How to Fix a La-Z-Boy Recliner

Updated April 17, 2017

La-Z-Boy started in 1928 with a reclining wood-slat folding porch chair. It was designed for enjoying nature and relaxing. Today, La-Z-Boy is still known for its recliners. The Monroe, Mich., company says its recliners can be subject to wear and tear. The amount depends upon frequency and hardship of use. As such, a La-Z-Boy patented mechanism known as the pawl and ratchet assembly may need to be replaced. The job can be done with hand tools.

Turn the chair over so the base is outward or upward facing. This will allow you to access the pawl and ratchet assembly.

The pawl and ratchet assembly is responsible for moving the chair backward and forward during reclining. With normal wear, the teeth on the ratchet lose their sharpness and become smaller or rounded instead of pointed. The recliner may not lock into a reclining position or may remain locked when this happens. It then becomes necessary to replace the ratchet. This piece engages the reclining mechanism and moves the chair appropriately.

Locate the pawl and ratchet assembly, which is coupled to the wooden chair frame with screws. This mechanism consists of a spring-biased pawl member that engages a tooth ratchet. The pawl is the horizontal bar with the cap on the end, and the ratchet is a piece with teeth that click to move the recliner backward and forward for reclining.

Unscrew the pawl and ratchet assembly from the chair base with a screwdriver or power tool.

Remove the pawl cap that keeps the pawl and ratchet assembly together. This simply screws in place and can be unscrewed by hand.

Slide the pawl away from the ratchet and replace the ratchet. Both pieces of the pawl and ratchet assembly may be ordered online from La-Z-Boy or a parts retailer. The Rocker Recliner Parts website, for example, has them available for order. Verify if these parts are under warranty with La-Z-Boy, however, before ordering them from an outside retailer. Warranty parts are listed on the La-Z-Boy website, and claims can also be submitted online.

Reconnect the pawl and ratchet as they originally were. Screw the pawl cap back in place to ensure the pawl and ratchet assembly are together for correct mechanical operation.

Couple the pawl and ratchet assembly back to the chair base with a screwdriver or power tool. Use the same screws and screw holes as original to the chair.


La-Z-Boy recommends that recliner pieces never be greased or oiled.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver or power tool
  • New ratchet from La-Z-Boy pawl and ratchet assembly pieces
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About the Author

Jean Miller has been writing since 2008. As a freelance writer, she has developed website content, press releases and newsletters for a variety of clients. Miller holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in human resource management from Cleary University.