My RV's Awning Won't Retract

by Eric Cedric
Keep the RV awning functioning for sun and rain protection.

Keep the RV awning functioning for sun and rain protection.

An RV awning provides shade and relief from the elements. These awnings typically roll into a small housing above entry ways. Designed to open and close easily, the awnings can get gummed up with debris and sediment, requiring troubleshooting to get them back to their original functionality. Go through a short checklist to diagnose and repair the problem to keep the sun shade opening and closing properly.

Check the awning fabric to make sure it is not laden with moisture. A saturated awning is harder to retract than a dry one. Allow the awning time to dry before trying to retract it again.

Spray down the roller pins with a dry lubricant. Apply the lube directly onto the metal connection points on the pins and where the awning attaches to the pins. Allow the lubricant to penetrate the mechanisms and engage the retracting functions.

Pull down the front of the fabric. Assign an assistant to stand at the opposite front corner as you hold the other. Pull the fabric down in unison to release the rolling mechanism. Like a window shade, an awning occasionally will be extended too far out, requiring a tougher pull down to engage the retracting rollers.

Loosen the attachment points at the awning housing with the screwdrivers. Pull the awning off the RV. Hand roll the fabric into the awning tube by assigning an assistant to stand at one end while you stand at the other. In unison, re-roll the awning fabric and reattach the awning to the RV.

Pull the awning out half-way and then retract it into the housing. Many times, hand rolling it will re-engage the awning roll mechanism.

Items you will need

  • Dry spray on lubricant
  • Phillip's or flathead screwdriver
  • Pliers

About the Author

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

Photo Credits