What to Do If the Bottom of Your Slide Is Bowing Out

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An RV parked that needs to be fixed due to the bottom of the slide bowing out

Many RVers look for RVs with slides to maximize the usable space in their rigs. However, like most things in a camper, these are only fantastic features until they experience issues.

One of the most common problems RVers experience is the bottom of the slide bowing out. If you’ve ever experienced this, you know it’s not fun. But what should you do if the bottom of your slide bows out?

Today, we’ll help you discover how to prevent the bottom of a slide from bowing out and how to fix it. Let’s dive in!

What Is an RV Slide?

An RV slide is a section of an RV sitting on various rails or other mechanisms. The rails allow it to extend and retract when necessary. Manufacturers use RV slides to maximize the liveable space inside a rig.

While smaller RVs may only have a single slide, some giant rigs can have four to six. This can drastically increase the usable room in a rig and create a very open and comfortable area.

Read more: Many RVers don’t know enough about their RV slides. Learn more about Different RV Slides and How They Work

Are RV Slides Supposed to Be Level?

Your RV slides should be almost perfectly level when you retract them. If not, it’s a sign that something is out of alignment.

You may not notice any issues at first, but over time, this can cause binding and excessive wear and tear on the various components in the slide.

While adjusting the slide yourself may be tempting, we do not recommend it. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can worsen the situation and damage your RV. If you suspect your slides need an adjustment, hire a mobile mechanic or haul your RV to a repair shop.

An RV parked that needs to be fixed due to the bottom of the slide bowing out

What Causes the Bottom of an RV Slide to Bow Out?

There are several common reasons for the bottom of an RV slide to bow out. Most occur over time and will likely only worsen unless you do something to fix them. Let’s take a look!

Water Damage

Water damage can be a nightmare for any RVer. It can cause severe damage throughout the RV but can also weaken the floor of your slide and cause it to bow. You must inspect your RV regularly and look for potential spots where water can get in.

Water damage can cause your RV slide to bow, and it can also be an invitation for mold. You’ll battle a bowing floor and a potential health issue in your RV if this occurs. 

The Slide Not Being Adjusted Properly

Slides require various parts and components to work together to operate correctly. You must adjust your slides properly to align these components for optimal performance.

If not, you’ll likely notice the slide malfunctioning and causing issues. If you don’t align the supports correctly, you could discover that the bottom begins to bow.

Too Much Weight 

One of the most common reasons for a bowing slide is that RVers overload their weight. Due to the way slides function, there’s not much supporting them when you extend them.

Because sofas and dinettes are often on the slides, this can add considerable weight, especially when everyone sits at the table or on the couch. You could add several hundred pounds of weight to the slide.

While you likely won’t fall through from too much weight, it will cause the bottom of the slide to bow over time. This damage slowly occurs, and you likely won’t notice it until it’s too late. So ensure you avoid putting too much weight on your slides.

Protective Cover Is Loose

RV manufacturers install protective covers on the bottom of RVs to keep dirt, debris, and other gunk from harming the RV. These covers are excellent but can loosen over time.

If wind or air gets into the space between your RV and the cover, especially while traveling down the highway, it will stretch it out. The bowing will only worsen the more you use your RV.

An RV parked at a campsite that needs to be fixed due to the bottom of the slide bowing out

How Do You Fix a Slide Bowing Out?

If the slide out on your RV is sagging, you will need to adjust. Unfortunately, it’s not a fix that we recommend just anyone make on their RV.

If you don’t know what you’re doing or aren’t careful, you could cause severe damage to your RV. There could be up to six points needing adjustments, and fine-tuning these points requires knowledge and expertise.

We strongly recommend seeking a trained professional to fix a sagging slideout resulting from mechanical issues. If not, you could easily do thousands of dollars in damage to your RV. 

Keep in Mind: Can RV Slide Out Supports Really Break Your RV? Some RVers swear by them while others argue they’ll damage your RV!

Should I Stabilize My Slide Out?

Some RVers worry about putting too much weight on their slides or don’t like the movement they feel when sitting or moving on them.

One solution is to use RV slide-out stabilizers. However, we won’t link these for you because we don’t recommend them.

While these stabilizers may reduce movement and provide additional support for your slides, they can do more harm than good. After setting up an RV, there’s a good chance it will settle and adjust as it sinks into the ground or the air pressure in the tires fluctuates.

If you jam supports under your slides, they won’t change at the same level as the rest of your RV.

If your RV settles or adjusts while you’ve placed support jacks under the slides, it will likely bend the slide components. This can eventually lead to the slides bowing out.

While the settling is typically minimal, imagine if you were to experience a flat tire at your campsite, which would potentially lower one side of your RV by several inches. If this occurs, you could cause severe and expensive damage to your slides.

How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Slide Out?

You quickly learn as an RV owner that any RV repairs typically aren’t cheap. Not only are the parts expensive, but so is the labor.

Many of the essential parts for an RV slide bowing out can cost several hundred dollars, and a repair shop will charge $125+ per hour. For slide-out repairs, you should likely expect a repair bill of $1,000+ in most cases.

An RV being fixed due to the bottom of the slide bowing out

How Much Weight Can an RV Slide Handle?

Most RV slides are capable of handling 600 to 1500 pounds. However, larger and more structurally sound RVs can have a higher capacity. It’s crucial not to forget to factor in the weight of furniture and people on the slide.

If you have a dining room table on the slide and have four grown adults sitting at the table, you could easily exceed the weight limit of your slide components. Always keep an eye on how much weight you place on your slides to avoid causing extensive damage.

Know When to Call a Professional to Fix the Bottom Of Your Slide Bowing Out

Slides are an essential component of an RV. They can increase the space you and your fellow campers have inside your RV and make it much easier to be in the same tiny area with one another.

However, if something goes wrong with them, you need to know when you’re in over your head. 

You could put yourself and your RV in a sticky situation if you cause damage or your slides become inoperable. You could increase the cost of your repair bill if you don’t know what you’re doing. Save yourself the hassle and know when you need to call a professional.

Have you noticed the bottom of your slide bowing out? 

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