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How to Manually Retract RV Steps – Step by Step Guide

Writen by Tom Hank

Fact checked by Joseph Varney

how to manually retract rv steps

One of the standard features every recreational vehicle has is the steps, since we are already in the 21st century and everything is made for our convenience, most features of camper vans are automated.

One of the automated features of a camper van is the RV steps. However, what if the motorhome electric step won’t retract? It would be best if you knew how to manually retract RV steps just in case things malfunction and you are in the middle of nowhere.

Table of Contents

What Are the Tools That You Will Need


Prior to commencing the manual retraction of the RV steps, it is necessary that you prepare all the things you need in order to have a smooth-sailing motorhome steps manual retraction.

  • Pliers

Make sure to prepare all kinds of pliers to be able to grab the steps quickly when needed.

  • Wrench

This varies depending on your preference, whether you want to use the adjustable or the traditional one.

  • Screwdrivers

Decide whether you want to use the powered one or the manual screwdriver. It is also advisable to have extra screws on the side just in case you misplace or lose one.

Step-by-Step to Manually Retract RV Steps


Step 1: Park your RV

Taking precautions such as parking your RV truck in a decent place will prevent you from experiencing any hassle that may arise while retracting the RV steps.

It is necessary that your campervan is parked in a place that can provide you with an ample amount of light to avoid having trouble seeing what you are doing.

You can also opt to put a rock behind the wheels to keep your camper van stable while you do your thing. This is to keep it from rolling away from you while you do your task.

Step 2: Make sure that the motorhome steps are not powered

Prior to retracting the RV steps, make sure they are not powered. If the steps move accidentally, you may get injured.

Step 3: Find where the retraction mechanism is located

A life hack to find the retraction mechanism easily is to use your Kwikee RV steps manual or the guide of whichever brand you use. Kwikee is one of the most recommended brands for motorhome electric steps, and it also comes with a manual. Users can check out the Kwikee steps manual override system section.

There are three parts of the RV step mechanism that you should familiarize yourself with. These parts are the linkage bolt and pin that can also be in the form of a threaded nut and bolt, the step frame, and the step linkage.

Step 4: Take off linkage bolt or pin

When you have already found the pin or a threaded bolt and nut linkage, you may use the wrench or screwdrivers to take it off.

Step 5: Remove the connection between the step retraction mechanism and the step frame

Right after removing the connection pin between the step retraction mechanism and the step frame, you can now detach them from each other and make sure that the linkage is taken out of the connection slot.

Step 6: Retract the motorhome steps manually

After doing all the necessary steps and removing the linkage, by now, you will be able to retract the motorhome steps manually. You can also use a cord or a rope to tie the steps in place.

What Is an RV Step?

Usually, RV steps are overlooked because they are not very fancy. People are more drawn to aesthetics. But despite this, this is one of the essential RV accessories an RV owner must have. Without this, you will definitely have a hard time loading and unloading from your camper van.

There are different types of RV steps, an RV step that is permanently installed and a portable one. Which one you use will depend on your preference upon purchasing.

As their name implies, a permanently installed RV step is that one that will constantly be part of your motorhome vehicle. In contrast, the portable one comes in handy because it can be assembled and disassembled.

The most famous and low maintenance type of RV steps is the permanently installed RV step with two varieties: the manual and the automatic steps.

We recommend adding covers to the RV steps, as it can help improve your shoe’s grip on the steps.

Automatic RV Steps vs. Manual Electric RV Steps

An automatic RV step is equipped to extend automatically just when the door opens. It also withdraws once the door is being closed. This is mainly because of the magnetic switch attached at the edges of the door and the door frame.

On the other hand, a manual electric RV step only has a toggle switch that allows it to extend and retract.

Things to Keep in Mind When Retracting Rv Steps

  • Double-check if the main power lines are switched off
  • Double-check if the plug is disconnected from the motor; this is necessary when you try to change the motor

Common Issues You May Encounter With Your Rv Steps

Just like any other thing in this world, it is expected that you will experience problems with your RV steps. Below are some of them:

  • Motorhome steps will not retract

When you have automatic RV steps but they do not retract, the switches for the door & the door frame are not aligned correctly.

Moreover, the cause may be the override switch that makes the steps remain extended while the RV’s parked. To fix this, check and turn the control switch to the auto position.

  • RV steps are not extending

One thing that keeps the RV steps from extending is safety purposes. The override switch may prevent the extension of the steps when the ignition is on.

Moreover, it’s possible the battery power does not reach either the control board or the motor.


Learning how to manually retract RV steps will be your most significant advantage when they don’t work properly. Therefore, the knowledge you have gained by reading this quick step-by-step guide can someday be used, whether for yourself or just to help a fellow camper van owner.

In case you forget the steps, make good use of the manual that came together with the product you purchased. It is also advised that once you have returned from your trip or along the way home, it is better to have the RV steps checked and fixed by an experienced professional.

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