RV Step Maintenance

All RVs have entrance steps. Some are electric or automatic, while others are manual. This article focuses mainly specifically on maintaining electrical steps. Whether you have a motorhome or a fifth-wheel trailer, there is something to keep in mind about the steps. Making sure they are safe and easy to use can make all the difference when it comes to driving your RV around. Here are some tips on how to maintain your RV’s steps for safety purposes.     

We all know the importance of maintaining our RV’s steps. Steps are a major element of any RV, and they need to be maintained for safety reasons. However, many people don’t even think about maintaining this important feature until their steps break or they have to replace them due to wear and tear. Here are some tips on how you can maintain your RV’s steps so that you never have to worry about this problem again.

Clean your RV Steps

Keeping your steps clean and free of debris is one of the top ways to keep them working properly. Pebbles, gravel, and small sticks can easily become jammed in your automatic steps, leading to breakage. 

A good habit to develop is whenever you’re sweeping or cleaning the interior of your RV, be sure to give your entrance steps a sweep as well. Gravel can easily be tracked inside on shoes or by passing vehicles. Consider including sweeping your entrance steps to your pack-up list before departing a location as well. 

Photo Credit: umpquaslastresort.com

Lubricate

One of the most important parts of owning automatic steps is to keep them lubricated. Unfortunately, many RVers don’t know about this crucial step. A quality dry lubricant or lithium-based grease will get the job done. Dry lubricants and lithium-based grease will prevent dirt and debris from clinging to the lubricant. Just to be on the safe side, don’t lubricate your steps right before hitting the road or in a high-traffic area with a lot of dust. 

Lubricating the outside step joints can be helpful, but the most important components to grease are a little harder to reach. Check out this helpful YouTube video from RV Parts Plus on how to properly lubricate your RV steps.  

Use Step Supports

Over time, step joints can be weakened with overuse. Be sure to use heavy-duty step supports to help take the pressure off of those joints. Step supports only take a few minutes to set up and should be used as frequently as possible. While they may not be necessary for a quick overnight stop, you should be sure to use your step supports if you’re setting up camp for a few days or more. 

Photo Credit: rvtravel.com

Cycle your Steps

If you’re setting up camp for a few weeks or more, be sure to occasionally pull your step supports and cycle your steps. This will help to ensure that your RV steps are working correctly and can also help to refresh the lesser-used parts. 

What if your RV steps stop working?

The following issues are common problems experienced by RVers with automatic steps. Check these out to troubleshoot any issues you may be experiencing.

Steps will not extend.

Typically, electric RV steps will extend automatically if the door is opened or if the extend button is pressed. However, some RV models will not allow the steps to open if the motor is running, so be sure to double check this if your steps are not extending. Another possibility is that the house batteries are too low. If your steps will not extend all the way out, carefully check for debris that could be causing them to stick. 

Photo Credit: thecampingnerd.com

Steps will not retract.

If your steps will not retract, then that could be a serious safety issue. It’s not safe to drive your RV with the steps stuck out. Begin by ensuring that your step supports are not in use, and check your step switch as well. Most RVs have a button to allow the steps to remain extended while parked for easy use, while also reducing frequent battery usage. 

If that button is not activated, then double check your RV’s door. There is a magnet in the door to trigger the steps to retract. Double check that the magnet is lining up, and try to open and close your door again. 

Photo Credit: adventureincamping.com

The steps are unusually noisy.

If your steps are making noise but not extending or retracting, begin by carefully checking for any debris or obstacles that could be preventing them from working. If they will extend and retract but are still making an unusual noise, try to listen to isolate where the noise is coming from. It will most likely be from the gear and the motor. 

You can access your step components similar to lubricating them in the video above. Start by visually assessing to see if there are any foreign materials stuck where they shouldn’t be. If you’re comfortable, you can remove some components and wires per your owner’s manual.

Photo Credit: rvwithtito.com

An outer joint is broken.

If one of the outer joints for your steps has broken, then these can be repaired. Most automatic steps are made with metal joints, allowing for these parts to be welded back together. If you can safely secure your broken steps, then travel to a nearby shop to have them repaired. If not, call a mobile mechanic or mobile welder to fix the issue before moving on to your next destination.

With these tips, you can ensure that your RV’s steps stay in good condition and don’t need to be replaced or repaired frequently. After all, your steps are one of the most important features, allowing RVers to enter and exit their rig. Now, whenever your steps need repair or troubleshooting, you will know how to take care of these issues. Be sure to check on your RV steps before heading to your next Harvest Hosts location!

Photo Credit: rvweb.net

How often do you maintain your RV’s steps? Have your steps ever stopped working? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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  1. Linda D. G.
    22nd November, 2021

    Ours stopped retracting. Our son removed them and we are getting by with a sturdy step stool. That’s not ideal, but it is what it is.

  2. Dave & Carol McIntosh
    5th November, 2021

    Our steps quit working this year because the motor that controls the steps had quit working and needed to be replaced. We didn’t realize that was the reason but had checked all the things you mentioned and none of them were the reason. Fortunately, we had just joined a rally with friends who had experienced this same problem and helped us get our steps out and removing the motor. Fortunately another friend at the rally had a spare motor (because this had happened a couple of times before on their RVs) and we were able to quickly replace ours and then able to use our steps.