Where and How to Lubricate RV Slide Outs

RV time is supposed to be fun and relaxing. But that fun and relaxation stops when your slide outs malfunction. One of the problems may be that they are misaligned. Another may be that you need to add more lubrication. Either way, once you get those tasks done, you can go back to having fun and relaxation.

How to Lubricate RV Slide Outs: When it comes time to maintain your slide outs, a little can go along way. One spot you lubricate will be your slide out seals. A little baby powder will go a long way in keeping your slide out moving.

Another is to use a dry lubricant directly on your slide out rails. This little maintenance work will make sure your slide outs slide easier, smoother and effortlessly.

To find out more about lubricating your slide outs, just continue to read our article. It is filled with the information you need to know to make sure you do not lose your fun and relaxation time when using your RV.

Where to Lubricate RV Slide Outs

When it comes time to do a little routine maintenance on your RV, you need to make sure that you look after your slide outs. The best place to lubricate them will be on their rails and gears.

Keeping these parts well lubricated should spare you the misfortune of the slide outs becoming misaligned, bent or stuck. One good product to use would be to use a dry slide out lube. This is a dry powdered spray that coats your rails and gears with a dry film.

This film will keep rust, dirt, and corrosion from entering the gears or damaging your rails. Plus, you only have to use it about once a year to protect your slide outs from harm. The dry lubricants also remove moisture that may harm your mechanisms if left untouched.

What you want to avoid are those thick, oily lubricants that some people sell. This style of lubricant actually attracts dirt and grime bringing a potential danger to your slide out mechanisms.

Keep in mind that while dry lubricants can work over a year’s time, it is still a good idea to do monthly checks and re-lubricate if you think it is necessary. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

How to Lubricate RV Slide Out Seals

There are several ways to lubricate your slide out seals. One of the simplest ways and one that has been recommended by different RV manufacturers is to use baby powder. All it takes is a good cloth and a large bottle of baby powder.

Then you just wipe down the seals and they should let your slide out move effortlessly for up to a year at a time. This is a procedure that only has to be done once a year. To lubricate and keep your seals nice and pliable, you may want to turn to a good seal conditioner spray.

These sprays should be used about every 8 weeks and they help to prevent pre-mature decaying or other damage. To spray your seals, make sure you do the inside first with the slide out fully retracted.

This gives you the room you need to cover the entire seals. Then extend the slide out to tackle the exterior seals. Just make sure you give the seals plenty of time to absorb the conditioner before moving your slide out.

Also, you can check out the variety of other products on the market that are made to keep your seals lubricated and protected from UV rays.

How to Lubricate RV Slide Out Rollers

Just about every slide out has a mechanism that uses rollers to move those sections of your RV in or out. Keeping them lubricated is essential for a smooth slide out operation. The type of lubricant you use is also important as many manufacturers do not recommend using oily lubricants.

When you set out to lube your rollers, you really should check your owner’s manual before you do any work. The owner’s manual will have all the location of the lubrication points to help make your job a lot easier.

Again, even for rollers, the dry lubricant is best as it will keep moisture dirt and grime away from your rollers. The one thing you should be aware of is that each manufacturer has different lubrication points.

Where those points are on your old RV will not be where they are at on your new RV unless you bought from the same manufacturer. Then if you are unsure about lubricating your rollers on your own, you should go to a qualified RV repair shop and have one of their technicians handle the task for you.

But it is really not that difficult to do. You just spray at those lubricating points and let the rollers do the rest.

Lubricate RV Slide Rails

Choosing the right lubrication to lube your slide out rails can be difficult. Not only are there a lot of lubricants to choose from, some manufacturers do not recommend most of them. For Lippert, they say that they recommend only the CRC power lube in the green can.

That product may not be available everywhere and you may have to go on a little treasure hunt to find it. The people at Thor said that they do not recommend any lubricant and not use any lube at all.

Some people ignore that advice to help keep their slide outs working and in top condition. You have to be careful about recommendations or the lack of them. There may be some ulterior motive behind what the repair shops and dealers say.

Also, if you start to hear a little squeak in your rails as they move, it would be a good idea to find a little spray lubricant and give your gears and rollers a nice little blast of lubricant. That will cut the squeak out and let you enjoy your RV more.

Lubricating RV Slide Windows

To handle the lubricating of your RV slide out windows there are two good lubricants to use. One is a silicone spray which can help your slide out windows slide by nice and easy. The other is a dry lubricant which will protect your windows as they move in and out.

There is also a product called Slipit which comes in a spray and a paste. The latter is a little like vasoline and you only need a little dap on both lubrication points to get the job done right.

Then if you really want to be a do it yourself type fixit man, you can use simple paraffin wax. It is the same wax many grandmothers used to use when they did their canning for the year. This wax should provide the lubrication you need without causing you any damage to your wallet.

You may scoff and laugh at the use of paraffin wax, but this wax is used on a lot of wood products where they need the wood to slide smoothly without catching. Like most RV products, there are a variety of specially made lubricants that will handle your RV slide out windows without damaging them.

What to Use to Lubricate RV Slides

A better question would be what not to use to lubricate RV slides. The one product you really do not want to use are those oily lubricants. While they will do the job well and your slide out mechanisms, gears and rollers will slide in and out smoothly, there is a problem.

These oily lubricants actually attract the very elements you want to keep away from your slide out mechanisms, and so on. Dirt, grime, sand, dust and other elements love oil lubricants and find a hoe there. After a while, these elements build up and start causing your slide out mechanisms, etc., a little trouble.

When you go to lubricate your slides, you want to use a dry spray. These dry sprays do not attract those harmful elements and create a protective film. This film blocks sand, dirt, grime and so on from forming on your rails helping them to last longer.

Even if your repair shop or dealer tells you not to use lubricant, you should still coat your slide out mechanisms with a dry spray. You should do this about every 2 months just to be on the safe side. Regular lubrication makes everything work better and last a lot longer.

Best Lube for RV Slide Outs

There are a lot of good slide out lubricants you can buy and try. Amazon has a good list of them, and one top brand is Thetford Premium Slide out lubricant. Another is 3 in One which uses both silicone and dry formulas to get the job done.

Then there is Camco. It is a highly recommended dry lubricant spray that coats your rails well. Star Brite is another brand that uses a spray and a liquid to help you keep your slide outs well lubricated and working to their fullest potential.

If you do not want to wait for Amazon shipping, you can always try Good Sam Club, the other big box stores and even your local RV parts and supply outlets. These stores should carry some of the best brands for you at a price you can afford.

When you go shopping make sure to get a little advice from experienced RV owners and see what works best for them. Not all RVs are the same so different products may work differently on different models.

The Best Time to Lubricate your Slide Outs

It has been said that lubricating your slide outs should be done every couple of months. That is good when you are using your RV full time and then using your slide-out on at least a weekly basis. But what if you are not using your RV full time?

Instead, you store it for up to 4 to 6 months at a time. Or even longer. When is it a good time to lubricate your slide out mechanisms? One thing you need to be aware of is that even storage is not always a safe place from rust and corrosion.

These damaging elements can strike at any time. Although it is recommended that you spray a dry lubricant only once a year this may not be enough when your RV remains in storage for long periods of time.

There are two good times to lubricate your RV’s slide out mechanism when you are not a full-time user. The first time would be when you are getting it winterized and ready for its long rest.

You want to make sure to protect your metal RV parts when you are not around. Then the next best time would be right after you pull it out of storage and are in the process of getting it ready for your upcoming RV season.

Making sure everything is in top working order before you head out is one way to prevent any trouble while you are using your vehicle or trailer.

Some Final Words

On the surface, RVs look like a great way to spend those lazy summer afternoons. They provide almost all the comforts of home and you do not have to have a reservation when you want to stop. You just find a good spot and pull over for the evening.

Unfortunately, that is only the surface perspective of RV camping. Underneath it all, there's a lot of work to be done and a lot of preventive maintenance to take care to make sure you can be lazy while enjoying your time away from home.

Lubricating your slide out mechanisms and seals is just one of those regular maintenance tasks that can save you a lot of headaches as well as money. Using the right lubricant will keep your slide outs functioning like they should and for many years to come.

All it takes to keep your slide outs lubricated properly are only a few minutes of your time every two months or so.

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