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Will My Slide Out Work Without Battery?

Updated on April 16, 2023

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The introduction of the slide out feature has truly revolutionized RVs and Motorhomes. The feasibility provided by slide out furniture and living arrangements can make any RV look grand and better. 

will my slide out work without battery

What’s more, RV slide outs have also allowed RV owners to truly enjoy the minimalist lifestyle. You can save space inside your vehicle and incorporate key additions. 

However, just as is the case with most new forms of technology, slide outs can be prone to misalignment, leaks, motor failure, and more. The motor and battery behind the gear function can develop problems over time. A system overview of the slides out on your RV can help you save time and effort. 

In this article, we look at whether your slide out RV mechanism will work without a battery or not. We also answer some other questions about the slide out battery and how it works. 

Will an RV Slide Out Work Without Battery? 

Whether your RV slide out works without a battery depends on the kind of slide out. Some rack and pinion or hydraulic slide outs will work without a battery, while motor-operated slide outs won’t work without a battery.

That being said, you can still get get your slide out on your RV to work with the following three simple techniques:

  • First, you can plug the camper into a shore power system and operate your slide out from the power generated through the shore power.
  • Secondly, you can use a generator to move your slide out in the way you want. The generator will help provide relevant water and give the power required for efficient operations. 
  • Additionally, if all other techniques fail, you can turn on your generator and operate your slide out through the power generated from your truck. The slide out will work efficiently, even if it is powered by your truck. 

Some slide out campers come with a manual mechanism, which works just as fine. The manual operation will ensure that you have a fully functional slide out in your RV, even if the battery is dead. In short, you will never be stuck with a dead battery or a dead slide out. 

How Does a Slide Out On an RV Work?

RV slide outs work on the back of several components, including gears, motors, tracks and other hydraulics. The slide outs can be extended and retracted back to your motorhome’s walls, giving you additional space inside the room. 

As a frequent RV traveler, it is necessary that you know the intricate details involved in the process and how exactly your slide out works. The type of slide out mechanism you have is dependent on the age and type of motorhome you own. 

Different Types of Slide Outs

Here’s a quick breakdown of the different types of slide outs you will find in RVs.

Slide Outs Powered by an Electric Motor

Electric motor slide outs require an electric motor to function properly. The track and gears used within an electric motor slide out are the same as some of the other slide outs, but the electric motor is responsible for moving the components and providing ease in use. These tracks are generally durable and lightweight, providing additional feasibility. 

Electric motors make it easier to retract and extend slide outs within your motor home. The arduous process is simplified and conducted in a matter of seconds. 

You can take the slide out and extend it to full size within a couple of seconds through the simple click of a button. Just bear with the whirring sound of the slide out propelling the tracks in the background, and you’re good to go. 

Slide Outs powered by Manual designs 

These slide outs follow an even simpler method, which can be either manually used or automated. Most rack and pinion slide outs are manual and are fairly easy to control and operate for most. Rack and pinion slide outs are also automated through hydraulics or an electric connection. 

The gear on the rack and pinion slide out can move in both directions, so retracting and extending the slide out is fairly easy. 

Slide Outs Powered by Hydraulics

All slide outs powered by hydraulics use air pressure as a controlling force. These slide outs are semi-automated through the use of an electric motor. 

The manual automation in the hydraulic system requires minimal effort since the hydraulic press does the lion’s share of the work. 

Hydraulic slide outs are a lot of cost options for traditional motorhomes. Heavy slide outs require the sturdiness and rigidity of hydraulic components to ensure durability. 

How to Operate an RV Slide Out With a Dead Battery?

Imagine you are out RVing with your family. Your motorhome was tuned to perfection before the trip, and everything was going smoothly. You stop your rig for a breather in the middle of nowhere and look to extend the slide out. 

But, alas, the slide out fails to function, as the battery is dead. You can either spend the rest of your trip fretting over the failed component or use our recommended techniques to get the slide outs up and running. 

As we have previously mentioned above, there are three simple techniques our readers can follow to operate their slide out with a dead battery:

  • First, you can plug the camper into a shore power system and operate your slide out from the power generated through the shore power. 
  • Secondly, you can use a generator to move your slide out in the way you want. The generator will help provide relevant water and give the power required for efficient operations. 
  • Additionally, if all other techniques fail, you can turn on your generator and operate your slide out through the power generated from your truck. The slide out will work efficiently, even if it is powered by your truck. 

Can You Manually Push In an RV Slide Out?

Some RV slide outs come with manual levers and gears as well. Manual levers are installed on top of the automated function to provide relief in case of emergencies. 

Your manual gear and lever can be used to extend a slide out if the battery is dead manually. However, for this technique to work, you need manual controls. 

How Long Do RV Slide Outs Last?

Having to brand new slide outs in your rig is surely a blessing. You can rely on the lubricated machine parts and the smooth movements. 

However, your RV slide out is a mechanical component that can soon wear out. You can extend the duration of use through good maintenance measures, but you will have to dispose of the unit eventually. 

The failure rate or lifetime of an RV slide out unit is highly dependent on how frequently they are used. The slide out team needs to be maintained as well for efficient durability. 

In any case, your slide out unit can give you a total duration of 10 to 15 years. After this period, your slide out unit will start faltering and develop flaws. 

You should regularly lubricate your slide outs. The gears and pinions of the slide out should be lubricated periodically to avoid flaws and ensure continuity. 

You should always lubricate, and oil key components and joints within your RV slide out before heading for a vacation with your family. The RV should be well-oiled at all times. Good lubrication can extend the RV’s life. 

How Many Watts Does an RV Slide Out Use?

Brand new slide outs require upwards of 60 volts to operate. Some traditional models can work with 12 volts, but those come with manual effort and slow inclines. 

You can also find modern systems with 110 volts or more. You can start the system through an external generator or start the truck. 

How Do I Reset My RV Slide Out?

Your RV slide out can easily be reset by unplugging the power from the shore power. Resetting can be complicated, but this resource will help guide you. 

You can also reset the RV slide by depressing the button three times and extending the slide 8 to 10 inches. This process can be repeated three times. 

Do I Need a Battery If My RV is Plugged In?

Your RV slide out needs a minimum of one power source at one point in time to function properly. The RV slide out won’t work properly if you don’t have a reliable power source. 

You will need a battery if you aren’t connected to an external power source. However, if you don’t have any other connection, you will need the car’s battery to automate the slide out. Once the RV is plugged in, you won’t need the battery. 

And That’s A Wrap!

All-new RV models have slide outs installed by the manufacturers. The slide out can help add square footage and enhance convenience. You can maintain the slide out with time and learn to monitor its power usage to extend its lifetime and get the best performance during your travels. 

What are some of the maintenance tips for RV slide outs? Pass them over to other readers and us in the comments. 

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<span style="color: #01343d">About</span> Editorial Staff

About Editorial Staff

We’re passionate about all things RV and camper, and love sharing tips, “how-to”, and reviewing the latest products to help make your camping experience a success!

<span style="color: #01343d">About</span> Editorial Staff

About Editorial Staff

We’re passionate about all things RV and camper, and love sharing tips, “how-to”, and reviewing the latest products to help make your camping experience a success!

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