RV Door Awning Won’t Retract: How To Fix a Retractable Awning

Awnings keep things cool. Not only do you get shade when extended, but these awnings can also help keep the sun off your RV or trailer. When they do, that means your air conditioner does not have to work so hard. That way you stay cooler for less.

This problem is probably due to a malfunction in the motor or there is a wiring problem. Either way, you will have to investigate to get to the source, and hope you can fix it yourself. These problems may be easy to fix if you have the skills.

To learn more about this issue, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so that you can get your awning repaired quickly. In the meantime, retract it manually so you can depart on time for your next destination.

The Electric Awning Won't Retract


1. Battery and wiring.

A dead or low-powered battery will not move the motor to get the awning retracted or even extended.

Then loose, broken, or damaged wires will cut off the electricity so the motor does not move. If these two are your problem, then replace the wires or recharge your battery.

Since the awning is already open, you should be able to access the wires very easily. Turn the power off first, then disconnect the power wire. Turn the power back on and test the voltage. If the power is getting there, then the problem may be in the motor or gears.

Or the problem still lies with the awning wiring as rodents could easily chew through those wires and then you are looking at replacing those damaged wires. Or the wires were damaged by water. Look for a leak and repair the wires while sealing the leak.

2. The motor may have gone bad

This is always a possibility as motors tend to get old and parts begin to fail. The way to test the battery is to connect it directly to the battery supply and see if it turns on or not.

If not then, the motor has a problem. This leaves you with a decision, you either replace the motor with a new one or try to have it repaired or rebuilt.

3. Your RV’s engine is running

This is a safety feature put in place by RV makers. It is designed to stop you from forgetting to retract the awning and driving away. Before you go to retract the awning, check to see if the engine is running or not.

If not, then retract your awning. If so, cut the engine and then retract the awning. If all else fails, use the manual retract option until you can get the awning repaired.

The RV Door Awning Won't Retract


One of the sources of this problem is that many RV owners extend their awnings too far. What this does is create an opening for water to take advantage of this situation and collect on the fabric itself.

When that happens the awning could stretch out of shape making it difficult to retract the awning. The awning may buckle putting too much tension on the motor, which will then shut down to prevent any damage to the awning, etc.

If you see water collecting on the fabric, try to remove it as quickly as possible. For if you don’t the fabric may stretch and buckle. That will have you climbing up on the roof to stretch the fabric so it can be retracted.

If you hear a clicking sound when you press the retract button, then you have a bigger problem. The gears may be stripped or something is binding inside the motor area. The motor will shut down to prevent further damage.

If you do not hear anything, then you have a bad motor or at least one part has failed and needs replacing. Another source may be that the switch has gone bad, has a loose connection, or damaged wiring.

If everything else checks out, then look at the switch to see if there is a short or one of those aforementioned issues.

How To Fix a Retractable RV Awning


The solution to this problem will depend on what is wrong with the awning. Most of the time, the problems are not hard to fix. That is if you are handy with tools, etc., and know your way around electrical components.

The first thing to do is check your power supply. Your battery may have gone dead, you ran out of fuel in your generator, and so on. To fix this problem of no power source, check to make sure your batteries are fully charged. If not, recharge them before retracting the awning.

Other problems like loose, damaged, or broken wires, simply need you to take the time to replace those wires. Just make sure to turn the power off before you get started.

You can narrow down the possibilities by testing the system to see where the problem specifically lies. If you have power but no motor running, then you know it is the motor that is at fault.

Once you replace or repair the wiring, your motor should run and the awning should retract. However, if it is the motor, then you are looking at some expense to get it fixed.

It may just be a simple part, like a gear that needs to be replaced to get the awning up and running again. Just contact a dealer or RV parts store to get a replacement. Or simply buy a new motor and have it installed if you do not want to do it yourself.

Do a good investigation first, before tearing anything apart. The problem may be a simple one that requires no parts to get it working again.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace The RV Awning?


This is another depends on situation. Your cost will be due to the age of your RV or trailer, the size of the awning, the make and model of the awning, as well as labor and other charges.

In other words, you are looking at paying somewhere between $400 and $4000 for a replacement. Don’t forget, if you are not under warranty and want the dealer to replace it, you may pay even more. Dealers are not known to be economical repair shops.

The rule of thumb to follow when you are estimating how much it will cost you to replace your old awning is, the more moving parts, the more expensive the replacement and repair costs.

Manual awnings are usually at the low end of the scale and may cost you under $750 to repair or replace. When you use a dealer or even an RV awning installation company, you are looking at paying between $60 to $100 per hour just for labor.

We have not added in the installation fee many companies tack on. That can run between $180 to $1350 depending on the awning, etc. There is one way to escape paying all this money for a new awning.

If your old one was still under warranty and the breakdown was the manufacturer's fault, then you should be able to get a new one installed for free or at least for the cost of the deductible.

If it breaks down due to normal use, wear and tear, then usually, you are not covered.

How do I Replace My RV Awning?


This is not generally a difficult task to do. The first step will be to cut any power going to the awning. You do not need to get a shock when removing the old one.

Then disconnect any wires from your coach to the awning to make sure you can remove them without damaging those wires. After that, unhook the awning from its holder, if that is the way it is designed, and place it in a safe spot.

Next, you simply unscrew the holders from your RV or trailer. To put the new one on, it is best to follow the instructions that came with the awning. Those will give you a step-by-step process to follow.

If those instructions are not clear, then you screw the new holders into place, and then attach the awning to it. Re-connect the wires from your RV or trailer and the work should be done, except for the test.

Do the test to make sure the new awning is working and if not track down the problem and fix it.

Some Final Words

Awnings are great when the sun is out and the temperature levels are hot. They provide an enormous amount of shade and help keep your RV cooler. But they will fail on you at some point in time.

Fixing your awning is not that difficult, once you find the problem. If you are not at that age where you can do this simple work then hiring someone to help you is the best option. It shouldn’t take long to fix.

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