Manual RV Awning Won’t Open

Do you have problems where your manual RV awning won’t open? As an RV owner, one of the things you will learn is that even dependable awnings could have their problems, especially when we talk about retracting and extending themselves. If you are suffering from this problem, this article will help you understand what is wrong and how you can easily resolve it.

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You may be wondering, how can you troubleshoot a jammed awning? The first thing you must do is to identify whether your awning cannot extend or retract. From there, you must take a close look at the equipment to understand the fix. Keep in mind that troubleshooting will involve short tests to make sure you have the proper cause identified.

It may look like an overwhelming endeavor, but you don’t need to worry. Troubleshooting a stuck awning in your RV does not have to be rocket science. Read further to know more about how to troubleshoot an awning.

How Does an RV Awning Work?

A standard awning will feature a metal framework that could support the fabric’s weight that offers coverage. That frame must extend and retract easily without needing to be forced.

Also, there will be a spindle placed in a housing that rolls and unrolls, maintaining the fabric consistently stored and neat. There will also be a tension spring keeping the material taut when the awning is extended. That spring must keep enough force on the fabric to help roll that back up when retracting.

Manual RV Awning Not Opening

Do you have a manual RV awning? Then you might find yourself in luck as there are other causes for the awning to be stuck. Is the awning stuck in the upright position? You will want to begin by ensuring the mechanisms holding it in place are not locked.

Here are a few steps you can do when working with your awnings:

  • Release the awning and try to pull the strap.
  • The awning will disengage. Pay attention to the things hooking up on the fabric.
  • Check the frame to ensure it’s not warped or bent.
  • Lubricate the frame’s hinges. There must be a tension lock on both ends of the awning. Ensure those are properly released.
  • Unroll the awning as far as you can and remove the caps.
  • Pay close attention as there will be a tension spring under one of the cats. You might need to use a screwdriver.
  • Remove the tension from the awning. If you found a point at which the fabric is suspended, remedy whatever the situation is causing.
  • Change the caps.

RV Awning Won’t Retract

If not receiving shade looks bad, wait until you realize how frustrating it can be to have an awning that will not retract. Together with it being a mild driving hazard, an awning that will not retract might cause you to deal with less-than-stellar inconveniences during the camping outing.

Much like awnings that will not extend, non-retracting awnings are also reasons to look for a recall. Should nothing arise, it is time for you to begin troubleshooting the stuck awning. Here are the steps you need to take.

  1. First, make sure you check if the awning is correctly positioned on the rail. Remember that both electric and manual awnings struggle retracting if they are not placed consistently on the trail. Are the awning arms stretching the fabric consistently, keeping things in parallel? If that is not the case, you may need to get in touch with a service group or shift the awning manually to fix it.
  2. See the screws on the awning chords. Can you easily move the chords of the awnings? If so, that is not a good indication. That only implies that the screws of the chords are loose that could be interrupting the awning.
  3. Move the arms of the awning. For the next step, you need to move the awning’s arms. Having a not moving awning parallel to one another and working smoothly means it is a sign you must need an awning arm repair. Using a WD-40 could help if they are only rusty.
  4. Check the fabric. Do you leave the awning open during massive rain? Then there is a high possibility your fabric might have gotten warped because of debris and water build-up. The only fix on this matter is to change the fabric of your awning.
  5. Check the circuit breakers, wiring, and fuses of the awnings. Electrical problems can cause an awning to be unable to retract, much like an awning that will not extend.
  6. Get a professional to check the motor if the motor runs, and you do not notice any improvement. You may not know it yet, but it could be a broken piece in your motor, or it could be something else. That being said, that is highly unusual.

Manual RV Awning Won’t Open

Did you know that stuck awnings have two main issues? They either do not retract or do not extend. An awning that does not extend will not allow you to receive any shade. How frustrating is that? Before you begin poking around the awning, make sure you check if the awning has been recalled first.

Whether you believe it or not, awning recalls are relatively typical. Awnings are often recalled for having sub-par manufactured parts. That could become the root cause of the malfunction of your awnings. Fortunately, you can get repairs for free if the awning has a recall.

Troubleshooting this problem is relatively easy. Here is what you must do.

  1. Check the fuses and circuit breakers first. Do you not hear any motor function at all in your awning? Then make sure you check its fuse because it might be broken. Is the fuse stable? You can then take a look at the electrical component in the motor of your RV.
  2. Check for any visible corroded wiring in and around the motor of your awning. Remember that no motor will not work when the electrical current powering it is not being carried effectively. Do you notice any corroded or frayed wires? If yes, bad wiring might be to blame for the malfunction of your awning.
  3. Look if the awning is not properly loaded. Awnings that are not rolled into the tube consistently won’t extend accordingly. That leads to an awning jam.
  4. Hit the awning motor button. Get someone to manually even out the awning from the tube while you press the extension if your motor is running but not retracting. Don’t forget the fact that rain can cause the components of the awning to corrode. That makes it more challenging for the motor to function to its full capacity. Further, a full pull is sometimes enough to jiggle the rust loose.
  5. Is the motor running, and do you still keep hearing a faint click? That could be a motor problem or a stripped screw. That needs a professional car, as it involves changing vital motor components with a high level of accuracy and skill.

When to call an expert to help you?

Everyone probably loves the concept of being able to save a huge amount of money on repairs by taking the Do-It-Yourself approach. However, that is not at all times doable. Do you feel like the job needs more skills than you currently have? Maybe the job will involve changing or adjusting crucial components of your awning.

In that case, you must call a professional right away. It is better to be safe than sorry. Always keep that in mind.

Can your awning be unfixable?

Awnings might have a reputation for being susceptible to breaking. Nonetheless, it is quite challenging to have an awning that is genuinely unfixable. Many awning parts could be upgraded, fixed, and replaced. Unless the whole awning is ruined, the chances are that you have an awning that is worth fixing.


Problems with your RV awning could look stressful and time-consuming at first, but the system itself is relatively easy and simple to work with, given you can do so properly and safely. Do not try to make any necessary changes to the fabric or the tension on an RV awning on your own.

That might also come in handy later on should you pick to change the fabric of the awning, as the steps are quite the same. We hope you find this article informative and helpful at the same time.