Performing RV slide out maintenance on a regular basis will save you thousands of dollars in RV slide repairs. And it doesn’t matter what kind of rig you own. Slide out rooms can be found on many kinds of RVs. Even smaller travel trailers are often coming with slide outs now. Essentially, a slide out allows you to open up the interior of your RV and make it feel so much more roomy inside.
But to get that extra room, the manufacturer has to cut a large hole in the side of the RV. Then they put the slide out on a mechanism that moves it in and out as you wish. And to keep water and debris out of the RV, slide seals or gaskets are put in place all around the slide. It all actually works surprisingly well. But if you don’t maintain your RV slide outs, serious problems can develop. And some of these problems can cost thousands to fix and repair.
RV Slide Out Seals
The rubber seals or gaskets that surround the slide-out can be referred to by any number of names. Some call them a wiper seal, sweeper seal or flapper seal. But they all do the job they are intended to do. They are your first line of defense against having the elements seep into your RV, especially water. Replacing the seals on a single slide out can cost $1000 or more. So it makes sense to keep them in good shape.
There are any number of products for slide out seal conditioning. The primary function of these products is to keep the rubber seals supple and prevent them from drying out. And they also need to provide protection against UV damage from the sun. Ultraviolet damage is what slowly breaks down these seals more than anything else and they become brittle. At that point it is easy for cracking to begin which allows moisture to seep into the RV.
I like to use a product that has been especially formulated for protecting rubber and vinyl seals and gaskets. It’s called 303 Aerospace Protectant. It is very easy to apply and will immediately improve the look and feel of your slide out seals. It is also a very high quality UV inhibitor. So regular application of this product should keep your slide out seals in good shape for a very long time. Applying the product on the outside of the seal and between the seal and the slide is all that’s needed.
Keep Your Slide Out Seals In Place
One of the most common problems I see with slide out seals is that the seal doesn’t completely flip into place when the slide is out. This can leave the seal looking odd in that some parts of the seal wiper is in place and others aren’t. This also isn’t the best way to prevent water intrusion either. It’s only when the seal lies perfectly flat against the slide out that the best water prevention takes place. So how do you manage to get the entire seal to flip out and lie flat when the slide is extended?
One way is to physically flip it into place by hand using a ladder. But this is time consuming and carries an element of danger on the ladder. But one of the best solutions I have found is to use furniture bumpers to do the job for you. Simply place about 4 – 5 of them in the middle of the slide out spaced out equally along the height of the slide. Then when the slide goes in they flip the wiper in and when it comes out they flip the wiper into place when the slide is extended. It’s a simple solution that doesn’t cost much money and saves lots of time and effort. You can check out these self-adhesive furniture bumpers on Amazon below.
RV Slide Out Lubrication
There is one other area of the RV slide out that needs lubrication and care. And that is the tracks where the slide moves in and out mechanically. These metal tracks can become filthy and and even rusty over time. And that is when you will hear loud groans and noises as the slides move in and out. Of course, this puts more pressure on the slide out motor too. So lubricating the tracks of the slide out will help make the whole slide mechanism last longer and work better.
For this job, I like to use the 3-in-1 product called “Slide Out Silicone Lube”. I find that it works very well for this purpose. There are other products that also do a fine job. Whatever you use, just make sure that it does not leave a slick or gummy residue behind. If so, dirt and grime will be attracted to it and can even make the slide out tracks worse than before. Lubricating the RV slide out tracks a few times every year will keep them in good working order though. You can read more about the 3-in-1 product that I use below. It’s in the green can. But they also make other great lubrication products for window glass and rubber seals too. You can check them all out below.
I hope these tips on how to maintain your RV slide out seals and tracks has been helpful. If you follow the suggestions provided, you should get good use and long life from your RV slide outs. Please comment below and tell us about your experiences with RV slide out maintenance. Or maybe you have other suggestions on how to care for your slide outs. We would love to hear from you!
As always, have safe and happy travels my friends!