Watch the video
Here’s a short video showing how to replace a La-Z-Boy recliner lever. Both the old style and new style levers.
This particular video was produced by the US-based Recliner Repair Guy.
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How to Replace a La-Z-Boy Recliner Lever
Today, we’re going to look at how to replace a La-Z-Boy recliner handle. Obviously, this one in the video is not broken, but we’re going to use it for demonstration purposes.
Check the mechanism first
Now, before you get started replacing a broken handle, you want to keep in mind there could be a problem with your mechanism that caused more stress on this handle and perhaps contributed to it breaking.
So be sure to check out your mechanism to make sure it’s not bent, broken or something rubbing that would cause more stress on the handle. Get that taken care of first, and then replace your handle.
2 Different types of La-Z-Boy levers
So let’s take a look. There are two different types of levers or handles and the type you have will depend on how old your chair is, so here’s where you’ll start.
See there’s a little opening on the end of the handle there with a recessed fastener that attaches it.
If you can’t see it, that opening to determine what type of fastener you’re dealing with, just use a little flashlight, I already know that this is an older style and it requires an allen wrench, as you want to use the right size wrench that fits in good and snug. Just unscrew it. And it slides off.
Older style lever
So this is what the older style looks like, it has a bit of a metal-looking gear here, and this attaches to the square tube, which is called the drive rod. I’ll show you that in a minute.
And as you can see, it can be attached in many different positions, so when you go to re-install this, if you have this style and you get in the wrong position, you’ll figure it out pretty quick. You just need to loosen the screw, pull it off and adjust it and re-attach it.
As I said, it has an allen wrench set screw, a barrel shape with a closed end, it fastens against the drive rod. That’s what that looks like. And here’s a close-up. At the end of the drive rod, it’s a square solid piece of steel, and the set screw just fastens right against it.
What you need to know about this older style is it’s easier to remove it and re-install with a set screw, however, the downside is over time, this one tends to loosen up.
I always tell people, yeah, sure, it’s annoying, but it’s easier to get this on and off than the newer style, so just keep an allen key (wrench) handy and when it loosens up periodically, tighten it up and you’re good to go.
Newer style lever
Now, the newer style is a little bit different, there’s the opening where the fastener enters, and you can see here in the body, you’ve got a cut out for the square drive rod. And then they have this little extended area here, this system, the bolt actually passes through the drive rod and fastens to it in a very snug fashion.
And for that to fit properly in your drive rod on the handle, it’ll have a pre-drilled hole for the bolt to pass through. So if you happen to have a La-Z-Boy chair with missing handle, you can look at the end to see if it has this hole to determine what type of handle to put on it.
What you need to know about the newer style, it does not tend to loosen up once you have an installed… That’s the good news. But the downside is, this is much more difficult to remove and reinstall, and I’ll show you why.
Now, you want to make sure you have the right size torx bit that fits as snugly as possible in this hole. It’s very important because it’s going to take a lot of pressure to remove and install this, and at times you’re going to think that you might strip the screw head or the bolt head, or you might shatter the torx bit you’re using. That’s how I often feel.
So don’t just use a nut driver. Use something heavy that you can keep a really good firm pressure while you’re loosening and tightening so you’ll have a better chance of success.
But do not be surprised if when you pull one of these off and install it, you feel like, oh my goodness, this feels like it’s gonna break because… that’s exactly what it’ll feel like.
Are these two types interchangeable?
No, obviously for the newer style, and you’re going to have to have the pre-drilled hole in the end of your drive rod or you won’t be able to use this, however, the older style will fit on a drive rod that does have a pre-drilled hole.
We are based in Australia and we have an excellent range of replacement recliner levers and handles, all available online with nation-wide shipping. These parts fit all major brands but please get in touch if you’re not sure.
Also, thanks to the US-based Recliner Repair Guy for his great video.