July 14, 2021

RV Slide Out Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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, amenities and entertaining. There are two types of slide out systems you will find on an RV – electric or hydraulic. Electric systems 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 the biggest issue you will face is leaking which is where slide out seals come in.

Here are some of the most common mistakes made with slide out seals that we want to help you avoid:


Not thoroughly prepping the surfaces.

After removing all of the old rubber you want to ensure you are appropriately cleaning and prepping the surface so that when you apply the new seals, they will adhere properly and increase the lifespan of your seals.

Rushing through the job.

No matter what step you are at in the process of replacing your slide out seals, taking your time is extremely important. You do not want to rush through cleaning and prepping your surface. You especially do not want to rush through the adhesive stage because too much or too little adhesive will not hold your seal in place properly. Lastly you want to take your time ensuring that the seals on all sides are lining up correctly.

Operating the slide out box too early.

We recommend letting the adhesive set for 24 hours before closing your slide out after installation. This is to prevent your seals from moving, if the adhesive has not set the seal will move and they will set incorrectly.

Not forming a single wiper all around the slide out box.

Once the seal has been put on you want the top wiper overlapping with the side wipers. Mantling your seals in this way ensures that dirt, grime and water don’t get through the top of your slide box.

General Operation

Not inspecting seals often enough.

Seals around slide outs become less functional over time which can allow moisture in whether the slide out is extended or not. It is important to check the health of your RV slide out seals regularly. We recommend checking in the beginning and end of RV season (May-October) or if you live in your RV full time, check every few months. You want to check for cracks, tears and any other potential problems could lead to damage.

Using chemicals on your seals.

Contrary to the marketing scheme of “Seal Protectants”, they actually do the opposite of “protect”. Seal protectants or coatings exposes your seals to chemicals which reduces the efficiency and eventually leads to your seals drying out and cracking. While they sound important, you would just be depleting the life of your seal. Should you apply anything to your seals? That leads us to the final mistake to avoid.

Not keeping the seals clean.

Like anything else, you want to keep your seals clean and dry, even if your RV is stored inside or under a wrap dirt will find its way there. We recommend ONLY using soap and water to clean your seals. It’s as simple as that! When cleaning, gently wipe down your seals getting the dirt and grime off, then patting the seals completely dry. Another tip is to use talcum powder in a sock to soak up any extra moisture.

Remember to always brush away any debris from the slide out before closing it to protect the seal from tears.

Watch our “How To” below on Installing a Slide Out Seal

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

Steele Rubber Products offers premium RV seal replacements. If you need help installing any of our seals – contact us. Our Product Specialists can be reached over the phone (800-230-6752) or on Live Chat. We are here to make sure your project is a success.


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