RV Slide Maintenance: Expert Tips for Optimal Performance

California and Utah, Photos: Adam Clark/Brody Leven

RV slide-outs are a valuable enhancement for your RV, offering additional floor space to elevate your RV’s overall comfort and convenience. However, similar to other mechanical and electrical systems, slide-outs are susceptible to damage and mechanical malfunctions. As a consequence, you might find yourself shelling out significant sums at the repair shop just for minor issues, making it crucial to proactively maintain your RV slide-outs.

Consistent slide maintenance is key to avoid future inconveniences and costly on-the-road RV slide repairs. Here are some essential maintenance insights that all savvy RV enthusiasts should be aware of:

Clean Your RV Slides

Cleaning your slides is one of the most essential yet overlooked aspects. Your RV picks up a lot of grime and debris when on the road and in storage. As this dirt accumulates, it can significantly affect your RV’s slide-out mechanism.

The best time to clean your RV slides is before and after a road trip or storage. While at it, ensure that the sides and the top of the slides are clean and free of dirt. Any debris accumulating in these areas can damage the rubber seals and paneling around the slides.

You can use a leaf blower or a brush to remove loose dirt and debris. But for the stubborn sticky stuff, you might need to use a specialized RV roof cleaner to ensure your RV slide care is thorough and efficient. 

Lubricate the Moving Parts

RV slides have a lot of moving parts. When not properly lubricated, these parts undergo a lot of friction, which may cause wear and tear of parts. The most affected parts are the seals around your RV’s slides, rails, and gearing.

Since the seals are on the outside, they can get pretty dry due to environmental exposure. The more moisture-deprived they are, the easier it is for them to tear and allow leakage. Therefore, try keeping the parts clean and apply a rubber sealing lubricant.

Your slide’s gearing and rails also require constant lubrication. These moving parts pick up a lot of debris and dirt, not to mention the excess friction when sliding in and out. Despite their need for lubrication, you shouldn’t go all out with applying the lubricant, but rather apply it sparingly so the run-off doesn’t attract more dirt.

Inspect the Cable Drives

Most RV owners overlook cable drives when doing RV slide repairs. They are often very difficult to access and literally out of sight in some RV models. But, like with other components in your RV slide, cable drives are constantly exposed to dirt, and the constant movement may cause them to fray. When you’re doing RV slide repairs, make sure you clean the cable drives and check for any damage. 

Check Out Your Roof Cover

Most RV slide-outs have built-in roof covers that look much like an RV awning. These roof covers are typically made of fabric, and their primary purpose is to catch dirt and prevent it from entering the RV.

Like with most fabrics, an accumulation of dirt and debris may cause your roof cover to harden, making it susceptible to cracks. You should clean off all the dirt and debris atop the roof cover before pulling in the slide.

Inspect the Electric Motor

Unless your RV has a gear-driven slide-out mechanism, it probably utilizes an electric motor in moving the slide. In this case, you need the proper expertise to check the motor’s electrical wiring and ensure they are properly secure. 

Unfortunately, this is a two-person job as you need to have someone running the slide in and out as you check to ensure the electric motor is secure and there are no wires close to the pinch points and mobile parts. You should also listen to the electric motor’s operation for unusual noises.

Evaluate the Slide’s Hydraulic System

Most large, heavy slide-outs like kitchens utilize a hydraulic system to move the slide. A typical hydraulic system has a hydraulic fluid reservoir, fittings that hold the whole system in place, and pressurized lines for transmitting pressure.

When inspecting the hydraulic system, check for any leaks and ensure the system is in proper working order. Leaks are most common around the fittings, so you should keep them clean to make any potential leaks easier to notice.

Get Your RV Slides Repaired, Wherever You Are

Even with the best maintenance, RV slides eventually break down, and when this happens, you need a professional touch to get them back to tip-top condition. If you ever find yourself in this predicament, contact Good Sam RV ProCare. With our mobile RV service, we come where you are, so you can enjoy the convenience of having your RV repaired by a professional without even having to leave the house.

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