Disclaimer: Any work you perform on your furniture is at your own risk. Tension springs and reclining mechanisms can seriously injure you. Seriously.
As mentioned on the Mechanism Care & Operation page, if you're well-acquainted with your chair, at some point you may begin to notice some changes. Things may begin to feel loose, or you may hear sounds that weren't present before. These are indicators that your reclining mechanism may need some attention.
Often it's a simple matter of tightening hardware that has loosened over time with normal use. For example, a loose or wobbly footrest may require tightening of the fasteners that secure it to the mechanism. While a mechanism that is no longer closing smoothly may have loose parts or have come loose from its mounting location on the frame.
When the metal brackets (on both sides of the back frame) that attach the back to the seat come loose, the back will start to lean or feel like it's falling away on one side. If you catch this in time, the fix is simple. Just tighten the loose back bracket fasteners.
Tip: As a general rule, screws and bolts on reclining mechanisms should be tight and secure. However, there are a few that can cause damage if overtightened.
Example: Many recliners have a hollow steel Handle Tube. This tube is attached to the handle and rotates when the handle is pulled to open and close the Leg Extension scissors. These scissors, the handle and other parts are often attached to the Handle Tube with bolts and nuts. If the nuts are overtightened, the hollow sides of the Handle Tube will be pinched, causing a potential weak spot that could fail in the future. Remember, with Handle Tube bolts, snug is sufficient.
If your recliner has a pillow-style back, like the one pictured here, you may be able to restuff it yourself. Feel for zippers along the bottom of each inside back section. Or if the pillows lift up (yes, some do), look for zippers on the backside. These are a cinch to restuff -- no repair tech required. Just be careful not to get any padding caught in the zipper!
See the video below to learn more.
How to Restuff a 3-Pillow Recliner Back
Also see, Common Problems