Can You Disable Running Boards on a GMC Denali?

Automatic running boards on vehicles with high ground clearances make getting in and out easier. The running boards also remove some debris from shoes and help to keep the vehicle clean. On the other hand, some people view automatic running boards as a hindrance to rapid movement into and out of the vehicle. 

You can disable running boards on a GMC Denali by pressing and holding the running boards button on the center console for six seconds. You can also disable the running boards by removing the fuse facilitating running board functions. 

This article will delve deeper into the workings of GMC running boards. 

You can disable running boards with the push of a button

How To Disable the Running Boards on a GMC Denali

Denali is the brand name General Motors slaps on its premier GMC SUVs and trucks. GMCs with Denali trim options are more expensive than regular models. Nevertheless, GMC Denalis are pretty popular, with customers seeing value in the Denalis’ extra luxury features. 

Using the Running Board Button

The GMC Denali is a high-tech vehicle, but the method used to disable running boards is rather old-fashioned. Regardless, it’s easy and efficient. 

Follow the following procedure to disable running boards on a GMC Denali:

  1. Turn the vehicle on and place it in Park or Neutral. 
  2. Locate the Running Boards button on the bottom right side of the center console. 
  3. Press and hold the button for around six seconds. 
  4. If successful, a dialog box will appear on display in front of the driver, confirming the running boards are disabled.

The running boards will remain disabled until you toggle them on again. Follow the same procedure to restore the normal functioning of the running boards. If you do it correctly, a dialog box will appear confirming the successful re-enabling of the running boards. 

The following YouTube video by Jim Hudson Buick GMC demonstrates how to configure the running boards on a GMC Denali. 

Removing the Running Board’s Fuse

This method is perhaps more old-fashioned than the one described above, but it will work. By removing the running board’s fuse, you sever the electrical connection to the running boards, disabling them.

The following procedure spells out how to remove the running board’s fuse:

  1. With the vehicle turned off, detach the negative terminal from the battery. 
  2. Locate the fuse block on the passenger’s side of the engine compartment. 
  3. Access the fuse box by pressing the clips on the side. Caution: Keep the fuse box dry, as moisture can destroy the fuses.
  4. Consult the vehicle’s user manual to determine which fuse connects to the running boards. For instance, on the Sierra 1500 Denali, fuse number 76 controls the running boards’ functions.
  5. Remove the fuse.
  6. Reseal the fuse box and reconnect the battery’s wires. 
  7. Test the system to find out if you removed the correct fuse.

Contrary to popular misconception, removing a fuse doesn’t ruin a car component – it merely disables the car part until you reinstall the fuse. For instance, removing the fuse that controls the radio deactivates it until you restore the fuse.   

Therefore, removing the fuse controlling the running board’s movement won’t affect the system. Remember to keep the fuse safe for when you’ll need to revive the running boards.

This method works but can be considered a touch extreme compared to the first option. You don’t need to go rummaging in your vehicle’s fuse box when there’s a disabling method that is less tedious and risky. 

Cutting power to the running boards can help if you have a problematic system: If you can’t or have no time to diagnose an issue with the running boards’ system, remove the fuse to disable it until you can consult a technician. 

How To Permanently Extend Running Boards on a GMC Denali

When functioning normally, the running boards on a GMC Denali retract when the vehicle starts moving. Pressing the running boards button once with Neutral or Park engaged extends the running boards before you open the doors. 

Once the vehicle starts moving, the running boards retract. If you want to drive your GMC Denali with extended running boards, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the vehicle’s infotainment system.

Follow these steps to permanently extend the running boards on your GMC Denali:

  1. Turn the vehicle on and place it in Park or Neutral.
  2. Select ‘Settings’ on the infotainment screen. 
  3. Tap on ‘Vehicle’ and search for ‘Power Assist Steps.’
  4. Under ‘Power Assist Steps,’ select ‘Move Power Assist Steps.’
  5. Tap on ‘Deployed.’

The running boards will remain retracted until you reverse the setting. To restore normal functionality to the running boards, follow the above procedure up to step 3. 

In step 4, select ‘Off’ rather than ‘Deployed’ to disable the permanent extension of the running boards. 

Obstructions Prevent Retraction of the Running Boards

As a safety measure, the running boards on a GMC Denali don’t retract if there’s an obstruction. If the sensors detect an obstacle as the running boards retract, the system reverses the running boards’ movement. 

Therefore, if the running boards fail to retract, check whether there’s an obstruction curtailing normal movement. This feature is meant to prevent injury to pets, children, or the vehicle. 

How To Reset the Running Boards

If the running boards on your GMC Denali start malfunctioning, consider resetting the running boards. 

The following steps detail how to reset the running boards on a GMC Denali:

  1. Open the front and rear doors. 
  2. Locate the running board switch on the lower right side of the center console. 
  3. Turn the car on but leave the engine off.
  4. Press the button three times within 20 seconds to rest the running boards. 
  5. Close all the doors.
  6. Test the system by opening one door from each side. 

Resetting the running boards can correct an issue without costing you money. If it doesn’t work, consult a technician or disable the system altogether if you don’t need it. 

If your running board looks rough, the best idea is to paint it. There are several paint types for running boards. Click on the link to find out which one you should choose. You’ll also learn about the advantages and disadvantages of each paint type.

paint is quick fix for ugly running boards


Disabling the running boards on a GMC Denali is easy once you locate the running boards button. Press and hold the button for round about six seconds with the car in Park or Neutral to disable the running boards.

Repeat the process to restore normal functionality. Removing the fuse controlling the running boards is an effective yet somewhat radical way of deactivating the running boards.