The steps on your RV that allow you to get in and out of the vehicle are an important part of the entire setup.
Before we delve into electric RV steps troubleshooting, it’s important to know the types of RV electric steps. So you know which ones you have on your RV.
In today’s RVs, there are both automatic steps, which extend and retract on their own as soon as your door opens or closes; and manual steps, which you have to use a toggle switch to make the steps extend or retract.
Both types can have problems, but this article is here to give you some ideas on what you can do about them.
Troubleshooting the Easy Things First on Your RV Steps
For electric RV steps troubleshooting, you should always start with the easy things first. For instance, here are four things that you can do if the steps on your RV are not working:
● Check the control board to make sure that it has power
● Check the motor to make sure that it has power
● Check the switches to make sure that they have power
● Look for debris or wires that might be in the way of the steps
Most of the time, the solution to non-working RV steps is very simple and the reason for the problem is very obvious.
It’s always the obvious solutions that are overlooked when troubleshooting, so it’s the best place to start.
Checking for power in various places is always the first thing you should do when your RV electric steps are not working right.
Lack of power is a common reason why RV steps aren’t retracting or extending, but let’s get into more detail about some of these problem areas and what you can do about them.
Problem 1 – Your RV Electric Steps Do Not Extend
When the door to your RV is opened, your electric steps should automatically extend. They may also automatically extend when the extend button is held; either way, it should be a simple task to enable your RV electric steps to extend automatically.
Solution 1 – Check Ignition
The thing is that if you have the ignition on, your override switch might be stopping them from extending, which it does due to safety reasons.
After all, if your ignition is on and you’re getting ready to head out, the last thing you want is to have your electric steps extend because this can be both inconvenient and incredibly dangerous.
Solution 2 – Check Battery Power
While you’re checking things out, make sure that you also check the battery power level for the motor or the control board. If your battery is running low, it can directly affect how well your RV stairs extend when they’re supposed to.
Problem 2 – Your RV Electric Stairs Do Not Retract
Solution 1 – Make Sure Electric Steps Magnets Are Aligned
To understand how RV stairs retract, you have to know that there is a special magnet on the door and another one on the door frame that enables them to retract.
Once those magnets line up, which happens when you close the door of your RV, it signals the stairs to retract.
If your stairs aren’t retracting, it could be because the magnets aren’t aligned as they should be.
If the magnets don’t line up, the RV will assume that the door isn’t shut all the way, which means that the stairs won’t retract as they should.
In this instance, you’ll have to do something about realigning the two magnets so that your steps will retract as they’re supposed to do. It’s a good idea to seek professional help if you think this is the issue with your steps.
Solution 2 – Check the Override Switch
Some RVs are made with an override switch that allows the steps to remain extended whenever you’re parked. This is convenient if you’ve stopped for the night and will be going in and out of your RV but don’t want the stairs to keep extending and retracting the entire time.
Check that the manual override isn’t the reason the steps don’t retract, make sure that the switch is in the Auto position. The steps will function automatically from the door switch.
Solution 3 – Check the Rocker Switch
Finally, if the steps on your RV are not automatic, you’ll have a rocker switch to control them and tell them when to extend and when to retract. If the rocker switch isn’t working properly or there is no power to and from your switch, the stairs may not retract as they should.
As you can see, the process to figure out what is wrong when your electric steps won’t retract are fairly simple; fortunately, so are most of the solutions.
Problem 3 – Your RV Is Making Noise But the Steps Aren’t Moving
Solution 1 – Figure Out Where The Noise Is Coming From
If your steps aren’t moving but the RV is making a noise, it is usually because the motor is trying to do its job so that your steps can extend or retract, but something is stopping it from doing so.
In this case, the first thing you should do is try to ascertain exactly where the noise is coming from. The most common places are the frame of the step or the gear and motor linkage.
If the sound that you’re hearing is especially loud, it is more likely that the problem is gear and motor linkage that is malfunctioning and not the step frame. If you remove each part of the steps and inspect them closely, you should be able to find out where the problem lies.
Solution 2 – Remove Debris
The problem could also be debris or some physical object that has gotten in the way of the steps and won’t let them extend or retract. This is perhaps the easiest scenario to take care of because all you have to do is remove whatever is in the way of the steps so that they can extend or retract properly.
What RV Electric Step Troubleshooting to Do Next
While steps that won’t retract or extend is one of the most common problems with electric RV steps, most of the solutions to the problems are simple.
If you have tried all the above electric RV steps troubleshooting and nothing seems to work, here are a few other tips you can try that just might help:
● Check the wiring around the steps. Make sure that none of the wires are tangled, dragging too low to the ground, shredded or loose, not tied securely, too stretched, or not connected to their proper ports. Your RV steps require wires to work and the wires must be in good shape for this to happen.
● Check the power source at the rocker switch or magnetic switch, the motor control board, and the motor itself. You may have to use some type of volt meter to make sure that these power sources are working properly.
You should also keep in mind that regular maintenance of the RV steps is crucial. You should clean the steps regularly with a good cleaning brush, lubricate them at least once a month, and check all of the wires regularly so that you can take care of any problems before they become too expensive or too complicated to repair.
Electric RV steps are very simple to maintain, but this doesn’t mean that they are 100% maintenance-free. Still, these simple tips can help your RV stairs work properly for a much longer period of time.
RVs are a lot of fun to own, but if your electric steps aren’t working the way they should, enjoying the RV might be much more difficult.
Fortunately, problems with steps are usually easy to diagnose and easy to repair. You may not be able to make all of the repairs yourself, but most of them shouldn’t cost you a lot of money either.
Trust the experts when you have to, but you might be surprised by how many of these repair jobs you’ll be able to do on your own.