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Slideout Maintenance

7 September 2017

When it comes to RVing, having a slideout can give you all the space and luxury you need in your home away from home.. but there are a few things you should know about your RV slide to help save you from time consuming and expensive repairs. Some of the most preventable problems can become the most costly down the road without some regular TLC! 

Quick Tip: Leave a door or window open when operating your slide. This allows your RV to accommodate the change in interior air pressure and reduces pressure on the seals.

Caring for Rubber Seals:

Whether your slideouts are run by hydraulic or mechanical means, basic maintenance remains the same. Your slide is surrounded on all four sides by a rubber seal.

rubber seal
These seals are the only barrier preventing water from entering your RV as you retract your slide, so it's important to keep them properly cared for and maintained. Before beginning to retract, you always want to do a quick check for dirt and debris sitting on top of the slide.

Quick Tip: Often times (and especially for seasonal campers) leaves, twigs & pine needles from surrounding trees can collect on top of your slide. This debris can tear seals or cause damage as you retract, or prevent the slide from closing all the way and allow water to seep in through the winter months. Use a soft bristled broom to sweep the roof of your slide clean before pulling in. 

The seals surrounding your slide should remain clean and flexible and easily invert as the slide retracts. Perform regular maintenance checks on the seals. You want to look for tears, separations, bumps/deformities, lodged debris or anything else that might otherwise hinder the flexibility and durability of the rubber and allow water into your RV as you retract.

Quick Tip: If you are packing up after a rainfall and know there will be a lot of water sitting on your slide, use a squeegee brush to remove the majority of it before retracting the slide. You can also raise or lower your tongue jack to tilt the RV and allow water to run off the roof.

Treating your seals with Rubber Seal Conditioner (available in store or at our Online Parts Store) helps to keep seals from sticking, tearing and helps prevent the drying effects of sun exposure.

To apply:

  1. Ensure seals are clean and dry. You can wash with soap and water before applying. This is a great time to inspect your seals for any damage that indicates they need replacing.
  2. Spray the conditioner directly on the rubber seal or apply first to a rag and massage into the rubber.
  3. Be sure to do both sides of the seal! Pull the rubber back to access the underside. 
  4. Keep the sides and top of the slide clean and waxed so the slide passes easily through the seals.

 Lubricating Cables:

You want to keep the cables on your slide clean, debris-free, well-lubricated and of course prevent rust.  Do this by checking your slideouts for debris regularly (ideally, before you retract each time) and lubricating with a dry lube at least every 6 months. You can purchase a dry lube from our Online Parts Store or at our Sydney and New Glasgow Parts Store locations.

Quick Tip: Do not use grease to lubricate your cables and gears. Grease will attract dirt and grime which can build up over time and clog the slide. Grease may also stain the interior of your RV once the slide is pulled in.

To apply:

  1. Clean and dry the cables and slide out mechanisms of dirt and debris.
  2. Spray a dry lube on a rag and lubricate all 4 cables and any gears or mechanisms located underneath the slide. 

 As with any home or vehicle, RVs require maintenance and care. By staying on top of the small issues as they arise - like a torn seal - you can help prevent expensive problems like water damage down the road.


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