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Retractable motor home steps will fail after suffering damage or experiencing troublesome electrical issues. You can't drive or tow your motor home with the steps extended. Fixing them is easy in some cases and difficult in others. It ultimately depends on the extent of the damage. Keep in mind that you can always remove the steps entirely and take them in for professional repair.
Visually inspect the step for physical damage. Bent railings and parts will interfere with the step and prevent retraction. This is especially evident when the motor is functioning but the step does not retract. Use pliers to straighten any bent railings, and test the step for restored function. If pliers are inadequate, you may need to remove the part manually and either replace it completely or place it in a vise to work the metal. Bent railings are often fairly easy to remove since they have visible bolts holding them in place.
Electrical failures in motor home retractable steps can create problems that are more complex. Start by checking the battery for power. Make sure all connections to the step are intact. Also check for fuses that require replacement. If the power supply is functioning correctly, you may have a bad motor. Attempt to retract the steps and listen for any whining or struggling from the step motor. If the motor is completely silent, this is also indication that the motor is a likely culprit. You'll have to order a new motor from the manufacturer and perform the replacement using the existing hardware. Always disconnect the battery before working on the motor or electrical components.
Removing the Steps
Removing the broken steps entirely will get you back on the road. The process for removal varies by manufacturer. Many steps are set on a locking pin that's held by a cotter pin. Simply remove the cotter pin and pull the locking pin to free the steps. Others use bolts and hardware that will require the use of professional tools. Prepare for future issues by learning about the process when the steps are new.
Maintain Your Steps
Regular maintenance will keep your steps operating smoothly for a long time. One of the most important things you can do to prevent damage is make sure they stay lubricated. Read your owners manual to find the lubrication guide, which outlines the points on retractable steps that should be lubricated on a regular basis.
Zach Lazzari is a freelance outdoor writer specializing in hunting, fly fishing and the general outdoors. He guided fly fishing trips for 10 years in Colorado, Alaska, Montana and Patagonia-Chile. Zach lives in Montana and splits time between the river and keyboard.