Should RV Slides Be Lubricated?

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Time on the road in an RV should be a relaxing and fun experience.  Yet, long travel and bumpy roads can wreak havoc on mechanical systems, causing your RV to malfunction.

Yes, an RV’s slide out and seal mechanisms should be properly lubricated to ensure a hassle-free road experience.

Check Your RV Manual

It’s important to check the manual for your RV first before moving forward with any lubrication of your slide. Depending on the manufacturer of your specific mechanism and system model, the factory recommendations can change.

Your owner’s manual will direct you to the lubrication points of your slide outs. Finding these points ensures you are getting the most effective lubrication.

If you still are unsure, or your owner’s manual does not address lubrication points, take your RV to a qualified RV repair shop to have one of their technicians assist you.

Types Of RV Slide Outs And Maintenance Needs

Gear-driven slide outs are powered by a gearbox on either side of the slide room. They are generally far less complicated than a hydraulic system but require more periodic maintenance.

The Hydraulic slide out is electric and is powered by a hydraulic pump.  Numerous slide outs can be powered by one pump and motor. These systems are under high pressure and repairs should only be done by a qualified RV repair team.

What To Keep In Mind In Determining Lubrication Needs

Other models and systems do not address lubrication in their owner’s manuals. If that is the case, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • All moving mechanical systems such as slides work better when cleaned. Many sliding systems are exposed to the open road while you travel, which exposes them to dirt and debris. Keeping your system clean and clear is key to it working properly.
  • Use a non-attracting lubricant, specifically with a rust preventative for steel surfaces. If you see wear on steel parts, lube them with a commercially available slide out lube.
  • Maintain your slide out seals to protect them from UV degradation.
  • Plastic guides under your slide out can be a place to attract dirt and debris. Peel back your seal across the bottom to ensure nothing is trapped in these guides .

Maintain Your Slidebox

It is also important to maintain your slide box bottom and the flooring on the main floor of your RV’s coach. If there is scraping damage, the slideout needs adjustment or repair. Address this immediately to prevent further damage.

Damage can be caused by:

  • A loose screw
  • Screws protruding from the bottom of the box
  • Misadjustment or improperly installed slides at the factory level

Where To Lubricate RV Slide Outs

Now that you’ve read your manual, checked/cleaned your seals, and have decided to lubricate the slide outs you have to keep a few things in mind. A little can go a long way.

The best place to lubricate your slide outs will be on the rails and gears. This little routine maintenance will ensure that your slide outs slide smoothly. It will also prevent them from becoming misaligned or stuck.

What Lubrication Should You Use?

When it comes to lubrication, a dry lube is best. A dry powdered spray coats your rails and gears with a dry film, keeping rust, dirt, and corrosion from entering your gears and causing havoc. You generally will only have to use this once a year.

Dry lubricants are better for slide lubrication. Thicker, oily lubricants can attract dirt and debris, bringing potential harm to your sliding mechanisms.

Lippert recommends only the CRC power lube, but that may not be available to you in various locations. One of the simplest products to use is baby powder.

You can take a cloth and a large bottle of baby powder and wipe down the seals. Pair this with a good seal conditioner spray to ensure that seals are pliable. A conditioner spray should be used about every eight weeks to prevent premature corrosion and damage to your seals.

Some technicians or manufacturers do not recommend lubricating your slide outs at all. It is important to seek professional advice for your specific RV model or refer to your owner’s manual before choosing the right lubricant.

How Frequently Should You Lubricate Your Slides?

The frequency of slide lubrication depends on how much you’re using your coach. Many professionals suggest checking them at least twice a season, especially if you are using your RV full-time.

If you store your RV for months at a time, you may think your slide outs do not need lubrication. However, storage does not keep them safe from rust and corrosion.

You may still need to spray a dry lubricant at least once a year when you are ready to store the RV for a long period of time or when you are bringing it out for use. This will ensure that everything is either stored properly or is working properly before you take it out on the open road.

Seal Cleaning And Maintenance

A key component of ensuring your slide outs function correctly is ensuring you are maintaining the slide’s rubber seals. As these seals dry out, water can through and can cause corrosion.

Seals can dry due to intense temperatures or UV rays. It is recommended that you use a rubber seal conditioner or spray every eight weeks to prevent premature aging and decay of seals.

RVs can be a great way to enjoy a relaxing weekend with family or can become a way of life that is enjoyed every day on the open road. With the right preventive maintenance to your slide out and seals, your RV can have a long life span and give you years of enjoyment with little downtime or expensive repairs.

What Is The Best Lubricant For RV Slides?

It is generally recommended to use a dry lubricant for RV slides. Dry lubricant will protect mechanisms from the damaging effects of road travel (which can include dirt, grime, and debris) and will displace moisture from destroying the seal and slide out.

Should RV Slides Be Stored In Or Out?

When it comes to storing your RV between trips or seasons, it is generally recommended to store your slide outs in or closed. By storing your slides in, you can prevent damaging dirt and debris from eroding your seals and in turn causing damage to your slides.

How Much Do RV Slide Repairs Cost?

According to Wholesale Warranties, the average cost for slide outs/pop-outs ranges between $500 and $1,700 for a motorhome and travel trailer/fifth wheel, and $500-$1,500 for a truck camper/pop-up camper.

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