try tightening the adjustment screws all the way and then backing them off a minimum of one half turn to see if this helps.

  32. Karen Says: October 8th, 2011 at 11:22 am

    We bought two lazyboy leather recliners two years ago. We had the swivel base added to both. One chair is fine. One chair makes an awful noise when coming from a fully reclined position (foot rest extended) to a feet on the floor position(foot rest down). It has been worked on twice by the lazyboy techs. It also leans way forward when getting up and is maring the base of the swivel.

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