Repairing the Ratcheting Mechanism in La-Z-Boy Recliners


La-Z-Boy produced chairs for customers since 1928. Best known for their recliners, the La-Z-Boy recliner has a patented pawl-and-ratchet assembly that allows the chair to move from an upright position to several degrees of a reclining position. The pawl, a horizontal bar with an end cap, and the ratchet, a metal piece with teeth that moves and holds the recliner in its position are held together with a screw and is spring-operated. In time, the ratchet's teeth become worn, and the chair no longer stays reclined. This problem is corrected by replacing the pawl and ratchet assembly.

Things You'll Need

  • Flathead or Phillips screwdriver
  • Pawl-and-ratchet assembly
  • Turn the chair over so the base is accessible. If the chair’s base is covered, carefully remove the staples in the cover with a flathead screwdriver.

  • Locate the pawl-and-ratchet assembly. The assembly is on the same side as the lever or button used to recline the chair, usually on the right side.

  • Use the flathead or Phillips screwdriver, whichever is appropriate, to remove the screws attaching the old pawl-and-ratchet assembly to the chair’s frame.

  • Attach the new pawl-and-ratchet assembly where the old assembly was located. Use the screws that were in the old assembly to attach the new pawl and ratchet.

Tips & Warnings

  • Although you could just replace the ratchet portion of the assembly, it is best to replace the whole assembly at once.
  • Check the chair’s warranty through a La-Z-Boy retailer or through the Web site before purchasing the assembly. The pawl-and-ratchet assembly has a lengthy warranty, a lifetime warranty for some chairs.
  • La-Z-Boy does not recommend oiling the pawl-or-ratchet assembly. This can void the warranty.

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