5 Common GM Power Running Board Problems

GM power running boards are a convenient feature that provides easy access to your vehicle. These retractable steps extend and retract automatically, offering a convenient and stylish solution for getting in and out of your truck or SUV.

However, like any other vehicle component, power running boards may encounter problems over time. Some common issues include motor failure, damaged wiring, and obstructions in the step assembly. Don’t worry; by being aware of these potential issues and learning how to troubleshoot them, you can keep your power running boards functioning properly and enjoy the convenience they offer.

Symptoms of Running Board Malfunctions

When your GM power running boards experience issues, you might notice several symptoms or changes in functionality. If your running boards are not working at all, they might not extend or retract when you open or close the vehicle door. This can be caused by various factors, such as a motor failure, damaged or corroded wiring, faulty power step motor, or a malfunctioning step controller or module.

In some cases, you might find that your power steps only partially drop down or they extend and retract very slowly. This can indicate obstructions in the power step assembly, weak or dead vehicle battery, misaligned or damaged step assembly, or physical damage to the power steps themselves. Additionally, you might hear strange noises coming from your running boards – a clicking or grinding sound may signal a problem with the motor or moving parts.

To prevent running board malfunctions and ensure optimal operation, it’s essential to conduct regular maintenance and inspect the overall condition of your power steps. Keeping your running boards clean and free of dirt, debris, and corrosion can help reduce the risk of problems arising. Check for any visible issues such as loose, frayed, or damaged wiring and connectors. Also, keep an eye on the mounting brackets and step assembly itself for signs of wear, warping, or physical damage.

It’s important to address these symptoms as soon as you notice them, as ignored issues may lead to more complex and costly repairs down the road. In many cases, a quick trip to your local dealership or mechanic can diagnose and resolve the problem efficiently, ensuring your power running boards are functioning smoothly and safely.

Common Running Board Problems

Corrosion and Rust

You may notice corrosion and rust on your GM power running boards if they are exposed to harsh weather conditions or road salt. Over time, this can lead to the running board becoming stuck or not extending properly. To prevent this issue, it is essential to clean your running boards, tracks, and other components regularly and keep them free from dirt, debris and rust.

Inadequate Lubrication

Running boards require proper lubrication to function smoothly. Lack of lubrication can cause the moving parts to wear out prematurely and generate more friction in the system. Make it a habit to lubricate your running boards’ moving parts during routine maintenance to ensure their longevity and keep them operating smoothly.

Motor Failure

The motor is a critical component in your power running boards. Without a functioning motor, the running board won’t extend or retract correctly. Motor failure can occur due to wear and tear, but also as a result of inadequate lubrication or exposure to water, which can cause short circuits. Inspect your running board motor regularly and replace it if necessary.

Disconnect in Wiring

Wiring issues might prevent your running boards from functioning properly. Damaged or disconnected wires can cause intermittent running board operation or complete failure. Regularly inspect the wiring for any signs of damage, such as fraying or corrosion, and repair or replace as needed.

Faulty Sensors or Switches

Your GM power running boards rely on sensors and switches to function correctly. If these components fail, you may experience problems with the extension and retraction of the running boards. Start by checking for any diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) related to the power steps using an OBD-II scanner. If any codes are present, follow the troubleshooting steps to resolve the issue. If the issue persists, the step controller, sensor, or switch may need to be replaced.

By taking care of these common running board problems, you can ensure that your GM power running boards remain functional and reliable. Regular maintenance, cleaning, and inspections can go a long way in preventing these issues and keeping your vehicle in top condition.

Diagnosis and Repair

When experiencing problems with your GM power running boards, there are two approaches you can take to diagnose and repair the issues – professional repair or a DIY approach. This section will explore both methods, provide guidance on what to expect, and ensure you make an informed decision when addressing your running board troubles.

Professional Repair

If you’re not comfortable working on your vehicle, or if the problem seems complex, it’s a good idea to take your vehicle to a mechanic or the dealer. They have the expertise and equipment to accurately diagnose the issue, whether it’s a problem with the wiring, control module, connector, or any other component. Additionally, they are experienced in finding and resolving obstructions, such as damaged bushings or connectors, which may be causing the problem. A professional repair might cost more upfront, but you can rest assured that the job will be performed correctly and efficiently.

DIY Repair

For those confident in their mechanical skills, tackling power running board issues on your own can be a viable and cost-effective option. Begin by checking the wiring and connectors for damage or corrosion. If you find any concerns, clean, repair, or replace the affected parts as necessary. If the wiring appears to be in good condition, you may need to reset the control module to address any issues with the board’s operation.

To reset the control module, disconnect the vehicle’s battery, wait a few minutes, and then reconnect it. If your power running board is still experiencing problems, you may need to clean or replace the bushings, connectors, or other components, which could be obstructing the board’s movement. Keep in mind that while the DIY approach can save you money, it’s important to have a solid understanding of the system’s components and functionality to avoid causing additional damage or issues.

Following either the professional or DIY repair path ensures your GM power running board remains functional and reliable. By addressing these issues as they arise, you’ll maintain the longevity and usability of your vehicle’s running boards.

GM Dealerships and Extended Warranty

When purchasing a vehicle from a GM dealership, you can expect a level of service and support to ensure your driving experience is comfortable and reliable. One aspect of this support is the Bumper to Bumper Warranty offered by GM dealerships.

Bumper to Bumper Warranty

GM’s Bumper to Bumper Warranty is a comprehensive coverage plan meant to protect your vehicle for a specific time and mileage. In general, this warranty covers the repair or replacement of defective parts for the first few years of ownership or until a certain mileage is reached.

For example, most GM vehicles come with a 3-year or 36,000-mile Bumper to Bumper Warranty, whichever comes first. This warranty covers almost all parts and systems in your vehicle, from the engine to the electrical system. However, be aware that specific terms and conditions may vary depending on the GM brand and model you have purchased, as well as the state you are in, such as NY, CA, or NC.

During the warranty period, you can take your vehicle to any authorized GM dealership for repairs or replacements of defective components. Dealerships are well-equipped to handle any issues that may arise with your vehicle, allowing you to drive with peace of mind.

Keep in mind that regular maintenance and services, such as oil changes and tire rotations, are not covered by the Bumper to Bumper Warranty. It is essential to take good care of your vehicle and follow the recommended service intervals to keep it in top condition.

In conclusion, GM dealerships provide a Bumper to Bumper Warranty that protects your investment and ensures a dependable driving experience. Familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions of your warranty and don’t hesitate to visit your nearest dealership if you experience any issues with your GM vehicle during the warranty period.

Aftermarket Solutions

Plug and Play Options

When looking for a solution to your GM power running board problems, you might consider exploring aftermarket plug and play options. These options are often easier to install compared to their OEM counterparts and can save you time and money in the long run.

One of the benefits of plug and play options is the ease of installation. You won’t need to use a hammer or deal with complex mounting brackets. Instead, these options usually come with straightforward connections that can be easily plugged into your vehicle’s existing wiring system.

Additionally, aftermarket plug and play solutions are typically designed to be compatible with a wide variety of vehicle makes and models. This means you’ll have a better chance of finding a solution that perfectly fits your specific GM vehicle.

As you look for the right aftermarket solution, remember to research various products and read reviews from other users to ensure it is suitable for your vehicle and meets your requirements. Finding the perfect plug and play aftermarket solution can help you overcome the challenges associated with GM power running board problems and restore the functionality of your running boards.

  • Eric Williams

    I'm the founder of Daily Car Tips. I wrote articles in the automotive industry for more than 10 years, published in USA and Europe. I love sharing my knowledge and insights with fellow enthusiasts. Join me on this journey as we explore the exciting world of cars together!

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