Understanding RV Slide Outs

slide outs

The allure of RV living is intoxicating for many people. The thought of living smaller, traveling, and seeing the beauty in the world has captured the attention of countless RV enthusiasts, and many have caught the full-time RV bug. 

One major hurdle people have to crest in their pursuit of the ultimate RV lifestyle, however, is the tiny living. Even the largest, most spacious RVs can sometimes seem limited in space, especially if more than one person lives in the rig for an extended period of time.

Luckily, slide outs can help! These days, slide outs are highly sought-after features on RVs because of how much square footage they can add to an RV. Slide outs are typically located in areas such as the kitchen, living room, and bedrooms, and some rigs will have one slide out while others can have two or more.

There are two main types of slide outs that manufacturers incorporate into their RVs:

Hydraulic Slides

Hydraulic slides use an electric hydraulic pump to operate. The pump moves hydraulic fluid through a system of valves, hydraulic lines, and acuators that power the slides in and out. Because a hydraulic system is powerful, it can be found in big rigs that feature large and heavy slide outs.

In an RV with a hydraulic pump system, all the slide outs will be powered by that single system. This means that to open one slide out, all of them must be opened and they will usually open and close in the same order. This can be a bit of a pain for most travelers, as a short break for a snack, for example, could turn into a production, requiring one to open all the slides in the rig to access the kitchen.

Electric Motor Slides

Electric motor slides are powered by an electric motor, and the motor moves a system of gears or chains to move the slide in and out. Motors are typically an option for slides that are small and light and each slide will have it’s own motor. This means that slides can be operated independent of one another, which is helpful for short stops and breaks – you won’t have to perform a complete camping set up of your rig just to take a nap!

Regardless of the type of slide outs an RV has, there can be challenges with these features. For example, the components in a hydraulic system can go bad and electric motors can fail as well. Sometimes slide outs get stuck in a rig and sometimes they get stuck while fully extended. They often have leakage problems and can come off their tracks.

While these issues are enough for many RV enthusiasts to seek rigs without slide outs, a great many consumers still find the added living space a reasonable trade off.

Does your rig have slide outs? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages, in your opinion? Let us know in the comments or contact us today!

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