Electric Recliner Sofa Problems: Reasons and Solutions

Last updated: Apr 11, 2020

An electric recliner sofa is a great piece of furniture. It holds a few people, giving them the ability to recline or sit up how they see fit without disturbing the people sitting next to them. These sofas are also great places to relax to watch television, read a book or a magazine, or take a nap, giving you multiple positions to do so to give you the maximum comfort possible.

Of course, sometimes you have to deal with electric recliner sofa problems that will need to be remedied before you can get back to enjoying your sofa. There are a few common issues with these sofas. Knowing why they happen and how to fix them can help you solve the problems quickly. Then you can get back to relaxing on your favorite piece of furniture.

The opening/closing mechanism isn’t responding

Electric Recliner Sofa Problems: Reasons and Solutions

One issue with electric sofas have is that the opening and closing mechanism stops responding. This means that even when you’re pushing the button to move the back or footrest, they don’t move.


The reason these mechanisms don’t respond is that they contain a lot of parts, including hinges, springs, and joints. These parts work together to adjust the sofa. Sometimes, these parts can get stiff, causing the functions to stop working.

How to fix it

If your sofa recliner isn’t opening or closing when you press the button, you may need to use a bit of your own strength to get it to move. By forcing it to move, it could reduce the stiffness, so it may start working when you push the buttons again. If this doesn’t work, you may need to call a professional to take a look at your electric sofa recliner. They will be able to diagnose the problem and fix it for you.

Once it’s moving again, you can also flip the couch over and lubricate the parts. This should prevent those parts from stiffening again. You should also watch out for bolts or springs that need replacement since these can wear out over time and create similar issues or even worse ones in the future.

It’s not reclining smoothly

Sometimes you may notice that the reclining function of your sofa isn’t moving as smoothly as it should be. Maybe it’s going to slow or pausing as it moves forward or backward.


When you’re recliner isn’t moving the way it should, this could be because the actuator is wearing out. This happens when the sofa moves back and forth repeatedly, making it hard for this particular piece to engage the way it’s supposed to. This can affect the movements of the back and the footrest.

How to fix it

Try holding the reclining button down for five seconds. If the sofa still doesn’t move, make sure it is plugged in tight to the outlet since a loose connection could cause intermittent power. You should also check that there is nothing in front of the footrest or behind the back that could be restricting its movement.

If everything above is checked and the sofa still isn’t working properly, you may need to replace the actuator and possibly the armrest with the controls for that side of the sofa. The metal frame lift or the scissor mechanism could be broken and need a replacement. You can do this yourself or hire a professional to do it for you if you’re unsure of the procedure.

It gets stuck in up position

Electric Recliner Sofa Problems: Reasons and Solutions

Another possible issue could be that your electric recliner sofa is stuck in the up position. This means that the footrest is up and won’t go back down again when you push the button.


If your sofa recliner is stuck open, this is likely because an in-line plug has come loose. This happens when the recliner is used frequently, which could cause the electrical wires to pull apart.

How to fix it

This is an easy fix, requiring you to find all the wires and follow them to their connections, including those that connect to the back of the motor. Reconnect any that have come loose and tighten up the rest. You can also wrap all of the connectors with black electrical tape to keep them securely in place and prevent this issue from recurring.

The wire is damaged

Sometimes wires within the reclining sofa can get damaged, which will prevent the reclining functions from working properly.


When you’re closing your electric recliner sofa, the internal mechanism sort of looks and works like a pair of scissors cutting a piece of paper. Anything that gets caught in this mechanism can get cut, including the wires in the sofa.

How to fix it

To fix the damaged wires, you need to flip over the reclining sofa and find the ones that have been damaged. Once you’ve located them, splice those wires back together. Then you can wrap some black electrical tape around the insulation shroud, covering the spliced sections. Repeat this process to any wires that are cut. You can also use the tape on those that are showing some damage but haven’t been cut yet for some extra protection.

There is also a way to prevent these wires from getting cut in the future. You can use zip ties to attach the wires to the frame to keep them away from the mechanism, so they don’t get caught in there again.

The controller doesn’t work

Another possible issue with an electric sofa recliner could be a controller that doesn’t work when you push the buttons.


A controller that won’t work could be the result of a couple of different issues. One is that the motor shuts off when there is a power surge. It could also stop working if the motor is overloaded from the frequent use of the reclining functions.

How to fix it

Electric Recliner Sofa Problems: Reasons and Solutions

If the controller stops working because of an overload or a power surge, it can be quite easy to fix. All you need to do is find the reset button that will restart the motor and get it working again. Sometimes the reset button is found on the controller itself. If so, it is a tiny hole that is located between the open and close buttons on the controller. You’ll need to insert something small, like a paper clip, into the hole to press the reset button.

If the reset isn’t found in the controller itself, it will be on the motor. There may also be a light to tell you when the motor is working. You can prevent this issue in the future by limiting how often you use the reclining functions.

If the issue is caused by a power surge, the reset will also get it going again. You may want to take extra precautions in this case, to prevent such an issue from happening again since this could also ruin the transformer in the sofa’s mechanism. Adding a surge protector is a great way to keep power surges from wrecking your electronic sofa. These power strips divert all the extra electricity into the grounding wire of the outlet rather than sending it to the sofa’s motor.

In conclusion

Electric recliner sofas can be a great addition to any living room. They give you ample places to sit, plus have those reclining functions to increase the comfort level of anyone on the sofa. Of course, electric recliner sofa problems can pop up randomly, so be sure to check out all of the mechanisms and take whatever precautions you can to keep these expensive seating areas working the best they can.

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