Motorhome step not working

Motorhome step not working DEFAULT

Thule Omnistep not working

Sincere apologies for the timing of this post! Our Omnistep stopped working around two years ago, but Motorhome Voyager misplaced the broken part! Alas, all is well and we are able to offer suggestions should you discover your Thule Omnistep not working.

Thule Omnistep not working

The first thing to do is fault find, and this sequence may help you.

  • Do you have power to the step? Press the out/retract button – can you hear the motor? If no, check the fuse, battery power and look for signs of a broken wire. Replace the fuse as necessary. Repeat the process.
  • If you have power to the step and can hear the motor trying to drive the step, but the step does not operate, you may have a broken gear or cog.
  • You will need to partially remove the step and the black cover to the left.
  • The photo below shows our broken cog.
Thule Omnistep not working

Thule Omnistep not working – replacement cog

The cog is fairly easy to replace but is better with two pairs of hands. A replacement cog, also known as a shaft can be sourced from eBay or Amazon at around. This YouTube link is particular helpful.


Steps Not Working

Question: Why will my steps not go up?

Answer: The most obvious source of the problem is that you have inadvertently hit a switch that turns off the automatic steps.

For instance, in our RV there is a toggle switch near the entry door that allows us to turn off the automatic steps. When it is in the OFF position, the steps will not go in or out automatically. So when we are parked in a site for a while, we turn it OFF, so the steps are always extended for us to use everyday.

When we are driving for the day, our RV has a fail-safe system that retracts the steps whenever the ignition is on. In addition, we also turn the step switch to the ON position. This way when we park in a parking lot or some other roadside stop in our travels, the steps only go out when we open the door and then they retract when we close the door. This way we are not causing a hazard for the steps (i.e., hitting a curb), or for anyone driving or passing close by the RV.

If the solution is not simply a matter of hitting a switch, then here are some some ideas for troubleshooting the problem. We don’t know if your steps are on a manual system or an automatic electrical system, so here are some suggestions for each:

Manual Steps:

If you have a manual step system then the repair might be simple. Start by lubricating all the moving parts, and visually inspect all the parts. Look for obstructions and bent or broken parts. If there is an obstruction then remove it. If there is a bent part, straighten it or replace it. A broken part may be difficult to replace. If you cannot fix the bent or broken part then you may have to replace the entire step.

Automatic/Electric Steps:

The problem could be either electrical or mechanical. It really does not matter which possible cause you start with – just make sure you do a thorough inspection. If you start with the mechanical aspect of the system, do as suggested above. Lubricate all the moving parts. As you lubricate, check for obstructions, loose parts (including wires) or bent or broken parts. If you find something, then try to fix it by removing the obstruction or straightening or replacing the part.

Once, the mechanical side has been inspected and lubricated, move on to the electrical system. Start by making sure you have power to the step motor. Then trace the wiring all the way to the battery. You are looking for loose or broken wires, poor continuity, bad grounds, or blown fuses. Do not forget to check for faulty parts or bad connections to the door switch sensor and the on/off switch to the steps.

If you still cannot determine what the problem is then contact the step manufacturer and/or Jayco for help. If that fails to bring results, then you will have to take the RV to a competent RV repair facility.

Hope that helps.

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There are very few issues more frustrating than your RV steps not working. It’s not only a problem of inconvenience but also of safety when entering and exiting your camper or travel trailer. This guide will simplify the job of fixing RV steps.

Why are your RV steps not working? These easy checks will help you troubleshoot why your RV steps are not working:

  • Check to see if any wires or debris are in the way
  • Check for power at the motor
  • Check for power at the control board
  • Check for power at the switches

Here, we’ll be showing you how to fix your RV steps, as well as discuss the parts and other things related to them that every RV owner should know.

Electric RV Steps: Automatic and Manual

Automatic RV Steps

Automatic RV steps automatically extend when the door opens and immediately retract on their own as soon as the door closes. This is made possible thanks to the magnetic switch located at the bottom part of the frame and door.

They also automatically retract when you start the ignition. This is a safety precaution so that you don’t begin to drive with your steps down.

Manual Electric RV Steps

Meanwhile, manual electric RV steps feature a switch that you need to toggle to either extend or retract them. You won’t find any door switch because its movement happens manually.

There’s also no ignition switch that prevents you from driving with your steps extended, in case you forget.

CAUTION: Never work under an RV automatic electric step. Serious injury can occur if the steps extend or retract unintentionally. Always remove power from the steps of your motorhome or travel trailer before working on them.

RV Electric Step Problems

The most common issues electric RV steps face are not retracting and not extending properly. Here’s an in-depth explanation on that:

RV steps will not retract.

Your automatic electric RV step should immediately retract as soon as the magnet on the door and door frame align with each other. Sometimes, the steps will not retract if the door and door frame magnet switches aren’t perfectly aligned. 

There is often an override switch that allows the steps to stay extended when parked. Make sure the switch is in the auto position or the steps will not function automatically from the door switch.

If the electric steps on your camper are not automatic the only control for them is the rocker switch. Make sure that the rocker switch is working properly and that power is making it to and from your switch when it is pressed. See more details below

RV steps will not extend.

The RV steps should fully extend when the door is opened or the extend button is held. but if the ignition is on then the override switch may be preventing them from extending for safety.

Another reason your RV steps will not extend is that the battery power may not be reaching the motor or control board.

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RV Steps Making Noise But Not Moving 

Doing a careful visual inspection is the first thing to do when looking for a solution if your RV steps make noise but aren’t moving. Check the underside of the steps and look for any debris that might be caught in between the linkage.

It’s possible that the steps make noise because the motor is trying to move them but something is stopping it.

Listen closely to where the noise is coming from. The most usual places where the sound might come from are the step frame and the gear and motor linkage. If the sound is too loud, then it’s most likely due to a malfunctioning gear and motor linkage. Remove and inspect each part to see what is really malfunctioning.

Check For Damaged Wiring

The wiring carries the power from the battery to the switches, motor and motor controller of the RV steps. The wiring should be securely tied to the steps and frame to prevent them from catching on road debris.

Make sure that the wires are properly secured without hanging loops and that they aren’t entangled with each other or stretched.

They should also be connected to their respective ports and must be clean from debris such as dirt, and corrosion. Using contact cleaner on the connectors can help extend the life of the electric steps on your camper or travel trailer.

All grounding wires should be making a solid connection to the chassis of the motorhome or trailer and should not have rust between the connections.

Battery Voltage

Check for power at the motor.

The motor is located under the top step and actuates a mechanical linkage to extend and retract the steps. The motor is robust and reliable but can fail due to age or if operated with debris preventing the step from moving. 

Electric RV Step Motor Voltage Check

Make sure that the electric RV step motor is operating when it receives 12VDC. To check this, you need to disconnect the motor from the controller.

Check the DC voltage reading using a multimeter. Activate it and make sure that it has a reading of 12 volts. If it shows a positive or negative 12 volts, then there’s possibly something wrong with your motor.

Check For Power at The Control Board.

The motor controller board is the brains of your RV steps. This ensures that you can control the RV steps with a push of a button or by flicking a toggle switch. It features a motherboard that is weather resistant but can fail over time due to a life in harsh environments.

Motor Controller Board

The control board takes the incoming signals from the switches and decides whether the steps should extend or retract. to control the extension and retraction voltage is sent in different directions through the motor.

Electric RV Step Motor Control Board Checks

Your electric RV step might not be working due to a bad motor control board. Check to make sure all the plugs from the motor, switches, and grounds are securely connected to the module and devices.

Disconnect the input power cable that provides voltage from the battery to the motor control board. The controller is a black box mounted beneath the top step.

Use a voltmeter to check for 12VDC on the power wire which is typically red. Also, verify the green ground wire is properly secured to the chassis of the motorhome or trailer.

There’s also a power cable that extends from the step motor to the controller. Check for loose cables and ensure they’re dry and free from corrosion and dust as these can stop it from functioning.

Check for power at the switches.

The switches have to be activated for the voltage to reach the motor and extend or retract the electric steps of your motorhome. Make sure there is no corrosion on the switch connections and that the wires are making good connections.

Extend Retract Rocker Switch

This is the switch that you use to either extend or retract the electric RV steps manually. This comes in different shapes and styles, but the usual ones are toggle or rocker switches to move the electric steps up and down.

Magnetic Switch

On Automatic RV steps, the magnetic switch is the one that makes your steps extend when the door opens and ensures that your RV steps retract when the door closes. There is a magnetic switch found on the sides of the door and the door frame. These should be aligned perfectly for the electric steps to automatically retract.

Voltage Check

Ensure that the rocker switch is working properly by using a voltmeter to check for the 12 volts DC located at the back of the switch.

Check the DC voltage by measuring with a voltmeter between the contacts of the switch. The voltmeter should read 12VDC if the button is not pressed and 0VDC when the button is pressed.

If the switch is removed it can be checked with the meter on the resistance setting Ω. The meter should read OL with the switch not pressed and 0Ω with the button pressed. The resistance check can only be done with the switch disconnected from power.

RV Step Maintenance

Electric RV steps are mostly maintenance-free. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need to take care of them. Make it a habit to clean them regularly. Use a brush to clean its sides and hinges and remove any debris that may get caught in them. 

Also, lubricate the steps at least once every month. Use a lithium-based grease when lubricating. You can also spray some lubricant to every point. Inspect the wires regularly to make sure they are secured properly and ensure that all connections are tight and secure.

Final Thoughts

By simply following the tips mentioned in this article, you should have all the knowledge to correct the problem of your RV steps not working. You should be able to save money by fixing your RV steps and get more familiar with their operation and regular maintenance.

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The most costly parts of RV ownership are repairs and maintenance. That’s why I recommend learning to do your own RV repair and maintenance.

The Fix It Yourself RV Maintenance Course is the perfect way to learn how to do the most common repairs and maintenance on your RV. A Certified RV Technician wrote and filmed the course so you know the information is actually correct.

Plus it’s downloadable so you can access it from anywhere, even when boondocking in the middle of nowhere with no service.

Find out more about the best RV Maintenance and Repair Course available!


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Step working motorhome not

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Most Common Problem w/ RV AUTO STEPS - Solved My Kwikee Step Woes - RV Life

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