Essential RV Slideout Maintenance and Troubleshooting Tips
Experiencing difficulties with your RV slideout? Don’t worry—we’ve compiled some troubleshooting advice and solutions to ensure your slideout operates seamlessly.
Different types of slideouts, the same problems
Regardless of whether you have an electrically driven or hydraulic-driven slideout, Schwintech, or rack and pinion, they can all be problematic. Slideouts can be large and heavy, and moving and supporting these slides is a difficult job.
We will get into some specific issues and fixes; however, in general, all slides can have the same few problems. The biggest one is that they won’t move in or out, depending on the type of slide. The reason for this will vary.
A second issue all slideouts can have is that they leak. This can result in major damage if not caught quickly. And the third common issue of slideouts is that their movement is impaired. This may mean slow, noisy, or uneven movement in and out.
Let’s dig deeper into RV slideout issues, how to troubleshoot them, and some fixes that should have them running smoothly again.
RV slideout won’t move
This is the worst-case scenario where your slide is stuck in, or even worse, stuck in the out position. Most slideouts will have an override, so you can get the slide in to get home, but you’ll still have to troubleshoot it.
Battery and fuses
The first things to check are your battery and fuses. Slideouts operate using your RV’s 12-volt battery power, so a dead battery means no movement for your slide. Ensure your battery is charged and all connections are secure; this could be an easy fix.
Fuses are always an easy fix and often get overlooked. Making sure the fuses are not blown can save you lots of possibly unnecessary troubleshooting.
Sticking with the electrical side of things, the switch which controls the movement of the RV slideout may be the culprit. A multimeter will quickly determine if there is an electrical issue and where it is. There should be 12 volts going to the switch from the battery and then from the switch to the motor. Check for power making it to the switch, through the switch, and then onward to the motor. If there is an electrical issue, you will know the location.
If you have power making it to the motor, there may be bigger issues to deal with. Looking for broken or missing parts, specifically gears or broken cables, may present a mechanical failure with your slideout. If you have a hydraulic setup, looking for leaks can point you in the right direction.
Slideout is farther out on one side
Just because your slideout is moving in and out doesn’t mean everything is working as it should. If you notice your slideout is sticking out farther on one side or not fully closed on one side, you have alignment issues.
Most RV slideouts have one side that is powered, and the other simply travels along with the powered side. If the two sides don’t stay in sync, the result is a slide out that’s not straight. This will put extra strain on the parts and, over time, cause bigger issues.
Troubleshooting is pretty easy, as it will be visibly apparent that something is wrong. The fix is pretty easy as well since RV slides are designed to be adjusted. Slide-outs have side-to-side and up-and-down adjustments on the bottom of the slide room.
Adjustments are as easy as loosening a nut, adjusting it to the correct position, and retightening. It may take a couple of adjustments to get things straight, but it’s an easy fix. Once adjusted, monitor the slide’s alignment for a while to ensure it’s staying secure. If it continually moves out of adjustment, you will want to check the gears and track for damage.
RV slideout is leaking
Slideouts are just boxes that move in and out of a hole in your RV’s wall, so they have to be tightly sealed. If your slide is aligned correctly, there should be a watertight seal.
If you have a leak, it should be dealt with immediately as we have all heard the horror stories of water damage in RVs. The seal around your slide is a flexible rubber seal that can dry out or become damaged. Therefore, a thorough inspection of the seal should be done to find the leak location.
While checking the seal, it’s a good idea to run the slide in and out to make sure the seal isn’t binding anywhere, which will also allow water to get by it.
Pro tip: Keep your slideout seals lubricated with seal conditioner to prevent them from drying out.
Grinding or skipping noise when slideout is moving
RV slideouts have moving parts that are exposed to road grime as well as the weight of the slide room. Proper maintenance will generally keep slideouts running trouble-free; however, things can still go wrong.
At the first sound of grinding, skipping, whining, or any other unusual sound from your slideout, you should stop it immediately and troubleshoot. Worn or broken parts as well as dirt can all cause strange noises when operating your slideout.
The first place to look for problems in this situation is the slide rails, gears, or cables on cable-driven systems. Look for foreign objects, dirt, and broken or worn parts that are making the noise. Locate the gearbox and listen there for suspicious noises as well.
Slideout gearboxes and motors that control them can be difficult to fix and often require complete replacement. If you have issues, either mechanical or electrical, with yours, have a pro check it out for possible fixes that could save you the cost of a replacement.
Preventative maintenance is key
While these certainly aren’t all the issues you may have with a slideout, they are some of the more common ones. Doing preventative slideout maintenance can greatly reduce the chances of having to deal with any of these issues.
While doing your maintenance, take the time to visually inspect your slide to try and catch problems before they become repairs. Properly working slideouts are critical to the operation of your RV. Without them working, you have a very unenjoyable RV interior.
There was a time when RVs didn’t have slideouts that most of us have never experienced, and most of us don’t want to experience our RVs without the slideouts working.
Make sure you keep track of all your RV maintenance and repairs with an online tool such as RV LIFE Maintenance. Not only can you keep all of your documents in one place, but you’ll also receive timely reminders when maintenance is due to help you avoid costly repairs and potentially serious accidents.