RV slide outs can be an awesome way to expand your living space. But an RV slide out can also prove to be a nightmare if you don’t know what to do if it malfunctions. RV slide out repair can be a challenging task to take on by yourself.
What is an RV Slide Out?
What is this RV slide out that can magically increase your floor space? An RV slide out is a section of a room in your RV that extends outward by flipping a switch or pushing a button. A slide out offers the luxury of extending your living space and then retracting when you are ready to move on, but it can malfunction.
Why a Malfunctioning RV Slide Out is such a Problem
As you can imagine (or maybe you’ve experienced it), a malfunctioning slide out can be a huge problem whether the slide out is stuck out or in.
If your RV slide out is stuck out (in the extended position), you can’t get on the road. It is most definitely not safe to drive with the slide out extended. You will have to get it closed up before you’ll be able to safely drive your RV again.
An RV slide out being stuck in the closed position is a lesser evil than it being extended, but can still cause problems. If the slide out is stuck in, many times an RV can become almost unlivable. This is particularly true if the slide out encroaches upon the function of other amenities or blocks entryways, especially if it blocks a room that someone is already inside of.
At a minimum, the slide out being stuck in cuts down on your livable space when you are camping.
What to do if a Slide Out Stops Working
If it sounds as if there is power getting to your slide out, but it won’t open or close, check to make sure that there is nothing blocking it from moving in one direction or the other.
If it sounds as if there is no power when you hit the switch, here are a few things to try when your slide out stops functioning.
Check the power source
If your slide out stops moving in and out, one of the first things to do is check for power. Be sure that your house battery is fully charged and check for any blown fuses or tripped breakers.
Do you have hand-cranking access?
Most RV slide outs have some sort of manual cranking access. This could be through a port on the outside of your RV or the inside. Be sure to follow the instructions in your owner’s manual, as hand cranking access isn’t always obvious and you may need to release a lock or brake before it will move.
Try to push it in gently
If you can’t locate a power issue or a hand crank, you can try gently pushing on the slide out to get it to move. This may not work if there is a lock or brake engaged on the motor, but it is worth a try. NEVER drive with your RV slide out is extended. If it is out and you can’t get it closed, you’ll have to have someone come to you to do the repair.
If you otherwise have power going to the slide out, you’ll also want to check for power to the switch that operates it. You can use a test light or voltmeter to be sure there is power actually going to and from the switch.
What Causes Slide Out Issues?
A mechanical slide typically fails if your gearbox or shear pin is broken. For most of us, that means you’ll need a professional RV slide out repair.
A hydraulic failure can also cause slide out issues. Common hydraulic issues include a busted hydraulic valve or a hydraulic leak. Like the mechanical issues mentioned, hydraulic slide out repairs are generally best left to a professional.
Costs Associated with RV Slide Out Repairs
The costs associated with an RV slide out repair vary quite a bit. It will depend upon the size of your vehicle and its slide out. Do you have a smaller trailer, a fifth wheel, a small-to-mid-sized motorhome, or a large Class A? As size increases, typically, so does the cost of repair.
Unless the repair is super simple (like replacing a blown fuse), you can expect an entry point of around $500 on upwards of $1500 to $2000 per slide out.
Again, this depends on several factors, including your RV and its slide out, the difficulty of the repair, and whether or not you’re able to get your RV to the repair person or the repair person has to come to you. If you are not handy and able to do it yourself, you may want to consider an extended RV warranty.
Routine Maintenance to Keep Slide Outs Working Properly
Slide outs don’t take a lot of maintenance. A few basic steps should keep them working well the majority of the time.
Most slide outs have a rollout awning over them that opens and retracts with the slide out. Before closing your slide out, check to be sure there is no debris on this awning and keep it as clean as you can. Also, make sure there are no unrepaired holes or tears in the awning.
You also want to lubricate the rubber seal around your slide out a couple of times a year. It is recommended that you use a dry lubricant specifically made for slide outs. The lubricant is usually easy to find at an RV supply store or even Walmart.
Keep all of the moving parts clean and free from dirt build-up. This can significantly cut down on the wear and tear of mechanical parts and prevent the need for an RV slide out repair.
Lastly, if you have a hydraulic slide, also periodically check the fluid levels. When functioning properly, the fluid levels shouldn’t change much. If the fluid levels look low, it could indicate a problem, and you may want to have a professional check it out.