Running Boards Not Working On Ford Expedition – Why And What To Do?

Normally, a Ford Expedition’s running boards should deploy with a press of a button. But the system may not activate when you need it. What could be the cause of this issue, and how can you fix it? We researched these concerns for your convenience, and here’s what we found.

Ford Expedition running boards may not work because of reasons like dirt and debris blocking the powered mechanism. Otherwise, there is corrosion on the assemblies’ wires, causing short circuits. Make sure to troubleshoot the cause of the problem so you can use the appropriate repair or replacement measures.

So, continue reading as we talk about the possible reasons why your Expedition’s running boards aren’t functioning in greater detail. We’ll also discuss some solutions to try that may help solve this concern. Without further ado, let's get into it!

 New model Ford Expedition seven passenger suv at a dealership., Running Boards Not Working On Ford Expedition - Why And What To Do?

What Are Running Boards And How Do They Work?

Truck Running Boards

Running boards often function by providing the vehicle’s driver and the passengers with a broader step when entering and exiting the cabin. These assemblies also often come with two main features:

  • Lights: Improves visibility for the boards.
  • Powered mechanism: Some vehicles, like certain Ford Expedition models, will have their running boards extend and retract automatically.

Manufacturers also often use different materials for running boards. Some examples include running boards made of steel and molded plastic.

Check out these Ford Expedition running boards on Amazon.

Aside from the Ford Expedition’s running boards, you can also check out our post on this vehicle's gas mileage and other specs. This additional read can be helpful if you’re still on the fence about purchasing this SUV.

Why Is The Power Running Board On My Ford Expedition Not Working?

Modern footboard

It's not uncommon for automatic running boards to experience issues. Some potential culprits behind these problems can be challenging to control, resulting in the assemblies' mechanisms failing.

Some potential culprits of this mechanical failure are:

Low Lubricant

Frequent use can cause the lubricant on a running board assembly to wear out. Once it's low on the lubricating agent, the parts can grind, which might also become the precursor to serious damage. Over time, it might also lead to the mechanism malfunctioning or cause it to completely stop working.

Note: It might not be a good idea to use WD-40 to lubricate running boards. Although it has lubricating properties, this product isn’t a lubricant but a water-displacing substance. Its composition may attract dirt and gunk over time, causing more problems to the SUV’s running boards than before.

Instead, use white lithium grease or silicone-based lubricant. That way, there won't be the additional risk of harming your Expedition's running boards.

Click here to see this white lithium grease on Amazon.


Some materials used in developing running boards may corrode over time. In particular, plastic components may degrade faster than other materials like aluminum or steel. This degradation can affect a running board's moving parts, inhibiting the assembly from moving.

Dirt And Debris

Frequently driving your Ford Expedition through muddy and/or rough terrain without routine cleaning may leave dirt and debris stuck in the vehicle’s running boards. These particles can prevent the mechanical parts from moving.

How To Fix Running Boards That Don’t Work On A Ford Expedition

Running Board

The steps to restoring your Ford Expedition’s running boards' normal functions often depend on the cause of the issue. In this section, you’ll learn some techniques that may help repair the SUV’s running boards.

Apply Lubricant

You can apply lubricant to the Expedition’s running boards’ moving parts. Take note that you may need to crouch or crawl to access these components. Then, use the spray nozzle on the lubricant’s container to spread the product throughout the parts. Test the running boards after your finish.

You can also watch the video below to see a visual guide on this procedure:

If you want to lubricate the running boards extensively, follow these steps:

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Lift the Expedition with a jack or car lift.
  2. Disconnect the wiring on the running board assembly.
  3. Remove the bolts and screws.
  4. Spray lubricant near the running board’s circuit board.
  5. Apply lubricant to the running board’s rear hinge and all of its joints.
  6. Reassemble the running board and check if it now works as intended.

Clean The Running Boards

You can remove light dirt and debris from the running boards with the help of a car-friendly soap and a microfiber pad. Use the automotive cleaning solution on the running board parts with dirt and gunk buildup. Next, open and close the Expedition’s doors to check if the running boards function normally.

Check out this car wash kit on Amazon.

How To Replace Ford Expedition Running Boards

Running Board Grating

Replacing a Ford Expedition’s running boards can be an ideal solution if the previous methods didn’t give you the results you need. But attempting this task using DIY techniques might become expensive. Some of the equipment, such as the car lift, can be costly, particularly if you’re only going to use them once.

Although you can use the Expedition's jack, this tool lifts the vehicle into a lopsided position. So it might become more challenging than expected to install and balance the running boards.

But if you can get a hold of a durable car lift, you may continue this replacement job by following these steps:

What You’ll Need

  • Car lift
  • Flashlight
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Running board mount
  • Compatible fasteners
  • Replacement running boards

Step-By-Step Guide

1. Raise The Expedition

Drive the Ford Expedition over the car lift and engage its parking brake. Lift the SUV to a suitable working height. It should suffice when the running boards are at a position that’s slightly above eye level. It’s also a good idea to place a flashlight underneath the Expedition’s chassis to illuminate the working area.

2. Disconnect The Automatic Mechanism

Search for the running board’s electrical connector and disconnect it from its terminal. Generally, you can pull it out with a reasonable amount of force. But you might need to scrape off some debris from the terminal with a flathead screwdriver before you can complete the disconnection.

3. Remove The Bolts

Use the socket wrench to remove the bolts fastening the running boards to the SUV. Don’t forget to store the bolts in a safe place. Pull out and remove the faulty running boards. Then, place it in storage or dispose of it properly.

Warning: Be wary of the running boards’ status as you’re removing the bolts. The assembly can fall off its mount because you took out its fasteners.

4. Install The New Running Boards

Take note that the new running boards you purchased may not come with the recommended brackets and fasteners. So you may still need to make a separate purchase for these other items.

Once you have the complete installation kit, mount the running boards onto its bracket on the Ford Expedition. Next, secure it with the correct bolts. Connect the wiring from the SUV’s chassis to the running boards afterward.

Perhaps the final step is to test if the new running boards work as intended. If they do, proceed to lower the vehicle to ground level. Otherwise, troubleshoot the installation process and correct any errors, if any.

Check out these running boards on Amazon.

You can also watch the video below if you need a visual guide for the steps mentioned above:

Is It Expensive To Replace The Running Board On A Ford Expedition?

Purchasing a new running board for a Ford Expedition generally costs about $395. But prepare to spend about $2,100 for professional services if you want expert automotive technicians to handle the replacement process for you.

What Is The Difference Between Side Bars And Running Boards?

Side step ladder part on off-road car

Both side bars and running boards provide users with additional steps before entering and exiting a vehicle’s cabin. However, side bars often have designs for mounting certain accessories and offer less ground clearance than running boards.

As for running boards, these assemblies usually have better ground clearance than side bars. Plus, running boards are typically flatter than side bars for better balance while stepping on them.

Final Words

If your Ford Expedition’s running boards aren’t working, you may only need to apply a light coat of lubricant on their moving parts. Otherwise, you might need to clean the components because of dirt buildup.

However, prepare to replace the running board assembly if it fails to work after attempting the other methods.

You can also check out these other posts about the Ford Expedition if you need help with other issues from this SUV:

Ford Expedition Sunroof Is Leaking – Why And What To Do?

Ford Expedition In Fail Safe Mode – What To Do?

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