If you’ve ever been in an RV with slideouts, it’s hard to imagine being in one without them.
With the flick of a switch, the RV can double in size, turning your trailer or motorhome from a thin hallway to an expansive living room, with plenty of room for friends and family. Slideouts evolved from a niche concept in the early 1990s, and today, RVers can find them on nearly every model of travel trailer and motorhome.
But with every great innovation comes drawbacks. Like every moving part on your RV, your slideouts need maintenance, especially the seals that keep the elements out.
Here’s four quick things every RVer needs to know about slideout seal maintenance.
ABOUT SLIDEOUT SEALS
Your RV’s slideout seals aren’t its most impressive part. There aren’t any flashy LCD screens or electronic gadgets there. The seals are simply a set of two (or more) pieces of soft rubber, one designed to be compressed and keep a seal, and another one for wiping water or other debris away.
But if they weren’t there, your slideout would be a magnet for water damage, debris and other damaging elements. And neglecting them can mean costly repairs – or even replacing your slideout entirely.
One facet of slideout seal maintenance that often gets entirely ignored is leveling. While not maintenance in the typical sense, ensuring that your RV is on even ground before using your slideouts is important. An uneven slideout can put undue stress on a slideout seal and cause friction wear.
Cleaning your RV’s slideout seals with some regularity is the best thing you can do to maintain their health. Make sure you remove any debris from your slideout before moving them back in, and occasionally give your seals a coat of rubber treatment to ensure a water-tight, strong seal. Good Life recommends Protectall Slide-Out Rubber Seal Treatment for this purpose.
A good rubber seal treatment can cut down on friction and provides an anti-static and water-resistant finish that can last for months. There’s no way around it: treatment is key to seal maintenance.
If you ask a service technician, they’ll all say the same thing about slideout seals: they’ve never seen one that hasn’t leaked. They’re only thin pieces of rubber, and there’s only so much they can do.
At some point, you’re going to have to cut your losses and replace your slideout seals. If you wait too long, you could risk damaging the wood frame around your slideout. These repairs can likely be done in one day, and costs can vary widely, depending on size, wear and number of seals. Expect to pay over $1,000 for a full seal replacement.
Slideout seal maintenance can be a tedious task, but these simple rubber parts can be the cause of lots of unnecessary stress if not well taken care of.