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How to Manually Retract RV Steps in Only 4 Easy Steps

Written by Philip Lopez / Fact checked by Paul Lemaire

how to manually retract rv steps

It might be a frequent occurrence that you find your RV steps not working after using them for a while. My electric Kwikee RV steps sometimes do not get back to their closed position after a quick stop. It is indeed frustrating.

In such cases, we can search for the manuals of your RV steps, which is, in my case, the Kwikee RV steps manual.

If you are here because of one of those inconvenient times again, read here to know how to manually retract RV steps.

All you need is a few tools and the courage to go underneath the steps. Remove the driver pin that connects the whole retraction mechanism and tie the steps into place.

Learn more about the steps below.

Table of Contents

What to Prepare

  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Wrenches
  • Zip ties
  • Hammer
  • Grease
  • New motor

Step-by-step Instructions

Step 1: Troubleshoot


The motorhome steps will not retract easily with force once stuck; a minor repair can help solve your problem.

  • Check the adhesive on the magnetic switch. You might have forgotten to peel off the paper, resulting in an RV step stuck in down position when you drove.
  • Make sure the magnet switch is in the correct position. RV steps won’t retract when the magnet switches are misaligned.
  • Tap the motor with a hammer. If the RV step works, your motor might be worn out, or you have bad brushes.
  • Sometimes, the steps are not retracting because there’s too much rust buildup. Take the RV steps apart and lubricate each moving point with good penetrating grease.

Step 2. Remove The Pins

If none of the troubleshooting tips work, it’s time to go under. Double-check with your RV manual to find the exact location. In most cases, it’s under the RV steps.

  • You may find the step controller underneath, which is that small triangular box, motor, and gearbox.
  • Locate that small single cotter pin and the larger linkage pin that connects the frame and the mechanism.
  • Using a pair of needle-nose pliers, pull the cotter pin out.
  • Push the larger linkage pin through the step frame.
  • Pull the linkage away from the step frame and slide it to the side. Be careful with this particular step because the arm might swing when you pull it out.
  • For a coach step, there’s only a threaded bolt and nut instead of a cotter pin and linkage pin. Remove that bolt to remove the linkage out using a wrench.

Step 3: Manually Retract The Steps


Now that all those pins or bolts are out, it’s time to manually retract the steps and return them into place.

  • Push the steps up. Lift every track until it rolls toward the end.
  • When the motor tends to get the steps stuck halfway, go under the steps and push them back by hand.
  • If you only deal with a particular step, slacken the track from one side and move the stair manually back into place.
  • Hold the folded steps up with zip ties to keep them in place. This is only a temporary solution before you provide a permanent fix.

Step 4: Replace The Motor

The zip ties can’t secure your RV steps for too long. You need to get the steps fixed right away. In most cases, the motor might be the problem, especially if it makes loud noises during operation.

  • Manually pull the step out. Make sure that the step is in the extended position.
  • Disconnect the wire connector that’s coming from the RV.
  • Remove the plug on the side to disconnect the power going to the motor.
  • Using a socket wrench, remove the bolts that hold the motor down to the gear assembly. Hold the motor while loosening the last bolt because it may just fall onto the ground.
  • Take out the washers and tiny gear from the old motor, then transfer them to the new motor. Apply some grease on the gear before assembly.
  • Bolt the new motor into the gear assembly, then reconnect all the wire connections.

Here’s a video to show you how to fix your electric step when it won’t retract or extend all the way.


I hope that you know how to manually retract RV steps after reading this article. You need to know these tricks so you avoid dealing with dangling stairs while traveling. This is especially helpful for electric steps where the motor or mechanism might get damaged.

You can also share this article with your friends if you like it.

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