A slide-out is part of your camper or RV that extends to give you more room`! Typically added to the side of your camper, electronic motors or pulleys will move the slide-out sideways to create more room inside your camper.
It provides a roomy interior and leaves your camper feeling less cramped, perfect for longer trips! You can use the extra space to add furniture such as sofas or beds, with them commonly being used as bedrooms.
You can add more than one to your camper, too, depending on the size. Larger campers or RVs can add two slide-outs, creating more sleeping and living space to enjoy on your travels. These extra spaces can be used while the camper is moving or set up overnight when your camper is parked up.
You need to check that any campsites you stay at are suitable for slide-outs and have the space to accommodate your wider camper. These campers aren’t without their problems (more on that later) but are perfect for adding extra space for families or friends traveling.
How do motorhome slide-outs work?
Motorhome slide-outs add extra space to your RV. There are a few different types depending on if you choose a hydraulic, Schwintek, pulley and cable, or rack and pinion slide-out. The type of slide-out you have impacts how they work, but the result is usually the same.
More often, they are powered by an electric motor. The motor powers the pulley and cable, or rack and pinion system to move the slide-out in one direction. Gears between the motor and pinion are sometimes added, which causes the RV slide-out to move in the opposite direction.
These tend to run on 12V of DC power, coming directly from your battery. They can use a lot of power, drawing power directly from the battery. It means that you can move the slide out when you are dry camping, and there’s no power for you to connect.
Some slide-outs are moved by a system of pulleys and cables. They aren’t commonly used but are some of the most reliable. The lack of electrical components means the maintenance on these is minor.
Pulley and cable systems to move the slide-out tend to add some inches to your RV, and you will notice them protruding by a few inches.
Whichever system, they all work to move the slide-out out on the side of your motorhome to give you more space.
Are RV slide-outs a problem?
Despite the additional living space they provide, RV slide-outs are not without their problems. Typically, they have mechanical issues and maintenance problems that can take time to fix.
Slide-outs can be prone to motor failure, misalignment, leaks, and electrical issues. The problems can vary depending on the model of your RV, and we think it’s always best to speak to a professional if you aren’t quite sure.
They can better diagnose the problem, especially if it’s engine-related, and fix it safely and correctly.
The slide-out switch failing is a common issue, along with the motor failing. These issues can be fixed at home, but we think it’s best left to the professionals, especially if you aren’t sure what you are doing!
To prevent your slide-out from being a problem, regular maintenance is key. Ensuring the guttering and roof are free from dirt and debris will help prevent leaks and check all the seals.
Checking the motor regularly and ensuring that everything is in working order before you set off can also help identify any issues early on.
We recommend checking your warranty for new RVs to check what is covered should anything go wrong with your slide out. While they can have issues, slide-outs are still an excellent feature to have on your RV, especially if you are after more room!
Older campsites aren’t always suitable to accommodate an RV with a slide-out, which can be an issue if you stay somewhere last-minute. It’s best to do your research before setting out to ensure you won’t encounter any problems.
Can you add a slide out to a motorhome?
Yes, you can indeed add a slide-out to a motorhome! If you want to add some extra space to your motorhome, adding a slide-out is your easiest option and allows for plenty of customizable options.
You can either add a slide-out yourself or contact a professional to do it for you. Some slide-out companies will also add the slide-out for you, but be mindful of the added cost when doing so.
For more expensive motorhomes, you can contact a company to add a slide-out using a built-on chassis. It can save you the stress of damaging an expensive RV, but again, there will be a fee for this.
The slide-out itself can be costly, so it’s worth paying close attention to your budget before undertaking the task. Consider how much use you will get out of a slide-out before adding it to your motorhome.
If you are adding the slide-out yourself, be mindful that it is not easy to do. There is plumbing, electrical installation, welding, carpentry, engineering, fabrication, and designing skills to ensure that it is done successfully.
In most cases, it is easier to pay a professional to add a slide-out to your motorhome unless you have previous experience of doing it yourself.
Do slide-out RVs leak?
Yes, RV slide-outs can leak if they are damaged! Typically, slide-outs that are worn out can leak. This can be due to cracked slide seals and should be replaced roughly every two years, depending on use.
It’s worth testing your slide out before venturing on any journeys so that you have plenty of time to carry out repairs!
There could also be dirt or debris under your slider seal that can cause leaks to form. This is most common with silicone seals, and it’s best to clean them regularly to prevent a build-up of debris from wreaking havoc on your slide out!
When parking up or setting up camp for the night, check that your RV is properly leveled before rolling the slide out. The last thing you want is to try and shelter from the rain and get dripped on anyway!
A slide-out can also leak when your RV isn’t leveled. When parking your RV, we recommend checking all of it, not just your slide-out, to ensure no issues you need to deal with.
Broken windows, clogged guttering, and plumbing problems can also cause your slide out to leak. It’s important to check these areas before setting off to prevent any leaks while you are away!
If your RV is brand new and the slide-out is leaking, we would recommend seeing a professional as this should not be happening. It’s worth checking your warranty, too, to see if you are covered for this.
How much does it cost to add a slide-out to a camper?
The cost varies when adding a slide-out to a camper, but they are not cheap additions. Typically, these slide-outs can cost thousands and are an addition you should make only if you are sure you will get plenty of use out of them.
The larger the slide-out is, the more expensive it tends to be. The location of the slide-out can also impact the cost. Usually, slide-outs are placed on the side of your camper. If there are electronics in the way or cables that need to be reconfigured, this can also boost the cost.
You can keep the cost down if you fit the slide-out to your camper yourself, but as we mentioned earlier, this is not an easy task. We recommend only doing so if you have previous or similar experience and do your research before undertaking the task.
Paying a professional to add a slide-out to your camper is the most common option, but it does boost the cost up. Most slide-out manufacturers will fit the slide-out for you at a fee, but their work will come with a warranty usually.
Of course, you can take it elsewhere, but the cost can vary, especially if lots of modifications need to be made.
It’s worth considering a slide-out carefully before adding one to your camper. Not only can they be troublesome, but the high cost needs to be considered. We recommend only purchasing one if you are going to get your money’s worth from it.
Also, remember to shop around to find the best price; you never know what kind of bargain you might get!