Unless you’re living in your RV full-time, it will likely sit in storage most of the time. If you want your RV to stay in tip-top shape, you must do all you can to protect it. How you store your rig can help it last for years. So should you keep your RV slides in while it sits in storage or not?
Today, we’ll answer this question and help you know how to store your camper properly. Let’s dive in and get started!
What Are RV Slides?
RV slides are a design element featured on many modern campers to help maximize space. These box-like structures extend and retract depending on the situation. Slides in an RV can open up the space and make it feel much more spacious and inviting.
Upon arriving at a campsite, these slides extend at the push of a button. Some high-tech rigs can extend and retract from a mobile app on the owner’s cell phone. At the end of the camping adventure, they reverse the process as a part of packing up to head home or to the next adventure.
You should never move your RV if your slides are not fully retracted.
Should You Keep Your RV Slides in While in Storage?
Whether you should keep your slides in while your RV sits in storage depends on where you’re storing your rig. Keeping them in helps seal off your RV and reduce the chances of water or other critters getting into it. In addition, keeping your slides extended will require substantially more storage space than if they have them retracted.
However, some RVers use their RV as additional living space and leave the slides open. If they want a quiet spot to watch a movie, read a book, or work, they can walk out to their camper and make themselves at home. Your RV doesn’t have to be set up in a campsite for you to use it.
Whether you leave them extended or retracted is up to you and your unique situation. However, either way, you need to make sure that you maintain them regularly. You should fully extend and retract the slides once a month and keep the moving parts clean and properly lubricated.
Pro Tip: Learn more about The Different Types of RV Slides (Good, Bad, and Ugly) to decide what’s best for you.
What Can Damage Your RV Slides If Left Out in Storage?
Unfortunately, there are some items you should look out for to avoid damaging the slides on your RV. Damages can be expensive to repair, which means less money to spend on campsite reservations and gear to make RV life easier. Let’s dive in and look at some potential dangers for your RV’s slides.
Leaks from Snow or Rain
If you’re new to RVing, you’ll quickly learn that moisture, whether it’s rain, snow, or humidity, can be a nightmare. While your RV slides have seals designed to keep water from penetrating your slides, they fail over time. If they fail and your slides are open, you could return to find a serious situation inside your rig.
Unfortunately, leaks from snow and rain can take some time to discover. By the time you find the leak, you could already have a significant situation on your hands. Mold can quickly grow, and the wood can start to rot. Fixing damage from leaks can get expensive and labor-intensive very quickly.
Ice may be great for your glass of sweet tea, but it can be horrible for your RV. It’s incredibly dense, which means the thicker it gets, the more weight it can add to your rig. Depending on where you live, you could end up with several inches of snow accumulating on top of the roof of your slides. Add several inches of snow on top of the ice, and you could add tremendous weight to your slides.
The added weight could bend or stress any of the various slide components that help extend and retract the slide. This could also throw off its alignment, which could cause binding or other issues when you attempt to retract it.
Debris from Trees or Wind
While many people watch for trees and other items when opening their slides, they often forget about them once they’ve extended them. However, parking under a large shade tree may help you stay cool, but it puts your RV slides and the rest of your rig in a potential danger zone.
If you’ve ever seen or heard a tree branch or limb fall, it can be violent and unexpected. A limb crashing down onto your RV slide can do tremendous damage and leave your rig out of commission for the foreseeable future.
Rodents Chewing Wires
Whether your slides are in or out, rodents can cause some serious damage. Mice, squirrels, and other pests can gnaw through the wires that control your RV slides. Damaged wires can cause inconsistent and reduced performance and potentially be a fire risk. If you see any indications that any type of rodent is getting cozy with your RV, you want to do whatever you can to get rid of them.
Accidental Scratches or Dents from Other Items in Storage
No matter how hard you try, accidents are bound to happen from time to time. Despite the intent, you could find a dent in your RV and bank account.
If your slides are open while your rig is sitting in storage, it increases the chances that something could hit them and cause scratches or dents. Depending on the severity of the impact, this could damage motors and other critical components.
While a small dent or scratch may not be a tremendous deal, a serious impact could punch a ticket for your RV to take a trip to sit in the repair shop’s parking lot. If they need to replace parts, you could say goodbye to your RV for weeks or months.
What Is the Best Way to Preserve Slides?
Use them regularly. The moving parts need to do their job on a routine basis to stay in prime working condition. The worst thing you can do is not use them for several months, especially if you haven’t maintained them properly.
To preserve your slides, you need to do routine maintenance on them. Keep the gears and mechanisms as clean as possible and lubricate them regularly. If not, you’re setting yourself up for headaches down the road.
Do Slides Degrade Over Time?
Like many RV parts, the odds of something breaking on RV slides increase over time. The more you use them, the more wear and tear they experience. You’re more likely to experience malfunctions or other degradations the older an RV gets.
If you’ve driven on the highways and byways of America, you can’t forget how incredibly abusive the open roads can be on various RV components. The potholes and bumps in the road can do a number on RV slides as you travel down the road.
In addition, placing excessive amounts of weight on an RV can cause issues over time. The wood flooring can weaken and begin to sag. Ultimately, the only way to fix this issue is to replace the flooring in the slide, which can get expensive.
Do I Need Supports Under My Slide Outs?
Many RV owners don’t like the feeling of a lack of support under the slides. As a result, you can find many slide-out support options marketed to eliminate the motion felt in the slides. However, we don’t recommend using these devices on your slide outs.
You have to remember that RVs tend to shift as they settle into the parking spot. This is often why many RVers will re-level their rig after they’ve been parked for a day or two. However, having support stuck under your slides and your RV shifts could place tremendous pressure on the slide mechanisms.
Similarly, imagine if you were to unknowingly run over a nail on your way to a campsite. It may take hours for the air to leak out of your tire before you notice it’s flat. However, if you have supports under your slide outs, they will begin to absorb the weight of your RV as air leaks from your tire. This could cause some very expensive damage to your rig and make it nearly impossible to get your slide to retract at the end of your trip.
Pro Tip: We took a look at leveling your RV to determine if you should Put Your Slides Out Before or After setting up your campsite.
Is It Better to Leave Slides In or Out While in Storage?
Whether or not you leave your slides in or out will significantly depend on your situation. If you’re storing your RV in a location where you can easily access it and use it regularly, leave your slides open. However, most owners benefit from leaving their slides in as it reduces their footprint and decreases the risk of damage.
How do you store your RV?
Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA
To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).
You should give it a try!
As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.
Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site!
We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below: