RV Awning Troubleshooting (Complete Guide by Brand)

RV awnings are fickle. Sometimes they work flawlessly, and sometimes they won’t retract at all. So if yours is acting up, before you pay for a repair, take a moment to review this complete guide on RV awning troubleshooting.

Most Common Issues Quick Fix Best Solution
Will extend but not retract Use a hand-crank to retract or insert a 7/16 socket on the end of a drill and insert it into the small hole on the motor to retract Replace the motor. Remove the front cover, and unscrew the 3 bolts to remove the old motor. Disconnect 2 wires. Replace with new motor (20-minute job)
Mold or Mildew on the canvas Spray a 50/50 mix of hydrogen peroxide and water onto the canvas (don’t use bleach) Never put an awning away when wet. During rain, it’s a good idea to keep the awning retracted as rain often brings winds that can bend the frame.
Rolls up crooked The problem is likely caused by the frame being out of alignment with the mounts on the side of the RV. Remove the screw (often top right) that holds the awning fabric to the mount on the RV. Remove the screw, slide the awning by hand until it’s square. Replace the screw. Check the opposite end and do the same. Run the awning and adjust again if necessary.
Tears in the fabric Clear Gorilla tape works well for tears at or near where the awning connects to the RV. Apply from the roof on the top for a completely discrete repair. For the long-term, replacing the fabric is ideal (but costly), but Gorilla tape repairs should last 1-2 years. Wash the awning a few times a year and apply 303 Marine Protectant a few times a year to maximize the lifespan. And never roll it up when wet.

This awning troubleshooting guide aims to tackle the most common problems RV owners face.

There are a ton of brands of awnings around, and they all share some common issues that are prevalent. Sure, certain models of certain awning companies have unique problems, but they can only be resolved by the company itself.

As for the common issues, there are common do-it-yourself solutions that can make your life a bit easier.

You can’t go to a company shop all the time, especially when you’re traveling around and camping in remote areas.

Even access to a local workshop is limited, especially when there is a slight issue with the awning. Thankfully, there are easy-to-follow troubleshooting methods that can get your awning working as intended in no time at all. I do recommend you keep grease on hand and regularly apply it where necessary.

rv awning troubleshooting lg

I want to split this RV awning troubleshooting guide by brands. 

Some brands use a hand crank while others are motorized, so they have different issues when it comes to their functioning.

And sometimes RV awnings aren’t covered by insurance. Here’s a recent article that digs a bit deeper about the insurance coverage for RV awnings and what RV insurance usually covers.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

The solutions we will be tackling may apply to other brands as well, so even if you are not talking about your specific awning brand, this troubleshooting guide is worth a look.

LCI RV Awning Troubleshooting

Lippert Components Inc. makes some of the best RV components, especially awnings.

However, just like anything else that’s mechanical, there can be issues regarding their RV awnings. The most common one is the motor.

The LCI RV awnings are motorized for your convenience, but having a malfunctioning or damaged motor can render the awning almost useless. Unfortunately, apart from checking the usual damage, you cannot do much about the whole motor.

You’ll need to call in a professional to take the components apart and replace faulty ones.

Having a faulty motor will give you problems when retracting or extending the awnings and can be a driving hazard if it stops working midway.

Thankfully, LCI RV awnings do come with a manual override crank that you can use to retract or extend the awning with relative ease.

In some cases, you can order a replacement motor and replace it on the awning yourself if you are good with DIY projects. LCI Solera RV awnings are of high quality and quite popular.

However, they can also have extension issues if not used properly.

Most Common Issue Quick Fix Best Solution
Will extend but not retract Use a hand-crank to retract or insert a 7/16 socket on the end of a drill and insert it into the small hole on the motor to retract Replace the motor. Remove the front cover, and unscrew the 3 bolts to remove the old motor. Disconnect 2 wires. Replace with new motor (20-minute job)

Dometic RV Awning Troubleshooting

I’ve heard a lot of people complain about Dometic RV awning not extending properly.

There is nothing wrong with the product. At least, I haven’t found any quality issues. However, there is an inherent chance of any awning not extending properly.

The issue is magnified in Dometic awnings simply because of how popular their awnings are. The price is also quite reasonable, all things considered, and I genuinely think they make a great product.

First things first though, check the fuses first.

That is if your Dometic is motorized. If the motor isn’t functioning at all, the fuse might be blown. If the fuse seems to be doing alright, checking out the other electrical components might help.

But is it time to replace it? And what is the shelf life of RV equipment?

RV equipment has a working life. Take a look at a recent article that talks about how long the overall equipment in an RV lasts. I also share 1 crucial tip that can extend the life of your RV’s equipment by 20%.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Secondly, check for any corroded wiring. Bad wiring seems to be the leading cause of the motor not working in awnings.

If all seems OK, checking whether the awning is loaded properly or not can do the trick. Sometimes awnings aren’t rolled properly into their tubes and that can jam the whole apparatus.

KeyStone RV Awning Troubleshooting

If your KeyStone RV awning isn’t retracting, I highly recommend the usage of WD-40.

It’s a miracle worker, and in most cases, the grease would be enough to grease the wheels of the awnings and get it working like new.

The motor, if burnt, can’t be fixed with it, but if something is making it struggle, a quick spray of WD-40 will not only blow away any debris but also make the process go smoother.

You probably have some WD40 at home. If not, you can grab some on Amazon at a great price.

In some cases, a faulty motor is drawing too much power and, as a result, blowing fuses. Make sure you check the fuse before considering changing the motor.

Keeping an eye on the circuit breakers as well as the wiring is also essential if you want a perfectly working Keystone RV Awning.

If the awning is still not retracting, check whether it is properly positioned on the rail or not. Electric and manual awnings can have trouble retracting if they aren’t positioned evenly on the rails.

It is important that both awning arms extend equally and keep everything parallel.

Carefree RV Awning Troubleshooting

If your Carefree RV awning is giving you trouble extracting or retracting, there can be several factors.

However, the biggest one I’ve seen in my experience is the proper care of the fabric. If your awning saw heavy rain while extended, there is a high chance that the fabric is warped due to the water weight. This, unfortunately, means you’ll need to replace the fabric altogether.

RV awning fabric has some elasticity to it. Once that’s overextended due to rainwater accumulation, there is no choice but to replace the fabric.

Sure, you can tighten it up for a while but once damaged, the fabric will start giving you trouble. I recommend that you close the awning during heavy rain, or if you love to sit outside in the rain like me, periodically check if the awning is collecting water or not.

Taking care of your Carefree RV awning is easy.

Just wrap a microfiber cloth on a stick or a broom and clean the awning using it. You can also use a cleaning product on the broom and clean the top side of the awning without the worry of it being damaged. If the awning isn’t in use, retract it. This will save it from being needlessly exposed to external damage.

Usually speaking, water isn’t great for awnings.

Even if the awning is advertised as waterproof, it is best to keep it away from water. Water can damage the fabric as well as the electrical motor that is used to make it work.

Also, remember not to store the awning when it is still wet, that can also damage the fabric, and there is a chance of mildew forming on it as well.

But will mildew really accumulate on it, and aren’t RV awnings waterproof?

Here is a recent article that talks about whether awnings are waterproof or not. I look at all the different types and how some might be waterproof while others are only water-resistant, and what that really means.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Are Solera RV Awnings the Same as LCI?

Yes, Solera RV Awnings are made by LCI. Lippert makes Solera RV Awnings as well as other models. Solera awnings usually feature internal motors to facilitate easy extraction and retraction of the awnings.

They also have friction joints that allow for easy rain dumps.


RV awning troubleshooting is an easy business, especially if you know where to start.

The awnings are fickle beings though, so they need good care from you. Make sure you properly inspect them before closing the awning. If you see any kind of water or moisture on the awning, do not roll it back.

Water is the number one enemy of awnings and can not only damage internal components but can also mess with the electrical components.

Making sure your awning arms are parallel, the fabric clean and without moisture, and the motor relatively silent should be your normal ritual.

This will not only extend the life of your awning but also make the awning extend easily whenever you require it.

Of course, some problems will require a professional and perhaps a visit to a workshop, but for everything else, proper maintenance will keep your awning working wonderfully for years.

Image by Koun G from Pixabay

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