RV Slide-Out Maintenance Tips + 4 Ways To Avoid Expensive RV Slide-Out Repairs


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Here’s what you need to know about RV slide-out maintenance and repair, based on my own experience with them…

Like magic, whenever you press the button the RV slide-out goes in-and-out. Most of the time.

When things don’t operate as expected slide-outs can be pretty intimidating to troubleshoot.

As a lifelong RVer and DIYer, these are the RV slide-out maintenance tips you need to know…

IMPORTANT: My best piece of advice is it’s best to be conservative regarding slide-out repair — because you can easily get in over your head!

 

RV Slide-Out Issues

These are three of the most common RV slide-out issues that require routine maintenance:

 

#1 – Some Slide-Out Mechanisms Need To Be Lubricated

Normal RV slide-out maintenance may include some lubrication. I say “may” because not all slide-out mechanisms should be lubricated. (Check your owner’s manual.)

It is critically important that the proper type of lubrication is used on your RV slide-outs.

Anything that leaves a greasy surface should not be used — because it will attract road dust and grime. An accumulation of dirt is likely to cause serious problems and excessive wear to the RV slide-out components.

A quick-drying silicone spray lubricant is best, like this 3-in-one slide-out silicone lube by RVcare.

 

#2 – The Slide-Out Can Become Misaligned

After years of using your RV slide-outs, a slight misalignment of the slide-out mechanism can occur.

You may find that upon retracting the slide-out, the rubber seals are not snug against the side of the RV.

This is more prevalent in wood frame RVs — because wood shrinks, expands, and (over time) tends to move around some.

Often, various adjustments can be made to correct this condition.

For example, if your slide-out has a gear-driven rail underneath it, there may be bolts you can loosen — allowing you to adjust the position of the slide-out.

 

#3 – Slide-Out Seals Can Wear Out And Crack

RV slide-outs are an area where water can seep into your RV — if the seams and seals are not in good condition.

To prevent this, you should routinely check them.

Here’s how to inspect slide-out seams and seals:

Run your hands along all of the slide-out’s seams to check for any soft spots, cracks, or visible water damage, including drips and discoloration. The seams should be solid, but flexible — long exposure to the elements can make them brittle and prone to leaking. Pay special attention to the top and bottom seals, which are especially important and vulnerable. And be sure to perform inspections both with the slide out extended and retracted. If you encounter any issues with your slide out’s seams and seals, don’t delay in getting them fixed. Your slide out could continue to perform well for years after being properly repaired and maintained, but brittle seals will cause water damage if left untended — and that might not be such an easy fix. ~RV Share

Here’s some more good advice regarding RV slide-out seal maintenance:

Regularly inspect the wipe seals on all 4 sides for dryness, damage, or tears. Every time you move the slide in or out, make sure the slide seals flip over properly and that any debris that may have gotten lodged under the seals is removed to ensure a watertight seal. RV slide out seal maintenance simply requires cleaning and lubing of the seals. This regular maintenance will help these high-wear RV parts last. ~LazyDays RV

 

Ways To Prevent Expensive RV Slide-Out Repairs

These are the 4 most common issues with RV slide-outs that I’ve come across, and what you should do in each instance:

  1. If you hold the control switch for even 1 second too long after the slide-out is either extended or retracted, you will likely blow the fuse. Nothing has been damaged. Just replace the fuse and the slide-out will operate normally again.
    RV slide-out switch
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  2. Most RV slide-outs are equipped with a way to manually retract the slide, in the event of mechanism failure. You may have to ask your dealer how this functions — because the odds are your manual will tell you nothing.
    This is the hand crank to manually retract the slide-out on my travel trailer.
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  3. In all circumstances, avoid having the teeth of the drive motor chatter on the gear rail. This can easily lead to stripped gears — because the noise is caused by the teeth jumping out of the gear.
    A closeup of the RV slide-out gear drive rail on my travel trailer.
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  4. If you suspect a bad drive motor, first test for voltage at the motor when the button is pressed. More often than not, the RV slide-out motor is not getting power due to faulty wiring or a faulty switch.

In this video, I’m walking you through each of the options mentioned above — so you can see how to do each of the steps:

 

Other RV Slide-Out Maintenance Issues

If your RV slide-out maintenance question as not been answered above, then you may want to check out my article about what to do if your RV slide-out is stuck.

Unfortunately, since there are so many different slide-out mechanisms, it’s literally impossible for me to give you exact instructions on how to adjust all RV slide-outs here.

Also, if you are not clearly understanding what you’re looking at, it’s far better to take your RV to a dealer and have them correct any slide-out issues you are having.

This video will give you some insight as to how many different types of RV slide-out mechanisms there are. It doesn’t cover all of them — but it confirms how general maintenance tips for all RV slide-outs just don’t apply:

 

RV Slide-Out Repair Manuals From The Top Manufacturers

To help you dig deeper and find the next step for fixing your RV slide-outs, these are the most popular manufacturers of RV slide-out mechanisms. Most have an RV slide-out repair manual that you can download:

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Curtis

I’ve been involved in RVing for over 50 years — including camping, building, repairing, and even selling RVs and motorhomes. I’ve owned, used, and repaired almost every class and style of RV ever made. I do all of my own repair work. My other interests include cooking, living with an aging dog, and dealing with diabetic issues. If you can combine a grease monkey with a computer geek, throw in a touch of information nut and organization freak, combined with a little bit of storyteller... you’ve got a good idea of who I am. To date, I've shared my RV knowledge in over 300 articles here at The Fun Times Guide! Many of them have over 25K shares.

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