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What are slide-outs?

What are slide-outs?

RVs are intricately made homes on wheels that come with a lot of different layouts and features. Although there may not be a ton of room inside RVs, manufacturers have found a way to expand the interior space of certain rigs. This is done by something called a slide out.  

RV slide-outs also referred to as slides, are room extenders that expand your rig’s interior living space.

They are typical of practically all types of RVs on the market today, including motorhomes, campers, fifth wheels, toy haulers, and others. 

Learning about slide outs and how they function can seem overwhelming. We’ll break down everything you need to know about slide-outs and how to operate them.

What is an RV slide-out?

As previously mentioned, an RV slide-out is a room extender that increases the interior living space of your RV or motorhome.

It is essentially an extra small room fitted into the side of your RV that can move in and out depending on if you are setting up camp or hitting the road.

An RV slide-out: how does it work? 

Although RV slides were not a standard feature of the first vehicles out on the road years ago, they now are widespread, and many campers take slide-outs for granted.

The way RV slide-outs function depends on whether one’s RV is configured for driving or camping. They can be either extended or retracted.

The slide can be retracted or expanded with the push of a button on the electrical system on the control panel of your RV. There are also mechanical or hydraulic RV slide outs.

Your slide out will most likely function by using a pump, electricity, or manual labor to press or pull the slide out along its tracks, depending on what type of slides you have. Slide-outs are designed to distribute weight evenly and move easily.

The slide-out in your RV usually has home furnishings or other accessories that, when expanded, give your RV more interior space.

Your RV slide should go into the stowed position when you’re getting prepared to drive or while you’re on the road to make your vehicle as aerodynamic as possible.

Your slide-out should never be extended while you are driving your RV; doing so puts both you and other drivers in danger.

When you’re prepared to camp, you should only open your RV slide out, which will increase the interior space of the vehicle. Depending on where your slide is, you could expand it to create more space in your kitchen, living room, bedroom, or even bathroom.

Slide Out Maintenance Tips

Just like any piece of machinery, there are moving parts, electrical parts, and hydraulic systems involved in slide-outs. To increase their lifespan and maintain them, these items all need regular maintenance.

Below are some tips on how to properly care for your RV slide outs.


This is a straightforward but frequently skipped step in RV slide out upkeep. RVs accumulate a lot of dust and grime both when in storage and while being used. Moving parts and all this dirt may harm the performance of your slide-out mechanism.

Prior to and after storage, as well as before and after trips, are crucial moments for a thorough cleaning.

Before using your slide-out, make sure the roof and sides are clean and debris-free. Anything which has been accumulating on the slide has the potential to harm the paneling and/or rubber seals that surround it.

Any loose debris should be swept away or blown away with your leaf blower. The products for cleaning RV roofs are excellent for getting rid of any tough stuck-on debris.

The need for a full day of scrubbing can be avoided by keeping up with the removal of any tree sap, gunk, and grease after trips.

Since your RV’sRV’s slide rails and gears are typically located underneath, they get dirty easily.

Reduced excessive gear wear and surface damage can be achieved by keeping them free of the dirt and road grime that can occasionally collect on the teeth and in places where lubrication is used.


The most crucial aspect of RV slide-out upkeep is probably this. Friction is brought on by moving parts, and wear is brought on by wear.

Due to exposure to the elements, the seals around the slide-out may become dry, which makes them more likely to tear and cause leaks. Use a rubber seal lubricant that won’t dry out the rubber or gather dirt to clean them up and keep them lubricated.

Your slide’s gearing and rails will need a high-quality lubricant to keep them safe and reduce the amount of grime they gather.

For this reason, it’s also crucial to avoid lubricating parts excessively. The extra won’t do anything but run off, create a mess, and draw dirt.

Prior to applying lubricant, it is crucial to clean any debris from the target parts. For particularly difficult stains, you can use a parts cleaning product or grease remover, but if you keep up with it, most surfaces can be cleaned with a piece of cloth as well as some soap and water.

Hydraulic Devices

On big, heavy slides like kitchens, hydraulic slide-outs are typical. A hydraulic fluid reservoir, pressurized lines, and fittings are all components of hydraulic systems.

It is important to check the lines for leaks and general health. Keep your fittings clean to make it easier to detect leaks since they are potentially leaky areas.

Electric Engines

The slide is frequently moved by an electric motor in systems. Make sure the electrical connections are secure by checking them. In order to keep any wires away from moving components and pinch points, get someone to run the slide in and out.

Keep an ear out for anything out of the ordinary when the electric motor is running. There shouldn’t be any jumping or skipping on the slide; it should move smoothly.


Cable Motors

Some RVs’RVs’ cable drive systems can be challenging to access because the parts are frequently on the top and bottom of the slide. The cables themselves ought to be spotless and dust-free. Keep an eye out for damage indicators like fraying.

Your slide will frequently need to be closed in order to reach the pulleys above. Make sure they are safe and in good shape.

Slide Rails and Gears

The bulk of slide systems have gears that move with resistance. If these are out of alignment or if soil or debris has accumulated, it may result in wear and damage.

It is important to keep rails and gears lubricated and clean. When using the slide, there must be no binding. A slide that opens and closes inconsistently from side to side should be avoided at the first indication. It’s crucial to adjust the alignment to stop further damage.


As you can see, slide-outs are a great addition to any RV or motorhome to make the interior space larger and therefore more liveable. With a little knowledge and regular upkeep, your slide-outs will be in tip-top shape for your next camping adventure!


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