Today we’re going to talk about how and when you should lubricate the mechanism on your recliner. That’s coming right up on the bench today. I have an older La-Z-Boy recliner and just finished up the repairs on this unit. And the customer asked me to check out another issue he was having, and that is it’s becoming harder to open this recliner manually with the handle. In fact, he said some time ago, he broke the handle off and had to replace it. So we’re going to remove the recliners back, turn the bottom upside down and diagnose the problem he’s having and talk lubrication. Once you have your chair upside down you want to take the handle and slowly move the mechanism in and out so that you can inspect the operation.
And what you’re looking for are parts that are bent, broken, separated, rubbing, or binding together. So on this unit, I’m looking at the mechanism scissors and they look to be straight and intact working fine here. We have a tension spring and toggle, and there’s one on each side. So it’s simply a matter of taking your time, looking at the entire system to find something that’s rubbing or binding. If it’s there, it’ll be pretty obvious to you.
You’ll also want to check to see if when the footrest is closed, there’s any kind of pinch point with the arm frames. Some recliners are designed where the footrest when closed fits inside the edge of the arm frames.
So if the arm frames shift overtime where the footrest itself, it can develop a pinch point at either end and of course, make the chair harder to open. And we don’t have that here. You’ll also want to check to see if the footrest is being impeded or obstructed by the cushion above this commonly happens when you have shorter users that can’t sit as far back in the chair. And some of the weight of their legs is actually pushing down on the seat, cushion itself, obstructing the footrest below, but we don’t have that issue here.
So we’ve checked out the mechanism. It looks to be in good condition and it’s working properly. Also, we’ve checked the footrest to see if there’s anything obstructing it or pinching it, preventing it from opening easily. And we have no issues there as well. The last thing we want to do is open up this mechanism, the footrest part way and work it back and forth with our hand to see how much tension there is. And I can feel there’s substantial tension here. So we’ve isolated the issue. If you listen closely you can hear the joints, the pivot points I should say in the mechanism are actually squeaking.
This unit is a candidate for lubrication. Now in this unit, there are seven pivot points on each of the two scissors. What you want to do is use a good quality thin oil, like three in one, for example, and put a few drops on each of the pivot points and then start working it back and forth my hand until it loosens up, then be sure to wipe off all the excess oil, reassemble the chair and try it out. So let’s look at a few final points here to wrap things up. Most reclining mechanisms are made, so they will not require any lubrication for many, many years. First check the mechanism, parts, and the footrest to see if there’s any obstruction there.
Now, if you have an older chair like this one, it may be a candidate for needing some lubrication. The first tale sign is usually surface rust on the metal mechanism. Parts. I isolated the mechanism by hand and worked it back and forth that I could determine that it did need some lubrication. So if you’re going to lubricate your here’s some tips.
- Use a good quality Finn oil that you can drip directly on the pivot points rather than spray something like WD-40. Also you’ll want to carefully make sure you wipe off all the excess oil from those pivot points that you lubricate, right?
- Be cautious of your floor, you can put down some heavy plastic underneath the chair to extend out underneath the footrest, where it opens, then put down a layer of absorbent material like newspaper, paper towels, white t-shirts, or what have you just to make sure that nothing drips down on your floor and creates a problem there.