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Nobody is above mistakes, and we are all prone to oversights. Locking yourself out of your vehicle or forgetting where you put your keys is one of these common oversights. Fortunately, RVs come with emergency windows that you can use as an access point.
You can open your RV emergency window from outside using a screwdriver to remove the screws, remove the frame, and remove the seal to release the pane of glass without damaging it.
The RV is not only designed for your comfort, but it also has some components that are aimed toward your safety, especially in case of an emergency. The emergency exit window is one of these features. This article will show you how to open an RV emergency window from the outside — you never know when you will need it.
What is an RV Emergency Window
The emergency window is also called the emergency exit. It is a unique window designed to serve as a quick escape route in the case of an emergency. The emergency window is often located in the central area or the bedroom.
There is usually more than one emergency window in a recreational vehicle, which increases the odds of you and other occupants escaping danger. You can differentiate any emergency windows from regular windows by the big red release mechanism attached on the inside.
When you think of an emergency exit, what comes to mind is getting out of the RV as soon as possible. However, you can find yourself in situations where you need to get into your vehicle through the emergency exit — you might have forgotten your keys in the RV or locked a small child inside.
I want to show you some simple ways to turn your emergency exit into an emergency entry. Get comfortable, and let’s take the wheel through some tips.
How to Open RV Emergency Window From Outside
There are several ways you can open your emergency exit from outside. The best methods allow you to open the window without causing damage to the glass, such as using a screwdriver, picking with a professional car tool kit, and using a spare key.
If you drive a C-Class RV with a driver of passenger door, your best option may be to call a tow truck or to pick your lock or try using a special tool to access the locking mechanism.
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There are other methods, but you will need to replace the glass once you’re done. I will show you all the possible ways to get past your emergency exit window from outside and let you decide which one works best for you.
Locate the Emergency Exit
Before you can work on the emergency exit of your recreational vehicle, you must know where the emergency window is located. You might think this point is irrelevant, but that’s probably because you already have experience using an RV.
The emergency exit is different from the regular windows around your car for those new to recreational vehicles. Also, the locations of the emergency exits vary with different models and vehicle sizes.
The fact that the emergency exit of your last RV was in the central area doesn’t mean it will be in that exact location in another vehicle. I advise that you take a good tour of your RV before setting out and note where the emergency window is positioned.
To differentiate between your regular window and your emergency window, look for a glaring red latch, rope, or lever. Irrespective of the brand or model of the RV, there is a sort of unwritten rule that the latch of the emergency window should be red.
It is possible to identify the emergency exit window from the outside. The emergency window is always an egress window; it has a hinge at the top and opens outwards. It is also the biggest window since it is designed to fit a grown human.
Take note of the exit position. You can now start worrying about getting in from outside. Also, some larger vehicles are fitted with more than one emergency exit, and it doesn’t hurt to have more than one way out of your camper in emergencies.
Double Check if the Window is Locked
Hey, you never know. Maybe someone left the emergency window unlocked, or you might have opened it at some point and forgotten that you did. Before you start trying the other steps that I’ll provide, it wouldn’t hurt to simply try opening the window from the outside.
If you’ve double-checked, and you’re sure your emergency window is locked, try the other windows around. You don’t have to limit your entry point to your emergency window, try the other windows, and maybe you’ll discover that you left one unlocked.
I’m emphasizing this point because forcing your entry into the RV should be a last resort. Forcing your way through the emergency exit will definitely leave some marks, and you can damage your glass.
Also, I feel this should be obvious, but don’t try any of these methods on someone else’s camper unless you have their permission. Furthermore, I advise you to do it when few people are around, so as not to encourage thieves.
Use a Screwdriver
Most RV windows are screwed in and then fitted with a rubber seal. Your priority is getting rid of the screws used to hold the window frame in place.
If you’re sure you don’t have any other choice than to open the window from outside, you will need a screwdriver. You will probably need a Phillips head screwdriver.
The screws used in most windows are the crosshead screws, and they happen to be one of the most commonly used screws around. You shouldn’t have a problem finding a Phillips head screwdriver.
Don’t try to force any other type of screwdriver because you might damage the surface of the screw. Using the wrong screwdriver can wear out the crosshead that your screwdriver fits into, and then it becomes almost impossible to get the screw out. Now you have a whole new problem on your hands.
You have to be very careful when taking out the screws. Upon removing the screws your window might fall right off. Of course, this depends on how strong the seal is, but it’s safer not to take any chances.
Support the glass with one hand or get somebody to hold the glass while taking out the screws. Also, don’t drop the screws once you’ve taken them out. Instead, arrange them neatly in a safe place.
If possible, mark each screw and the position you took it from. In our experience, sometimes putting the screws in a different hole can create problems and waste time. Try as much as possible to put each screw back into the hole you took it from if you plan to replace the window.
Remove the Seal
Your window might immediately come right off once you’ve removed the screws, which indicates that the seal on your window has become greatly weakened. However, let’s not assume that this is the case all the time.
Check out our article on removing caulk from your hands if your window seal is still tacky.
After you’ve removed the screws on the window, you will need to force out the seal. This is the part of the process where you need to be extra careful, and it will also leave marks on the body of your vehicle.
You can use the same screwdriver you used to take out the screws for this process or get one with a flatter top. If you don’t want to use a screwdriver, look for something with a very flat mouth that can fit under the seal.
You will need to apply a considerable amount of force to get your instrument under a part of the seal. Be careful when prying under the seal so you don’t mistakenly hit the glass. Once you’ve gotten under the seal, move your tool from one side to the other until the seal starts loosening up.
You can then move your tool around the length of the window until the seal comes off. When the seal comes off, your window will fall out, and you can easily climb into your vehicle and open the front door.
Remember to fix the window back once you’re done and, if you can’t do it yourself, get to a mechanic.
Here’s our recent article on repairing a leaky RV window seal that will help you repair damage to the seal.
Other Ways You Can Open Your Emergency Window From Outside
If you’ve tried the safe method above and it doesn’t work for you, you can try some other techniques. However, I advise that you keep trying the first option above — it is cheaper and less stressful.
Use a Glass Cutter
A glass cutter is one effective way to open your emergency exit from outside. The only drawback is that you will need to change the entire glass unit. Also, it might not be so easy finding a glass cutter, especially if you’re out camping or on the road.
Break the Glass
Breaking the glass is not so different from using a glass cutter, but it’s much easier to find any old object to break a window with. You will likely need to spend more to replace the broken glass.
You might lock your keys inside or trap yourself outside in the excitement of going out in your recreational vehicle. Luckily, you can still get into your vehicle by turning your emergency exit into an emergency entrance.
I’ve shown you how to open an RV window from the outside. Again, I advise that you use the first method which requires only a screwdriver.
There are several things you can learn about life in an RV, and I’m here to keep you informed.