We realized after a year of RVing full-time just how important it is to have your RV level.
We have stayed at quite a few RV parks that were so unlevel we actually left. While other campgrounds were almost perfectly level. Which made our job so much easier.
Do I Need to Level My RV?
An unlevel RV can weaken the structure or possibly cause damage to the undercarriage or chassis.
It’s very important for your appliances to be level, especially your refrigerator, to operate properly the chemicals inside need to be level. It can also cause your tires to wear out sooner, not to mention the stress on your doors and window frames.
Below is detailed information on How to Level and Stabilize your RV and Why it’s Important.
For more information on keeping your RV in Tip Top Shape, click here.
How to level and stabilize your RV or Trailer
I will take you through each step you need when leveling and stabilizing your RV, but before we get started, let’s take a quick look at the importance of leveling your RV.
Top Reasons Why Leveling Your RV is Important:
To Keep Your Appliances such as Refrigerator Operating Correctly and Safely.
- If your RV or Travel trailer isn’t level, it puts stress on door jams, plumbing, cupboards, windows etc…
- For Your Personal Comfort and the Comfort of Others.
- It Prevents People From Losing Their Balance When Walking Inside the RV.
- It ensures your door and slides opens and closes properly.
Now we’ve gotten to know some importance of leveling your RV, let us take a quick look at how we level an RV
How to Level An RV:
Before I start, I will like to clarify a practice most RVers do which is wrong. Thus, most RVers think they can level their camper with the stabilization jack but that’s not really the case. Stabilization jacks are meant to stabilize your camper and give it more stability once you level your camper.
**NOTE: It is not to lift the weight of the camper to compensate for the weight of the slide as it transverse along the side.
Stabilizing your RV and leveling it are two different but important processes and we will cover both processes in this article.
Tools You Will Need:
A Bubble Level or levels
- A Wheel Chock
- A Screw Gun
- A Leveling Blocks (we use these)
- A Tri-Leveling Blocks (whichever you prefer)
If your camper doesn’t come with a pre-installed self-leveling system, make sure to install a bubble level on the outside of your camper/RV, on level ground.
In addition to the bubble level, we also use a carpenter’s level that we lay on the kitchen floor to cross check with the bubble level on the outside of our fifth wheel. If you are fortunate enough to have a self-leveling system be sure to have it checked annually.
Step 2: After finding your spot, and parking your RV, making sure you have access to your sewer, electric and water hookups. Don’t forget to allow adequate space for your slide-outs.
Step 3: With the help of the bubble level, determine which axis of your RV isn’t leveled. Is it front to back? Side to side? or both? For most cases, both the front to back and side to side axes of the RV aren’t leveled hence we will take a look at how to level both axes.
Determining which axis to level first depends on the type of camper you have. If you have a travel trailer or a 5th wheel, trailer, you will have to level it from side to side first. If you have a drivable RV such as a Class A or a Class C RV, you will have to level it from side to side and back and front at the same time.
Note: This piece contains information on how to level a trailer, a motorhome or a fifth wheel, not a Class C or a Class A RV.
Step 4: To level the side to side of your RV, mark where your wheels are and pull your camper ahead a little bit, this will help you make the necessary adjustments on the wheel, so you can level your camper.
Step 5: After marking your wheels, place a leveling block or tri-leveling block in front of your tires and drive upon it till you’re all leveled.
Step 6: Place a wheel chock in front of each wheel to secure the trailer from rolling forward. Now you’ve leveled the side of your camper, it’s time to get your front and back level.
Step 7: When done, disconnect your camper from the vehicle and with the help of the tongue jack, adjust the front and back side of the camper. Whiles adjusting the camper with the tongue jack, make sure to check your bubble levels till your camper is all leveled.
Stabilizing Your RV:
Stabilizing your RV has to do with using something to create a rigid contact point between the ground and the frame of your RV. A lot of RV comes with stabilization devices built in such as stabilization jacks and scissor jacks. Some of these jacks are automatic however, you will need to hand crank or use a drill adapter.
How to Stabilize Your RV:
Once you have your camper successfully leveled, it’s time to put down the stabilization jacks. If your camper has an electric stabilization jack, you can run them down from your RV, but just in case you use a manual stabilization jack, use a screw gun with the appropriate size socket to run down the jack to the ground. Repeat this for all the other stabilization jacks.
Tips for Common Stabilization Problems:
A common problem encountered by most RVers is that some of the stabilization jacks do not reach the ground. Should this occur, place a pack of lynx levelers or a stabilizing underneath the jack and you should be good to go. If you’re trying to stabilize your RV on soft grounds such as sand, grass or mud, sometimes they just end up sinking right in.
To prevent that from happening, you will need to use some form of stabilizer pads. We often use 2 pads under each, especially if its sand or mud. Also, some RVs do not come with stabilization jacks, in these cases some alternatives you may use include:
Scissor Jacks which can be bolted to your RV frames.
- Stack Jacks
- Telescoping Jacks
If you’re using a fifth wheel, it is advisable you use a KingPin stabilizer for more stability.
Tips to that help set up your RV less stressful….
Setting up your camper or RV can be stressful for most RVers. Especially if the campsite is in poor condition. Another factor that can add stress is trying to set up in pouring down rain or snow. Being prepared will help in relieving that stress.
Taking our time is critical for us.
If we get in a hurry or feel rushed is when mistakes happen. We also make it a rule to arrive at our destination before dark. I know setting up after sunset can’t always be avoided when traveling on the road. If at all possible you want to set up during daylight. It’s just safer and less stressful.
You know the rule, never go grocery shopping if you’re hungry? I believe the same rule applies when setting up your RV. Preparing a healthy snack or lunch for your trip will keep everyone happier.
Don’t forget the pets! We also try to keep our travel day under 400 miles. For us, a 320-mile day is perfect. Through trial and error, we have learned that traveling over 320 miles in a day tends to make us very cranky.
Find your mile marker cutoff. We are full-time RVers if you’re a weekend or occasional camper you might have to travel farther in a day. In that case be sure to have healthy snacks and get a good night sleep. Prior to a weekend getaway, being organized and prepared will make your weekend a lot more enjoyable.
I know, easier said than done. But its true. Making a shopping list and stocking your RV (with the non-perishables) along with clothing and supplies a week prior to your trip will make your getaway less nerve-racking. Making your weekend more enjoyable!
Tips for Making Reservations at RV Parks and Campgrounds:
When making reservations at a campsite don’t hesitate to ask if their sites are level, concrete pads? Gravel pads? Pull-through? Trees? Easy Access? Room for slide-outs? Dirt pads? We were unable to leave an RV Park for three days due to rain that washed out the dirt roads leading into the park.
Make sure to inform the RV park what size camper you have. Always ask questions. That still doesn’t guarantee the information will be completely accurate. We have left many campsites because the conditions did not accommodate our 36’ Fifth Wheel. One RV Park in Florida said there was lake access.
They neglected to tell us the lake had dried up! Avoid making a deposit if at all possible. The parks we’ve stayed at didn’t have a problem with that unless it was a major holiday. I don’t like paying beforehand without actually seeing the campground for myself.
Apps we use to find RV Parks and Campgrounds
Leveling and stabilizing your RV is very important. Hopefully, this article was informative. When we started RVing full-time a little over a year ago, learning to set up our RV was frightening, but practice makes perfect (almost). Just enjoy the process, even though it can get stressful, especially if you’re new to RVing, make sure you remember why you’re doing this?
To have fun! Being prepared and organized will definitely make your journey more enjoyable. What always helps us is to just slow down, don’t rush! Mistakes will happen, its ok! Sometimes we learn the hard way, that’s how we learn.
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