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RV Entrance Steps and Your Battery - How they work.

Updated on January 10, 2020
Don Bobbitt profile image

Don has been an avid traveler and motorhome owner for most of his life and he shares his experiences along with valuable tips for RV owners.

Powered RV Entrance Steps by Kwikee

Popular Kwikee brand of RV entrance steps.
Popular Kwikee brand of RV entrance steps. | Source

When Entrance Steps Stop Operating

I was sitting outside my Rv the other day anda fellow camper came by with a worried look in his eyes.

He and I had been in this particular campground for over a week and he was a lot like me in that he loved to talk about camping.

So, I invited him to sit down and have a cup of coffee with me. As I poured him a cup of coffee, he started telling me about a problem he was having with his RV.

He said; Don, I'll be pulling out in a few days, so I was going through my checkout list of things to check before we pulled out. But, when I checked out my entrance steps, they would not retract or open, no matter what I tried.

He took the coffee from me and then asked; Do you have any idea what could be wrong?

He explained that he had done as he always had and just flipped the STAIR switch next to the door, but this time nothing had happened.

Use Your MAIN Cut-Off Switch

After thinking a minute I asked him if he had reset set his MAIN CUT-OFF switch when he had set up his motorhome in his campsite. Well, he thought for a minute and as his face turned red, he looked at me and said.

You know DON, I honestly don't remember.

So, I explained to him that with a motorhome the entrance steps were powered by the Engine battery and not by the COACH battery.

The motorhome manufacturers wired the entrance steps to the engine battery for several reasons, but the main reason is that the entrance steps need to operate when you are driving down the road and making stops at places such as; rest areas, gas stations, and other such temporary stopovers.

Normally you would just open the door and set the STAIR switch to the appropriate position where the step stays locked in the extended position; but then each time you turn your ignition switch ON, the step circuit will be reset and you will need to go through this process over and over.

One of the things many motorhome owners forget to do once they are at a campsite or especially when they put their motorhome in storage, is to open the door and let the steps extend, and then they need to set the Cut-Off switch so that the steps stay extended regardless of whether the door is open or closed.

By setting these two switches the way I mention here, the steps will be extended for use while you are setting at your campsite, and the entrance steps will not continually operate by opening and closing and eventually drawing down the Engine battery.

Entrance Steps on a Camper Trailer

The Entrance Steps on Camper Trailers are wired differently than with a motorhome because of the obvious fact that they do not have an engine. So these campers will have the entrance steps wired to the COACH battery.

Because of this difference, the owner simply needs to use the STAIR (or STEP) switch to extend the entrance steps and then set it to the position where the steps stay open regardless of whether the entrance door is open or closed.

NOTE: So remember, when you are running around the country in your motorhome, camping here and there, keep your Engine battery from being discharged and use your CUT-OFF Switch to lock your Entrance Steps in the desired position once you get to your destination.

Kwikee RV Steps Maintenance and Service

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Don Bobbitt


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    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      10 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Liz - Thanks, I realized there are a number of these little things that make RV traveling unique and I thought this would help some of those who experience this problem.


    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      10 months ago from UK

      This is a useful tip for anyone with these steps. A flat battery is very frustrating.


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