How Much Width Does A Slide Out Add To An RV?Anthony Day
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When buying an RV from the lot, you'll be faced with choosing one with or without the slide-out feature, with all larger RVs coming with standard slide-outs.
Knowing where to take an expandable RV is essential, so you must be sure how wide your RV will be with them extended.
The slide-outs on any RV will add between three to five feet to your RV, depending on your RV type. Most Class A RVs only have slide-outs that add around three feet in total width to the RV to ensure that the vehicle is not too heavy to move with its engine.
To understand why there are so many widths for RV slide-outs, you will need to understand how they work and extend. Many people forget that these slide-outs are not just for extra space but add value and functionality to any RV.
We have lived in many RVs and tested even more than we could ever count; many RV slide-outs have amazed us and bored us. We'll cover almost everything about RV slide-outs, their function, and their most common uses.
How Far Do Slide Outs Extend?
The furthest that RV slide-outs can extend is five feet; these are on fifth-wheel RVs meant to be used as a second house more than a traveling home. In one typical type A, B, or C RV, the furthest the slide out will extend is only three feet.
It is important to remember that the longer your RV slide-outs are, the more likely you will need to set up supports for them. Some more minor slide-outs that are only one or two feet in width do not need additional supports to be extended.
The larger and more complicated an RV becomes, the more likely it will have larger slide-outs that need to be supported and considered. However, the larger the slide-outs you have, the less space the RV will have on the inside when the slide-outs are not extended.
How Much Weight Does A Slide Out Add To A Travel Trailer?
If you do not currently have slide-outs on your RV, you can always add some in; it will cost significantly more than just buying one. You will have to consider that slide-outs can add 600-pounds or up to 1500-pounds in total weight.
Several larger RV slide-outs can weigh much more than this; as your RV increases in total size, they will also increase in weight. Further, it is essential to note that the larger the slide-outs are, the more weight they can handle.
Further, it should be noted that when you have a smaller Class C RV, you will need to consider the impact that slide-outs will have with much more care. When a small RV is retrofitted with slide-outs, the weight and type of the RV may change, requiring new licensing.
What Is The Average Width Of An RV?
Without slide-outs, the average maximum width of RVs is 8-feet and 5-inches, with the slide-outs adding between three to five feet in total length. Class A and B RVs will usually be the widest as they are purpose-built to allow as much space as possible within the RV.
Class C and lower classes of RVs are usually much more similar in size to regular vans or mini buses. We have seen several people transform larger vehicles like buses and ambulances into small RVs, with these usually not having any slide-outs at all to deal with.
It should be noted that several states have different laws regarding the width of RVs, which has affected their size. We recommend using the standard width of 8-feet simply because you will need to drive through several states when going on vacation.
How Wide Should Each Class Of RV Be With Slide Outs?
Now that we know the average width of an RV with or without its slide-outs, we need to start considering the three main sizes of RVs. Each of these will be different standard widths when you add these slide-outs to the smaller RVs.
We'll only focus on class A, B, and C RVs that will most likely be on the RV lots you can find near you. While most other RV types can be found, they are usually made with different tolerances that you need to consider, allowing them to be much larger.
Class A RVs
Class A RVs are the largest RVs with their engines and are generally around 12 feet in total length, with the slides extended. When ready to be driven, most of them are built to the maximum allowed width that RVs can be built without extended slide-outs.
It should be noted that when you are getting a class A RV, it won't necessarily be the maximum width it is allowed to be. Some manufacturers specifically build RVs that become larger through slide-outs on both sides of the RVs to ensure that they can be driven in comfort.
Class B RVs
When appropriately built, class B RVs will only be around 10-feet in total when slide-outs are extended; even then, these slide-outs may not be as solid as class A or C RVs. This is because class B RVs are converted, more often than not, vans or RVs that have been built to be like RVs.
This has allowed many people to take their class B RVs into several areas that most larger RVs would only have been able to look at from a distance. We recommend that you consider this when choosing the RV you are buying, as the smaller RVs with slide-outs can be more luxurious than you think.
Class C RVs
Apart from class A RVs the most likely RV to have a slide-out are class C RVs as they have the to gain from having a good set of slide-outs. In general, when the slide-outs are used for these class C RVs, it can increase the width of the RV to just under 12-feet in total.
Further, we recommend that people consider the RV's total size before properly extending the slide-outs. When the RV is already reaching the max-width, a vehicle can be, and then you add slide-outs, it can become almost unmanageable when fully extended.
Can You Drive An RV With A Slide Out Extended?
No, you cannot drive any RV with fully extended slide-outs as this will heavily damage the RV itself and the slide-outs. The slide-outs massively change the center of gravity for the RV, which means that even taking a slight turn can cause it to roll over.
Many people have thought it would be acceptable to quickly move their RV without retracting the slide-outs, only to roll their entire RV. Many modern RVs will not allow you to disengage the parking brakes when the slide-outs are fully extended, as this is a massive safety issue that can occur.
Several supports will also be used when the slide-outs are extended; these will need to be placed before the slides are extended. This means you will need to override or drive with them planted in the ground if you try to move with extended slide-outs.
Do RV Slides Work On A Battery?
If your RV has a full battery, you can easily use the slide-out mechanism to extend the slide-outs to their full width. If you do not have enough power in the RVs batteries, we recommend starting the engine to recharge or using a power port to plug the RV into the mains of a campsite.
However, most slide-outs have an override system if your batteries are completely dead and you cannot quickly get power to the RV. Once unlocked, you can use this override system by manually opening the slide-outs, usually with a bar that you have to connect to the mechanism that slides out everything.
You should preferably use the manual extension override system as few times as possible as this can be damaging. When using the internal motors of the RV to slide everything out, the RV will automatically balance and level everything.
What Is A Super Slide On A Camper?
A super slide is a name that refers to slide-outs over 3-feet in total length when extended, meaning that they are just the longest slides. Many larger RVs have what can be considered super slide-outs and will add significant space to the RV once they are extended.
These slide-outs usually have full couches, bedrooms, kitchens, or more, so you need to ensure that these slide-outs are extended when using the RV. When you have super slides outs, they will decrease the total space inside the RV when not fully extended.
We have seen many people surprised to learn the RV is compact when the slide-outs are not fully extended. Fortunately, these RVs become almost house-like when the super slide-outs are extended but can be uncomfortable to travel in when filled fully.
Can You Manually Push In A Slide Out?
Similar to extending the slide-outs without power, you can manually override the electric system to close the slide-outs. It should be noted that each RV system with automatic slide-outs will have its override procedure that you will need to learn.
We always recommend having someone demonstrate how to do this before driving off the lot with your RV. Many people have accidentally broken their slide-out systems by not overriding everything correctly and then trying to close the slide-outs while the gears and motors are still engaged.
Further, you may need to do more than push the slide-outs back in when you are without power and you need to move the RV. We have seen many people stuck in the middle of nowhere with closed slide-outs, but the auto-level systems are still firmly on the ground.
How Do Class B Slide Outs Work?
Many people forget that slide-outs on class B RVs are significantly different than on much larger RVs. The RVs are usually custom-made, making the slide-outs almost wholly custom, limiting what can be done and how much weight can be added to the RV.
Many class B RVs do not have automatically extending slide-outs, instead of requiring that you self-level the RV and then pull the slide-outs on your own. These slide-outs will give some extra space in the RV but will usually not give a lot of extra space.
We often see slide-outs on these RVs to open up the RV during the day or provide space for owners to use as a porch. Giving the total RV a more open feeling without actually giving more space to keep everything as these systems may be too complex to build.