RV owners love slideouts, and they have been quite popular since first engineered. Slide outs give RV owners additional space and are commonly used for bedrooms or living rooms, where space can be at a premium.
Slideouts can use some maintenance to make sure they continue to work properly without making noises or causing damage to themselves. Lubrication is key.
Lubricating slide outs involves the use of silicone spray or WD40, though RV specific sprays are available. You’ll want to see how your slideouts come out and manuever to a place where you can see the gears that power the slideout.
Getting to your slide out gears
Are your slideout gears exposed?
The gears for your slideout might be pretty easy to find if they are out in the open. You’ll see what amounts to a metal horizontal bar leading away from the RV underneath your slideout. This metallic bar allows the slideout a platform to “slide out” onto when in use.
If the gears are out in the open, we can begin.
Read your manual first before lubricating your RV slide outs
You should consult your RV manual before doing anything. For some slideouts, the manual will suggest you use soap and water to clean the gears. They also suggest against using lubricants or greases that could have long term effects.
Your manual might also suggest you not attempt to maintain a bedroom slideout. Bedroom slideouts are often self enclosed and don’t have an open gear to work with.
What should I use to spray?
This is a good question, and that’s because there are a few products that could work. Some RV owners swear by WD-40, and others use silicone spray or something made specifically for RVs. RV specific sprays tend to work well on metals, plastic, and rubber, all three of which can be present in your slide out.
While you can use the solution you’d like, there are a few factors that go into which spray makes sense for you.
WD40 is not meant to be a lubricant. While it is very slippery and useful for the application, it’s actual use for a typical can of WD40 is to help loosen metal and remove rust. If your slideout is rusty, this is a good starting choice, but you might also need more help! WD40 does come in a couple formulas, including a Teflon coating, which is more suitable.
The issue with WD40 is that it’s water soluble. Unless you are in a very dry area like the desert, WD40 will dry out faster than alternatives. WD40 can also be stickier when it dries, which can attract more dirt and grime. If you have a can of WD40 lying around, you can certainly use it though.
Silicone spray can be a better option for RV owners who will be vacationing or living in climates with more moisture. Silicone spray is a true lubricant and helps to repel water, which is part of what will sauce RV slide outs to squeak and rust. Being water repellent also means that it won’t wash away, too.
How to spray your RV slide outs with lubricant
Start by either getting under your slideout or within reach of the horizontal bar that the slideout moves into.
You’ll want a few supplies too:
- A rag or brush
- An air compressor a compressed air can if possible
Let’s start by making the gears and everything else nice and clean. Start by using the rag or brush to clean off debris and dirt from the surface of the slide out gears. Excess dirt and grime will get worse if coated with silicone spray and reduce its effectiveness.
Next, take your air compressor and blow it into hard to reach spots and in places where the grime is harder to remove. A good shot of compressed air can blow dirt out of unsuspecting corners too.
With a nice clean slate to work with, you can begin spraying with the silicone spray or WD40.
Spray along the track the slideout moves on, into each small compartment. You should also spray into any openings for the track. You’ll probably want to use the straw that came with the can for this to remain accurate.
Testing your spray
Once the slide out is sprayed up, make sure your RV is well leveled so you can safely deploy the slideout without making the motors or your arms to additional work to get them moving.
Using the slideout allows you to hear and see if there is any resistance removed (like squeaking) and see how well the spray is working. Since some of the spray also went into the slideout’s internal parts, this will get a better chance to spread through.
What if my slideout still sounds bad or works poorly?
You can try to repeat the above process again to sure that the spray gets to where it should be, but a basic spray should be quite helpful.
If your slideout still screeches, squeaks, or stutters, you might have a bigger problem than spray can handle.
How often should I lubricate slideouts?
Your manual will provide the best answer, but it’s a good idea to lubricate at least once per year in addition to doing some maintenance if the slide out doesn’t function well or gets louder.
Slide out lube can be done when you do much of the rest of your RV maintenance in a yearly cycle.
Any safety precautions to take while lubricating the slideout?
The bottle of lubricant will provide more specific advice, but wearing gloves to wipe out debris and junk from your slideout is a good start. You don’t know what’s in there!
Also, some lubricants will recommend the use of goggles while spraying in case the lubricant deflects back at you.
Slideouts are a great, practical part of the RV experience. Their presence allows you to do more with less room using simple mechanics. To keep your slideouts functioning for a long time and year round, lubricate them if the manual calls for it so you can experience worry free operation in the future.
No one likes having their RV go to the shop for repairs, so a little preventive care goes a long way.