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RV Slide Out Mistakes and How to Avoid Them




Slide outs are one of the greatest additions to hit the RV market. They create extra space for comfort and added amenities by transforming a small space into an open entertaining space. There are two types of slide out systems you will find on an RV – electric or hydraulic. Electric slide outs are typically used on smaller slide outs while the hydraulic systems are used on larger ones. Each system comes with its pros and cons (including motor failure and misalignment), but let’s discuss one of the biggest issues you will face with your slide out - leaking.

Seals around slide outs become less functional the older that they get and can allow moisture to come in whether the side out is extended or not. It’s important that you check the health of your RV slide out seals regularly. You want to look for any cracks, tears and any other potential problems that could allow water, pests and debris into your RV. It is important to remember that normal usage of your slide out will cause them to be misshapen and cracked, but there are a few steps you can take to protect them.

Limit the chemicals you use on your Seals

The first step to taking care of your slide out seals is making sure that you aren’t using any chemicals on them. We highly recommend that you don’t use “seal protectants” or coatings on your seals as exposing your seals to those chemicals reduces the efficiency and leads to drying and cracking. While the name seal “protectant” sounds important to use, you are really just aiding the problem and depleting the life span of your seals. The most important thing you can do for your seals is keep them clean and dry. 

To clean your seals, we recommend using soap and water. It’s as simple as that! There is no need for seal conditioner. Wipe the seals down, and pat them dry. Another tip we recommend is using talcum powder in a sock to soak up any extra moisture. Remember to also brush away any debris from the slide out before closing it to protect the seal from tears. Both of these steps will increase the life span of your seals.

Invest in quality seals when it’s time to replace them

Remember this saying: real issues require real solutions. Let’s say you have taken care of your slide out seals since you brought your RV home. Unfortunately, wear and tear does happen over time and no matter how much you keep them dry, and clear of debris, you are bound to run into an issue eventually. When it comes time to replace your seals it’s important that you invest in what you’re putting on your RV. There are a lot of companies out on the market to choose from, but Steele Rubber Products is one of the only companies that uses EPDM rubber for all of our seals. Why? EPDM rubber is long lasting! The unique properties of EPDM make the rubber UV and Ozone resistant. Rain, sleet, snow or hail – EPDM prevails.

Whether you are going on vacation only a few times a year, enjoying a weekend stay at your favorite spot or living in your RV; extreme weather can dampen your good time. The last thing you want is water leaking into your RV – the fact that it’s raining is bad enough!

Once you have determined it’s time to replace your seals, there are a few options you can choose from. You can choose to buy a wiper seal and a bulb that slides onto the wiper track. Another option is called the lock-n-seal which features a unique hinged design. Lastly, there is a flip-n-seal option. This seal differs from the lock-n-seal because it does not have a hinge.

To make it easier to replace your seals, we have made most of our slide out seals adhesive backed for easy installation. We call it peel-n-stick for obvious reasons, and our customers love it! Each seal is unique in its own way, so if you have any questions please reach out! We are happy to help you find a solution for your RV slide out.

For all your RV weatherstripping needs, Steele Rubber Products provides high quality products made from EPDM rubber.  You can find a complete list of all of our door sealswindow sealsslide out sealshatches and insert trim and universal parts on our website rv.steelerubber.com.  Additionally, you can download a free RV Parts catalog online or give us a call to request a mail catalog 800-230-6752. 

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