If you learn how to lubricate RV slide-outs, you will not only ensure the proper functioning of the slide system but will also prolong the lifespan of your RV and save maintenance costs. The lubrication process can vary slightly depending on the type of RV slide-out your vehicle possesses.
About 9% of the total households in the US own an RV for recreation. This indicates that the RVing lifestyle resonates with a sizeable population. If you plan on buying an RV, you must maintain the vehicle in the best working condition. One of the things you will have to learn to do is lubricate your slide-outs. Good maintenance means you can use your RV for several years without hassles.
In this article, I focus on various types of RV slide-outs that come in different RVs, along with why it is essential to lubricate your RV slide-outs. I will also answer the question of how to lubricate RV slide-outs and some other FAQs at the end. So, you have every reason to read this article all the way to the end.
Why Should You Lubricate RV Slide-Outs
Let’s first discuss why it is important that you lubricate your RV slide-outs regularly. RV slide-outs are usually made from metal; when metal components interact, there is friction. If the force of friction gets significantly high, it may cause the breakdown of the slide-out mechanism, leading to improper or a complete lack of function of your RV’s slides.
Adding a lubricant decreases the friction between the metal parts and reduces wear and tear. In addition, being exposed to dust, rain,
Types Of RV Slide-Outs
Before we begin answering the question of how to lubricate RV slide-outs, it is important to know the different types of RV slide-outs you will find on RVs.
|Type of Slide||Details|
|Rack and pinion slides||In this type of slide system, worm gears, and rails are located at the top and bottom of the slide. These allow the slide to move out and in. These cannot support heavy weights and are very cost-effective.|
|Cable slide systems||This reliable system of slides consists of cables that move over pulleys to pull the slide out. Despite their lighter weight, they are capable of supporting heavy slides. These are also less prone to corrosion than rack and pinion slides but do tend to be more expensive.|
|Schwintek slides||In this type of slide system, worm gears and rails are located at the top and bottom of the slide. These allow the slide to move out and in. These cannot support heavy weights and are very cost-effective.|
|Hydraulic slides||These slides use a motor and hydraulic fluid to pressure the rams that move the slides out and in. Compared to other slides, these can move very heavy weights. However, due to their complex nature, the system’s components can function improperly due to excessive heat.|
Cleaning RV Slide-Outs
Before lubricating your slide-outs, you should clean them. Cleaning is important since these slide-outs are exposed to dust and other environmental pollutants.
You should clean the debris accumulating on these slides before lubricating them because this dirt can also get stuck within the mechanism. This will cause the slide-outs to get stuck or move slowly or jerkily.
Lubricating RV Slide-Outs
Now that you know the basics of the different types of slide-outs, let’s begin answering the question: how to lubricate RV slide-outs.
- Identify the type of slide-out system because knowing the type of system will help you identify the moving parts. It is these moving parts that should be lubricated.
- Check the system thoroughly to look for any damage. If parts have undergone excessive rusting or worn out, these will not allow the smooth operation of the slide-outs, regardless of how much you lubricate them. Additionally, if leaks in the hydraulic system or the cables or pulleys are loose, they may also impact the functioning of the slide-outs. In such cases, you should replace the slide-out system since lubricating them would not benefit you.
- Clean the RV slide-outs. A damp rag should clean any dirt and debris on the slide-outs. This will ensure the smooth functioning of the slide-out system.
- Application of the lubricant. While sliding out the system completely, notice the moving parts of the slide-out. It is these parts that you should lubricate. Apply a thin and uniform layer of lubricant over the moving surfaces. To avoid overspray, spray the lubricant onto a rag and apply it to the moving parts of the slide-out. Avoid putting too much lubricant that would fall off the slide-outs and go to waste.
- After application of the lubricant, you should move the slide-out in and out several times so that the lubricant is evenly distributed across the surface and the slide-out can function without any hindrance.
- Besides lubricating the moving surfaces, you should also pay attention to the seals surrounding your slide-outs. These are important in weatherproofing and should be sprayed with a rubber seal conditioner.
Which Lubricant Should You Use?
Now that you know how to lubricate RV slide-outs, you must wonder which lubricant you should use. While several options are available in the market, I would recommend the following:
- These have been purchased by over a thousand buyers, and I have also personally verified them.
- They have a rating of 4.6 or above on Amazon.
- These are affordable and long-lasting.
- They have been made specifically for RV slide-outs rather than being all-purpose.
- These can easily be applied by spraying.
3-in-1 Slide-Out Silicone Lube
The 3-in-1 Slide-Out Silicone Lube is one of the most popular RV slide-out lubricants. It is available for just $9.26 and has high customer approval. Not only does it lubricate your RV slides, but it also protects you from water and rust. You can use it on metal, rubber, plastic, or vinyl materials. The downside is that the container tends to be slightly smaller at 11 Oz, which you can finish rather quickly.
Camco Slide-Out Lube
The Camco Slide-Out Lube comes in a 15 Oz container, which is more than the other two options. It also offers great lubrication with many satisfied customers as well. Applying this to your slide-out will help it resist dirt, grime, rust, and corrosion. One pack will cost you $20.20.
Thetford Premium RV Slide-Out Lubricant
The size of the Thetford Premium RV Slide-Out Lubricant container is slightly smaller at 13 Oz compared to the Camco Slide-Out at roughly the same price of $20.70. This will protect your slide-outs against moisture, dirt, and rust. Consumers have greatly liked the effectiveness and the ease of use.
3-in-1 Rubber Seal Conditioner
If you are looking for a quality rubber seal conditioner, here’s one you won’t be disappointed by. The 3-in-1 Rubber Seal Conditioner comes in a 11 Oz container for $9.97 on Amazon. It is also easy to apply by spraying and has over five thousand purchases with a high customer satisfaction rate.
If you have bought an RV and want to know how to lubricate RV slide-outs, you should first check out the type of slide-out mechanism your RV contains. After identifying the mechanism, inspect the components for damaged or worn-out parts.
Having ensured the system’s integrity, you should clean any dirt and debris off the slide-out using a damp rag. Once your slide-out is clean, apply a thin layer of lubricant on the moving parts and then move the slide-out several times to uniformly spread the lubricant. You should also apply rubber seal conditioner to the seals that surround the slide-outs.
How often should you lubricate RV slide-outs?
Generally, you should lubricate your RV slide-outs twice a year. However, this may increase or decrease depending on the environmental conditions. If you live in a humid environment or with a lot of dust, your slide-outs will be more likely to get corroded or have debris stuck within them. Therefore, you may increase the frequency of the lubrication to four to five times a year.
The best time to lubricate your RV slide-outs is just at the beginning of the season or before heading out for an RV trip.
When should you contact a professional?
You might find it difficult to lubricate and clean complex systems like the cable slide. So, to prevent any unnecessary damage, you should contact a trained technician to maintain this type of slide-outs. Additionally, if your slide-outs are not working despite cleaning and lubricating, you should refer to a professional to inspect your slides.
If there are worn-out parts in your slides that need replacement and you are not confident in your DIY skills, you should also get the help of a qualified technician.
What common problems may occur due to a lack of slide-out maintenance?
If your slide-out does not undergo regular maintenance, several issues may arise. Firstly, due to a lack of maintenance, there will be high friction during the functioning of the slide-out. As a result, there will be several loud noises and squeaks during the operation of your slide-out.
Furthermore, while the slide-out opens, there will be increased resistance, which will cause the motor that operates the slides to use excessive power. Due to this, the chances of the motor getting damaged are increased, and it may stop functioning abruptly, causing the mechanism to fail.
This abrupt shutdown of the slide-out mechanism can lead to the slide-out getting stuck. This can cause a lot of trouble when you are out on a trip and cannot find a trained professional nearby.
What other components of your RV should undergo regular maintenance?
In addition to your RV slide-outs, several other components should be regularly checked and maintained. These include:
- RV batteries
- Roof, doors, and windows
- Gas detectors
- Water pumps and storage tanks
- Seals all over the RV
- Engine oil
- Wheel bearings
- Air conditioning and heaters