How Can You Tell If Your Slide Topper Needs Repairs?
If you own an RV with a slide-out, you probably also own a slide-out topper. Toppers help keep rain and debris from your slide-out roof, protecting it from damage and protecting the rest of your RV when you slide the extendable section back inside. However, even these simple awnings can develop problems over time and may occasionally require repair.
Unfortunately, it may not always be immediately apparent that your slide-out topper has an issue, especially if you're not yet noticing any serious leaks. Keeping an eye out for these three problems will help you quickly resolve issues with your topper, ultimately protecting the rest of your RV from costly water damage.
1. Unusual Drainage Patterns
Think of the gutters on your home's roof. These gutters take the water that slides down the roof and channels it to downspouts, where it can safely drain away. If you notice water pouring over the sides of the gutters or landing on your porch, you know there's a problem. Likewise, you can tell if there's a problem with your RV slide-out topper by watching for strange drainage patterns.
As a general rule, your topper awning should allow water to flow cleanly down the side of your RV. The topper shouldn't allow water to collect, and water usually should drain from the sides, except in heavy rain with intense winds. If you notice water coming off the sides of your topper, falling onto the roof of your slide, or otherwise draining inconsistently, there's probably an issue with your awning.
2. Visible Fabric Damage
Your topper awning spends most of its time out of sight, so it's important to perform a quick visual inspection occasionally. You typically won't see much of the awning from the ground, so it's a good idea to get onto the RV's roof with the slide extended. Look for cracks, tears, and other signs of damage. You may also notice sagging areas where water can pool.
While these problems may not seem severe, there's no such thing as a minor issue with a slide-out topper. Since the topper's job is to direct water away from your roof, any issues will potentially undermine its effectiveness. Cracks or tears are particularly dangerous since they allow water and debris to fall directly onto the roof.
One problem with your topper that will be immediately apparent is binding. Binding occurs when the fabric can no longer smoothly pull away from the roller, causing the entire assembly to bind and typically preventing your slide from fully extending. If you notice this issue, it's critical to retract your slide and avoid using it since forcing the issue may bend the torsion bar.
Binding is often the result of failed springs, although other problems can also cause binding. Whatever the case, it's a problem that's best left to a professional to repair due to the high tension in the torsion springs and the potential to damage the slide mechanisms.
Take your vehicle to an RV repair shop to learn more.