How Long Do Power Recliner Motors Last?

Models with automatic features are more accessible and relaxing—a luxury provided by the powerful motor that takes care of all main motions instead of leaving you struggling with pushing back backrests and closing tightly wound foot supports.

While some factors that determine the reliability of power recliner motors are directly influenced by the brand quality and their individual assembly policy, a huge part of making your recliner last is up to you and your immediate actions. If you want to keep your power recliner neat and it’s an electric motor in top shape, you may benefit from trying out a number of key guidelines that can help you give your chair a longer life.

power recliner

How long should a power recliner last?

When considering the potential lifespan of any electrically operated appliance—including furniture pieces such as power recliners—the first thing you might want to focus on is regular maintenance.

In this case, the primary point of care is the recliner’s electrics. The way you apply and look after the electrical parts determines how long your power recliner can function optimally.

  • Try to connect your power recliner to a direct power source. Plug it in the main socket whenever possible and avoid using an extension if you can help it. Extensions may lead to power overloads and potential damage to the recliner’s electrical system, especially during voltage jumps or power spikes.
  • Regularly clean under the base and try to be aware of any debris that may be clogging that space. If you notice any blockages, clear them out to prevent overheating of the power motor.
  • Preferably, make it a weekly event to inspect each cord or wire of the recliner’s motor unit. Weekly or biweekly monitoring can help you have a clearer picture of the state each wire is in: whether they show signs of tear or possible structural impairment. Even if there are no obvious points of breakages, you can still spy out sections with more tear than the rest of the cord and estimate possible future repairs and replacements.
  • It’s understandable that many aspects of running a household can be rather unpredictable, but try to keep the chair in a dry and warm room. Avoid creating too many drafts and damper environments since too much moisture in the air can affect the wiring and other electrical and mechanical features. The rule also implies keeping the chair indoors and this caution should be taken seriously: power recliners, especially sophisticated power recliners, can deteriorate faster in erratic outside environments. A damp and humid day can be followed by a colder drier night which is bound to affect the recliner’s motor unfavorably.

While inner workings of power recliners are at the top of your maintenance list, other features should never be ignored completely. Some of them are purely aesthetical, others can worsen the hardware damage in small but steady ways if you fail to keep an eye on them.

  • Take care of the recliner’s upholstery. It may seem irrelevant, but the less careful you are around your furniture covers and fabrics, the faster it shows elements of wear. Nobody finds a shabby and stained recliner pleasing or that comfortable to sit in, so encourage more or less reasonable conduct in your chair, both in yourself and your family members.
  • Responsible usage includes trying to minimize food and drink consumption in the recliner, save for water or something that doesn’t crumble or create a mess.
  • Use cleaning sprays that are compatible with your upholstery material. There are a number of sprays designed for preemptive measures like stain protection as well as detergents that can remove light stains without much effort. Choose non-toxic and bleach-free cleaning products to keep your recliner tidy and safe to use in the future. For extra security, you can cover the recliner with a separate piece of material like a thin comforter or protective sheet that could be easily stained and washed on a regular basis.
  • Another important part of regular upkeep is to limit any sharp or forceful movements whilst in the chair. Kids can get pretty excited on a comfy bit of furniture, so try to moderate their jumping or bouncing. And since power chairs are designed to do your reclining job for you, let them do it and don’t push them manually with too much force if you want to avoid doing potential damage to the framework or shaking something loose.
  • When it comes to routine cleaning, detergent products might not be enough on their own. It is generally encouraged to tidy up the chair every day, whether it’s going over the cover with a vacuum cleaner or removing fresh soils with a delicate slightly wet cloth. Both are essential for maintenance and could be done on alternating days. An important note about vacuuming: you would want to do it with a special tool to collect all crumbs and debris from the narrow crevices of the recliner. Don’t neglect to apply the vacuum under the seat cushion, between armrests, and under the recliner itself.
  • Some types of upholstery are best maintained with steam, such as recliners with real leather covers that need a delicate approach. Leather can crack with incorrect handling, so if you can afford using a steamer regularly, it could prolong your recliner’s life and protect the fine fabric.

Do power recliners have to be plugged in?

As the name suggests, power recliners for young and old people require a source of electricity to function as opposed to manual controls found on conventional recliners that are set in motion when the user pushes or pulls at the movable parts like the backrest and the footrest.

Power recliners, on the other hand, need to be plugged into a regular socket. The power cord is usually long enough to reach typical wall sockets, but more remote places such as front porches or verandas may prove problematic when it comes to powering the recliner adequately. Not to mention that placing a power recliner outdoors is not a smart thing to do and many manufacturers caution against it.

Once connected, the recliner is ready to go at any time with minimal movement done on the user’s part. Usually, power recliners are outfitted with push buttons, levers, or remote controls for easier activation which also expands the number of combinations you can get out of the chair. Some models offer you up to 72 possible motion combos suitable for the entire family and everyone’s personal needs.

The electricity enables the motorized mechanics of the chair’s reclining and rising functions, making them more flexible and accommodating. We’ve established that these recliners can be used by everyone even for simple relaxation, but what’s even more attractive about them is their therapeutic potential. Many power recliners are engineered specifically to assist people with restricted mobility, the elderly who need help performing particular tasks, and users with temporary injuries or similar conditions that prevent them from exerting themselves in any way.

Some power recliners can also work wirelessly as they come equipped with backup battery sets. Most of these models don’t exactly use the batteries as the main power source but rather rely on them purely for backup, for example in cases when the socket is too far away or during seasonal powercuts.

Regular backup batteries aren’t designed for multiple usages and have to be replaced after each full power drainage. A better alternative to those are rechargeable batteries: you can replenish their power capacity over a few hours and put them back in once they’re full. This can generally widen your possibilities for indoor installation, allowing you to move the chair into unconventional positions and far corners.

How do you replace a power recliner motor?

Even the best electrical motors that are built for longevity get less efficient with time. In cases of excessively frequent use, motors can wear out and fail even sooner, leaving the chair in perfect condition save for the weakening power source.

Situations like this demand a simple replacement of the motor instead of a costly and unnecessary purchase of a new recliner, but not everyone may be familiar with the replacement process.

The first thing to do is to find the replacement motor to start with. It can be obtained by contacting your manufacturer (like La-Z Boy) directly or through the brand’s local dealerships. In addition to purchasing the required motor, you may also contact your retailer for clarification on your warranty and the replacement method itself.

To understand which type of motor your recliner needs, you can look up the ID number of your model and enclose it with the order. Furniture ID tags can be found in several places depending on the brand and model, most commonly behind the footrest (when it’s pulled out), on the back of the footrest (you might have to tilt the recliner to read it), or on the underside of the framework (again, you will need to set the chair upside down and remove the cushions to find the ID tag on the seat or armrest bearings).

Once you have obtained the ID number, you can finally place your order with the manufacturer or a dealership. This way you know you can be sure the motor matches your recliner precisely. However, not all manufacturers ship replacement parts to customers, so in some cases, you might have to go through a long list of retailers to get what you need.

Some recliners are imported and therefore can’t be supplied with warranty motors. These chairs may have no specific ID tags, so the only way to get replacement parts is by going to the same online store that sold you the recliner. If you don’t know the brand name of your chair, there is a chance the retailer might allow you to send pictures of the recliner so that they can help you identify the model and subsequently the type of motor it needs.

When you finally have the new motor on your hands, you are ready to upgrade your recliner. The steps are fairly simple and require only one person to complete it.

  1. Start with unplugging the recliner from the socket.
  2. Then position the recliner on its side to expose the underside that houses the motor.
  3. The motor should be located in the middle of the backside, slightly towards the upper end of the bracket. Find the main power cord that connects the motor to the power source and unplug it.
  4. Find the DIN connector (it should be on one of the motor’s sides) and unplug it.
  5. Once you have cut the motor from power, it’s time to detach the electrical unit from the chair’s frame. It can be done by first removing the rue ring on the clevis pin that holds the motor on the top end of the bearing. Then you may proceed to the bottom end and remove the rue ring and clevis pin that holds the rest of the bracket.
  6. With no pins to hold the bracket to the frame, it can easily come off together with the motor so you can fit the new one more freely.
  7. Get the replacement motor and install it in the place of the old one. Place the bracket to the underside of the recliner and use the clevis pin to secure the bottom end of the mounting bracket to the frame. Clamp the rue ring to prevent slippage.
  8. When mounting the motor, pay attention to the way you thread the wires. No wires should be tangled with the bearings or the motor unit as it can cause problems in operation.
  9. Secure the top end of the bracket that holds the motor. Again, do it by inserting a clevis pin and top it with the matching rue ring.
  10. Plug the DIN connector to the new motor, then reconnect the main power cord.
  11. Plug the recliner into the socket.
  12. Set the recliner upright and test the new motor. If it seems to be working smoothly, you have replaced the motor correctly.

It should be noted that before rushing to buy a new motor it’s always prudent to check the efficacy of the recliner’s controls, specifically battery-powered remotes, push buttons that are wired into the motor system underneath the chair, and side panels. Sometimes the problem is rather simple and can be resolved much faster, particularly when it comes to expenses.

Do power recliners last long?

On average, power recliners with simple mechanics can last between 10 and 20 years, depending on the handling and frequency of use. Another factor at play is how intensively a power recliner is utilized: how much weight it bears on a regular basis, how much rising and reclining motion it is required to do, and of course how much pressure is exercised on its frame during kickback.

If you actually need the recliner for certain forms of heavy-duty application, try to find a balanced approach to the way you go about it. By keeping actions that cause premature wear to a minimum, you will still be able to use your recliner for a long period of time.

In Conclusion

For what it’s worth, power recliners can last much longer than manual models. Both types of recliners consist of separately moving parts that experience different levels of wear, but it’s power recliners that provide smoother operation which is more lenient on the frame and integral joints.

In terms of electronics, their moderate application will always help your power recliner stay fully operational for longer without it burning out. Proper care is always the foundation of endurance, so you can be sure your recliner will put out years and years of service under more favorable conditions.


About the author

Lou Anderson

Lou Anderson

Lou Anderson is a keen home and garden innovator with over 25 years of hands-on experience in, home improvement, landscape gardening and all things appliance related to making life easier and more interesting.

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