My La-Z-Boy Recliner Clunks When Returning to an Upright Position

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

La-Z-Boy recliners come in hundreds of colors, designs and patterns that match almost any type of decor. The inside of the chair features a pawl and ratchet assembly that lets the chair move back into a reclining position. You might notice your chair making a clunking sound or another noise when you move the chair back into an upright position, but this is generally not cause for concern.


The pawl and ratchet system consists of two parts underneath the chair. The metal pieces rub against each other when you lean back or forward, forcing the chair into an upright or reclining position. The clunk you hear comes from the metal pieces moving against each other quickly as you sit up or drop the footrest. The mechanisms make softer sound when you lean back because you lean slower.

Stopping Noises

If the clunking sound bothers you, you have solutions available. Spray lubricant is a simple way to combat the noises from the recliner. You must turn the chair upside down and examine the underside. The recliner should have an open bottom, which exposes the inside of the chair's frame. If the chair has a fabric covering, carefully remove the staples and peel back the fabric. Look for two metal pieces on the bottom of the seat. One piece should have grooves or teeth across the top. Liberally coat the teeth with spray lubricant and replace the fabric with new staples. A small amount of vegetable oil works like the lubricant. The oil lubricates the teeth, which reduces the noise.


Spray lubricant does not work if the pawl and ratchet assembly is broken or worn down. Run your hands across the teeth. The teeth should feel slightly rough or hard and have no broken parts. If you notice broken parts, you must replace the assembly. La-Z-Boy sells the replacement parts, but you must contact the company directly to order the parts.


La-Z-Boy recliners come with a warranty, when you purchase the chair new from an approved retailer. The warranty covers damage to the chair, though not damage caused by general wear and tear. Contact the company about the clunking or noises coming from the chair. If your chair is still covered under warranty, the company should offer a replacement or a free repair. Even if you chair is no longer covered, the company might offer a low-cost repair for the assembly.


Jennifer Eblin

Jennifer Eblin has been a full-time freelance writer since 2006. Her work has appeared on several websites, including Tool Box Tales and Zonder. Eblin received a master's degree in historic preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design.