Troubleshooting a Stuck Awning in 11 Easy Steps


Stuck Awning in RV

As a long-time RV owner, I’ve learned that even reliable awnings can have their issues when it comes to retracting and extending itself. If your awning is stuck, this guide will help you figure out what’s wrong and how you can fix it.

How do you troubleshoot a stuck awning? You will first need to determine whether your awning can’t extend, or retract. From there, you’re going to need to take a closer look at your equipment to figure out the fix. Troubleshooting will include brief tests to ensure you have the correct cause identified.

It may seem like an intimidating course, but don’t worry. Troubleshooting a stuck awning doesn’t have to be rocket science. More information detailing how to troubleshoot an awning can be found if you keep reading.

Awning Will Not Extend

Stuck awnings have two major problems: they either don’t extend, or they don’t retract. An awning that doesn’t extend won’t let you get any shade. It’s a pain, right? Before you start poking around your awning, check to see if your awning has been recalled.

Believe it or not, awning recalls are fairly common. Awnings are typically recalled for having poorly manufactured parts, which could be the root cause of your awning’s malfunction. If your awning has a recall, you can get repairs for free!

Troubleshooting this is pretty simple. Here’s what to do…

  1. Check the circuit breakers and fuses first. If you don’t hear any motor function at all, check the awning’s fuse, as it may be broken. If the fuse is stable, take a look at the electrical equipment in your RV’s motor.
  2. Look for any visible corroded wiring in and around your awning’s motor. Your motor won’t work if the electrical current powering it isn’t being carried efficiently. Do you see any frayed or corroded wires? If so, bad wiring may be to blame for your awning’s malfunction.
  3. Check to see if the awning is improperly loaded. Awnings that aren’t rolled into their tube evenly will not be able to extend properly. This results in an awning jam.
  4. Press the awning motor button. If your motor’s running but not retracting, get a friend to manually roll out the awning from the tube while you hold the extension button. Rain can occasionally cause the awning’s parts to corrode, making it difficult for the motor to work to its full capacity. A full pull is often enough to shake the rust loose.
  5. If the motor is running and you keep hearing a faint click, it could be a stripped screw or motor issue. This requires professional care, since it involves replacing important motor parts with a high degree of skill and accuracy.

Awning Will Not Retract

If not getting shade seemed bad, wait until you realize how annoying it can be to have an awning that won’t retract. Along with it being a mild driving hazard, an awning that won’t retract may cause you to deal with less-than-stellar inconveniences during your camping outing.

Much like awnings that won’t extend, non-retracting awnings are also reasons to search for a recall. Should nothing pop up, it’s time to start troubleshooting your stuck awning. Here’s what to do:

  1. Check to see if the awning is properly positioned on the rail. Both manual and electric awnings have difficulty retracting if they aren’t positioned evenly on the rail. Are the awning arms stretching the fabric evenly, keeping things parallel? If not, you may need to call a service group or manually shift the awning over to fix it.
  2. Check the screws on the awning chords. Can you move the awning’s chords? If so, that’s not a good sign. This suggests that your chords’ screws are loose, which could be interfering with your awning.
  3. Move the awning’s arms. If your awning’s arms aren’t moving parallel to each other and working smoothly, then this could be a sign that you need awning arm repair. If they’re just rusty, using some WD-40 can help.
  4. Look at the fabric. If you left your awning open during heavy rain, there’s a chance your fabric may have gotten warped as a result of water and debris accumulation. The only fix to warped fabric is to replace your awning’s fabric.
  5. Check your awning’s fuses, wiring, and circuit breakers. Much like an awning that won’t extend, electrical issues can also cause an awning to be unable to retract.
  6. If your motor runs and you don’t see improvement, get a professional to check the motor. It could be a broken piece in your motor, or it could be something else entirely. That being said, this is highly unusual.

When To Call A Professional

We all love the idea of being able to save money on repairs by taking a DIY approach, but sometimes, that’s just not doable. If you feel like the job requires more skill than you have, or if the job involves replacing or adjusting important parts of your awning, call a professional. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Can An Awning Be Unfixable?

Though awnings might have a reputation for being prone to breaking, it’s really difficult to have an awning that is truly unfixable. Most awning parts can be replaced, fixed, and upgraded. Unless the entire awning is destroyed, chances are that you still have an awning worth fixing.

Additional Questions

  • How do you clean an awning? The easiest way to clean the underside of an awning is to wrap a microfiber towel around a broom, and use it to clean the awning. If you want to clean the top, use a towel sprayed with cleaning solvent on a broom to get the job done. Just make sure to let the awning dry before you retract it!
  • How do you prevent damage to your awnings? If you’re not using your awnings for shade, keep them retracted. The less time they spend being exposed to wind and other elements, the less likely it is they’ll break.
  • Is water dangerous for awnings? Water can damage awning fabric as well as the mechanisms that let it extend and retract. That’s why it’s best to avoid storing an awning while it’s still wet.

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