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Beware: You Shouldn’t Use RV Slide Out Supports

Slide-out supports are an incredibly controversial topic in the RV community. For every person you see using them, there are equally as many people against them, and it seems both sides make valid arguments.

However, when you’re spending a pretty penny on your camper, the last thing you want to do is risk damaging it. So should you use RV slide-out supports with your rig?

Today, we’re jumping into the discussion to share our thoughts on whether using these accessories is wise. We’ll give you some ideas to consider and help you make an informed decision.

Let’s get started!

What are RV Slide-Out Supports?

As their name indicates, RV slide-out supports provide additional stability and support for slide-outs on an RV. These are typically metal or plastic pieces that connect to a camper’s structure and help provide extra support and prevent sagging of movement in the rooms that extend outside the main frame.

Many people choose to use these pieces of equipment for the peace of mind they provide. Extra stability and support can make spending time in a rig more comfortable. Some people sensitive to movement may deal with balance issues or motion sickness resulting from bouncing and instability when not using these items.

Similar to the jacks that help level or support an RV, these supports offer the same type of assistance and improved experience. However, they’re far from perfect, and many owners avoid them at all costs.

Here’s the price on Amazon: RV Slide-Out Supports

Can RV Slide-Out Supports Damage Your RV?

While these devices can increase your experience, they can also have negative consequences. The supports absorb weight and shock on the slide-out to reduce or eliminate movement. However, too much upward force from them could seriously damage the slide components.

Unfortunately, the force applied to the supports can change with little to no notice. For example, imagine one of your tires developing a slow leak. If you have these accessories propping up your RV slides, the upward pressure will slowly increase as the tires lose air. Instead of simply replacing the tire, you’re now looking at a more extensive and costly repair bill.

Pro Tip: Learn more about The Different Types of RV Slides (Good, Bad, and Ugly) to decide what’s best for you.

RV slide out camper
RV slide-out supports provide extra stability for your RV slide-outs.

How Much Weight Can an RV Slide-Out Hold?

The amount of weight RV slide-outs can hold varies based on the rig and the slide. Typically, they can hold anywhere from 600 to 1,500 pounds without sustaining damage. Unfortunately, this is quite a range and greatly depends on several factors.

If you’re worried about the weight limit for your slide-out, you’ll want to know how much stress you’re placing on it. For example, some slide-outs hold all the seating in the living space. Combine the weight of the furniture with several grown adults, and you could easily exceed the rating in some instances.

You don’t want to play a guessing game when it comes to damaging your camper. When in doubt, it’s best to consult with your manufacturer to confirm weight ratings. These repairs can be extremely costly and result in your rig being out of commission for an extended time.

Are RV Slide-Out Supports a Good Idea?

While there are some potential benefits to using slide-out supports, we don’t recommend them. These devices can significantly damage your camper when misused or other failures occur. While some owners have used them for years and never experienced any issues, the risks are too great for us to try them.

If you’ve ever had to re-level your camper after a few days in the same spot, there’s a reason. Your rig will typically settle into place once you get parked and it sits stationary. As it does, it can cause shifts in weight throughout the frame. If you’ve placed supports under your slide-outs, this could result in damage from the upward pressure.

Slide out camper at campsite
Be careful when using RV slide-out supports to not damage your camper.

Tips for Using RV Slide-Out Supports

Should you ignore our advice and use RV slide-out supports anyway, there are some essential guidelines you need to follow. Here are some tips for getting the most out of them while minimizing the risks.

Never Use with Schwintek Slide Outs

The Schwintek system is one of the most common slide-out mechanisms manufacturers use. These unique systems use a worm-like gear and railing system with motors to extend and retract. However, this makes them susceptible to issues when out of alignment. 

Applying upward pressure to them while extended is a great way to damage these gears and railing systems. The result is a slide that’ll struggle to retract when it’s time to pack up camp. You may have to call an expensive professional to help address the issue. If you have any future travel plans, you might have to put them on hold until the problem is resolved.

Avoid Excessive Cranking

The more upward pressure you provide to the slide-out, the less movement you’ll feel. It can be tempting to keep cranking on the supports to absorb the weight. You may be happy with how sturdy your rig feels, but you won’t be smiling when you discover the damage you’ve caused.

Excessive cranking on the supports is very easy to do, and you may not realize how much pressure you’re applying to the components. If you decide to use these supports, do yourself a favor and avoid providing too much support.

Check Your Warranty Before Using

Many owners love the peace of mind that a warranty provides. It’s common to hear some RVers admit that they purchased new just because they wanted a warranty. However, these little safety nets are only good if you follow specific requirements, including how you treat your rig. 

Some policies even state that using certain accessories, like slide-out supports, voids an individual’s warranty. Dealing with repairs is stressful, but discovering that you’ve voided your warranty and are now on the hook for the entire repair cost will only worsen it.

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.

What’s Your Decision on RV Slide-Out Supports?

We know this debate will rage on for many years in the future. While we’ve made our decision on the issue, we hope the information provided here allows you to come to an informed conclusion.

Knowing that RV slide-out supports can cause significant damage to your camper should leave you wary of them. We would hate to see you have to cancel adventures because of these accessories causing serious damage to your RV.

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