This article is also available in French.
A sway as you step, things rolling off counters, or even a malfunctioning fridge, these are all the frustrating side effects of an unlevel RV. Camping on level, paved pads will minimize these issues, but if you’re interested in more rustic campsites or boondocking, we’re sharing our tried and true advice for ensuring your RV is properly leveled and stabilized.
The methods for motorized and towable RVs are different, and we’ll cover both.
Why leveling and stabilizing is so important
Did you know that your RV fridge needs to be level to operate efficiently? Its fluids circulate via gravity, so if your fridge is running off-level, it can overheat and cause damage, particularly when camping in hot weather.
Aside from a possible fridge malfunction, it is also frustrating to have things rolling off your counter as you try to cook, or uncomfortable to sleep on a slanted bed, not to mention annoying to feel your RV bouncing and swaying underfoot as you walk.
To level side to side, we recommend the use of leveling blocks, such as the RV Traveler’s Choice set of leveling blocks. Lay out the blocks like a ramp and stack them to the height you need for each tire, then drive up onto the blocks.
There are many products for leveling, and some simply use blocks of wood, but we like the RV Traveler’s Choice Leveling Blocks because they are long lasting, easy to clean if they’ve been wedged in the mud, and easy to pack up with their own carrying case. Because the blocks are interlocking, you don’t need to worry about them slipping as you drive onto them.
Once your RV is level side to side, chock the wheels and unhitch. Leveling front to back is simple and easy to do, they will usually come factory equipped with a jacking device such as a tongue jack or landing gear.
Next, it’s time to stabilize. Towables typically come standard with manual stabilizer jacks, like scissor jacks, with two on the front and two on the back. It is a common misconception that these jacks can be used to level the RV, but they are only meant for stabilizing. They are not designed for leveling, and using these jacks to do so risks damaging the RV’s frame. The only jacks that are intended to both level and stabilize are the heavy duty hydraulic jacks.
Eliminating extra sway in modern RVs
Modern RVs are taller than their older counterparts, and need an additional step to be completely still. After you’ve levelled and stabilized, if you find there is remaining movement, you’ll need to go one step further and use locking wheel chocks to alleviate this rocking. Designed for towables with multiple axles, it fits between the wheels, expanding to put pressure on each tire and prevent any movement.
Leveling and stabilizing motorhomes
Motorhomes are not usually factory equipped with jacking devices, except for the pricier models with heavy duty hydraulic systems. If you’re without a hydraulic system, as most motorhomes are, you’ll use leveling blocks beneath the wheels to level. As we recommended with towables, RV Traveler’s Choice Leveling Blocks are a great, reliable option. Lay out the blocks like a ramp and stack them to the height you need for each tire, then drive up onto the blocks. To stabilize, remember to set your parking brake.
Time (and strength) saving tips
Most factory standard jacks must be manually adjusted. If you struggle to do this, or just want a quicker way, there are two alternate options we recommend.
The more expensive route is to replace the manual jacks with electric ones, making the task automatic and so much easier. 5th Wheels can be very labour-intensive to stabilize without electric jacks, so take a look at the options for upgrading. Another, more budget-friendly option is to buy a drill adaptor for your manual jacks. Available at most RV Care dealerships, the special socket tool operates with a cordless drill and fits the nut that drives the jack, eliminating the manual labour.
If you have any questions or want further product recommendations, be sure to visit your local RV Care Dealer. They will be happy to help you choose the right options for your RV.