Electric Recliner Stuck in Open Position? Common Fixes!

Updated: | Author: Brad Javernick | Affiliate links may be present.

Like many people, you appreciate the comfort and relaxation a comfy recliner has to offer! As much as you enjoy relaxing, you would never expect it to keep you from getting back on your feet.

To fix your electric recliner that’s stuck in the open position, first, test the outlet or extension cord in question by plugging in another device. Check under the footrest for any obstacles or interferences. Check your circuit breaker and surge protector. Ensure that none of the wires are pinched, stuck, or broken. If nothing works, call the manufacturer or the store you bought it from.

Rule Out the Simple Fixes

All recliners are different. Be mindful of how your particular recliner operates and how the pins/connectors line up. Check under the footrest for any obstacles or damage to the moving parts or wires.

Check the Power

Many recliners have a power switch or a power supply box. If your recliner has a power switch, check that it is switched ON. If your recliner has a power supply, look to see if the light is off or on.

If it is off, check that the outlet or extension cord in question has power. You can plug something else into it (like a lamp). If that object doesn’t turn on either, check that the outlet is not connected to a light switch.

Next, check your circuit breaker because there’s a small chance a fuse was blown. Surge protectors can also cause electric recliners to lose power. To prevent this, be sure to have no more than one or two other devices plugged into the same power source as the recliner.

If the power supply light still is not lit, the power supply box may need to be replaced.

Bypass the Hand Control

There is a way to bypass the hand control to lower the footrest. If this works, it means the hand control was the issue, and it needs to be replaced.

Some hand control connectors come out of the side of the recliner, and some can only be accessed while the chair is upside down.

First, disconnect the hand control’s 5-pin connection. Cut a paperclip into a 1 ¾ inch “U” shape.

With the chair powered ON, insert each end of the paperclip in slots 1 and 2 of the DIN female plug, as shown here. By doing this, the footrest should lower.

If it doesn’t, search the hand control/button wire very closely, feeling with your fingers for any cuts or defects. To search the length of the wire, you may need to turn your recliner upside down. See the instructions below.

Check for Damaged Parts or Wires

When any button on the chair is pushed, do you hear a clicking sound? If so, follow the sound.

Whether it leads you to the motor (you can easily find a new one on Amazon) or the power supply (browse new power supplies on Amazon), clicking is an indication the part needs to be replaced. Call the vendor to get the exact part number for your model of the recliner.

If the recliner stops working when someone is sitting on it or only works half the time, it could be a pinched, loose, or damaged wire. It’s time to check the wiring of the chair.

Recliners tend to be on the heavier side, so before you proceed, make sure you have the help you need to turn it over.

Look Inside the Chair

Before touching any wires, ensure that the chair is turned off and that none of the wires is pinched underneath the chair. Some chairs will have a zipper or velcro covering access to the wires.

First, you may notice some zip ties. Ensure that these aren’t pinching or pulling any wires to the point of causing malfunction. Next, check any batteries or battery pack connections by disconnecting and reconnecting the wire(s).

Check that any wires connected to the motor, junction box, or power supply are not broken or disconnected. The thinner wires are more prone to breaking when bumped or moved.

Unclasp and pull apart the connections to check the pins inside. Ensure that none of the pins are bent or broken. Be mindful to line up the pins/connections correctly and clasp the retaining clip.

While the chair is flipped over, follow the hand control/button for lowering the footrest. You will find at least one wire coming out from it. Use your fingers to feel the entire length of the wire for any pinches or snags.

Repair a Damaged Wire

If you find a cut or snag in any of the wires, fear not! There’s a way to fix those things.

Cut the wire where there’s a snag or pinch. Strip 1 inch of each new end of the wire. You will see several smaller, color-coded wires.

Twist matching colors together (white with white, blue with blue, etc.) and put electrical caps on the ends of each twist. Then cover each cap/twist in electrical tape and power on the chair.

Final Thoughts

So at this point, you have checked:

  • Underneath the footrest for obstacles or damage
  • The outlet
  • The circuits
  • The surge protector and number of plugs in the power source
  • The power supply
  • The motor
  • The battery pack
  • The hand control/button
  • The wiring

If all these steps have failed to restore the full functionality of your electric recliner and it’s still stuck in the open position, you can always call the manufacturer or the store you purchased your recliner from.

They can help you troubleshoot your specific model and order replacement parts.

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About Brad Javernick

Brad is a licensed home inspector and the editor of Home Oomph. He's a massive DIYer, and loves to take on new home renovation projects!

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