RV slide-outs are a miraculous invention because they dramatically increase the space inside your RV. That leads to a much more comfortable camping experience, but it also means you must consider whether installing RV slideout supports is a good idea for your coach.
When a slide room is extended, a lot of weight is placed on the slide room extensions and supporting frame. This leads some RVers to ask the natural question: should I use RV slideout supports?
What are RV Slideout Supports?
Slide-out supports are a weight-bearing accessory with a wide, flat base at the bottom. The top secures under the frame of your slide-outs. They can be raised or lowered to accommodate your situation.
The Benefits of Slideout Supports
Here are a few reasons to add slide-out supports for your RV:
- Relieve stress on your slide-out extensions.
- Reduce sag on the entire slide-out.
- Reduce swaying and rocking when you’re moving around inside.
- Stabilize fully extended slide-outs.
Are Slideout Supports Necessary?
Once your slideouts are extended, it’s time to consider if they warrant additional support. RV manufacturers design slide-outs to be safe and stable without supports, but extra support will extend the life of your slide-out and reduce maintenance needs.
They’re most useful for full-time or seasonal campers that are set up in one place for a month or longer. They should also be used each time you set up camp if your slide-outs hold a lot of weight, but they’re not absolutely necessary, especially if you move camp frequently.
But be careful!
Technician Tip: Failure to support the coach chassis with jacks and/or stands before installing slide-out supports can damage the sidewall and/or the slide-out as the coach and slide-out would not be able to move together in the wind and as occupants move about inside.
How to Extend RV Slideouts
Regardless of whether you use slide-out supports or not, many slide-out issues can be avoided by operating them properly. Complete these checks before extending your slide-outs:
- Ensure your slide-out has enough clearance by knowing its depth and adding six inches.
- Ensure all people and passengers are clear of the slide-out and its components.
- Refrain from standing on the floor of the slide-out when extending or retracting.
- Remove slide-out locks (if applicable).
- Ensure the space around the slide-out inside your RV is clear – above, below, and on the sides. Items may have shifted during your drive. Check every time!
- Ensure your RV battery is fully charged.
Now, here are the quick steps to using your RV’s slide-outs:
- Locate the slide-out control switch inside your RV.
- Depress the switch’s ‘Out’ or ‘Extend’ side to extend your slide-out.
- Listen for the slide-out motor winding down or groaning, indicating it’s time to release the switch. You may hear a clicking sound on some trailers when fully extended. You may also notice interior lights dimming as the slide-out seals.
- On Schwintek systems, hold the switch for five seconds once the room is fully opened (or closed) for the control board to complete its calculations. Failure to do so will cause the room to go out of synchronization over time.
- Visually, look for the fascia on the interior of the slide-out to set flush with your RV’s interior wall.
- Never extend or retract slide-outs partially. They must be fully open or closed to maintain their seal and keep the interior of your RV waterproof.
How to Manually Retract RV Slideouts
Picture this: You’re packing up camp and hit the RV slide-out’s retract button to bring your slide in – nothing happens. You can do a few checks first, but the good news is that the main RV slide-out types can be retracted manually.
Watch the video above to learn how to retract your RV’s slide-outs manually, or check out our step-by-step written tutorial.
How to Troubleshoot RV Slideouts
Here are a few more resources to help you problem-solve common RV slide-out issues.
Rack and Pinion
Learn how to troubleshoot issues if your RV has a rack and pinion – also known as a through-frame – slide-out.
Here are some easy methods for troubleshooting your cable-driven RV slide-outs.
Explore solutions for common issues with Schwintek slide-outs.
For full-time RVers, slide-out supports are a great investment. They’ll protect your slide-out from sagging when extended for a month or longer. For more full-time RV tips, here are a few great resources:
- How to Live in an RV Full-Time to Save on City Living
- Full-Time RV Life or Part-Time RV Life: How to Know Which is Right for You
- An Authentic Budget Breakdown of Full-Time RV Living
What other questions do you have about RV slide-out supports? Share in the comments below!