RV Basics: How To Level Your RV Quickly and Safely will ensure your RV is properly leveled. Here are our tips and tricks for leveling your RV and avoiding all kinds of funny “problems” so you can start enjoying the camping experience! Leveling your RV helps your refrigerator cool properly, keeps cabinet and doors closed, and helps to stabilize your rig.
RV Basics: How To Level Your RV Quickly and Safely
Here are our best tips for leveling your RV quickly!
Tools You May Need for RV leveling:
- Exterior-mounted leveling instruments (recommended) or a simple 48″ carpenter’s level. These can be found at your local RV dealer, discount or home improvement store, and on-line. Examples: Carpenter’s level: Level Permanent mount rig levels: RV levelers
- Leveling blocks for wheels and leveling legs. These can be as simple as blocks of wood (2″x8″) of the appropriate length or commercially offered plastic interlocking blocks. Check our other posts for directions on making your own! Example commercial blocks: RV Leveling blocks
Step one – side to side check
Before unhitching, or dropping the landing legs on your motor home, do a quick check of your rig’s level state. If the rig is way off level side to side, take action to rectify before unhitching:
- Pull the rig back away from the site the length of your trailer wheel span (should be only a couple feet), then add a leveling device to the side that’s low. This could be a commercial leveling block combination or just a couple simple wide 2” x 10” boards cut the approximate length to exceed the wheel span.
- Once in place, back your rig onto them and recheck. If you’re close to level, great, if not, repeat until you’re close side to side.
- Chock your wheels – both sides.
Step two – front to back check
- Release the hitch lock, then use your front jack to raise the front end until the load is off the hitch, unhitch, remove the safety disconnect cable, and unhook the safety chains (travel trailer only).
- Pull the tow vehicle away.
- Now use the front jack to level the unit front to back. Once that’s done, lower the rear stability legs to complete the unhitch and leveling process.
- Confirm level state by checking your leveling instrument of choice.
Useful tip: Remember that a level rig is a happy rig! If you don’t have auto-leveling, buy a pair of mountable levels and mount to the exterior of your rig, one along the length-wise dimension and another across from side to side. Be sure to carefully level your unit using a carpenter’s level on a suitable floor inside before mounting the exterior levels. These tools make leveling a one-person job, quick and easy (may help avoid a few arguments with your able “assistant”)!
Common Questions About Leveling Your RV
| Can you level RV with slides out?
This may depend on your rig. Often access to the stabilizing legs (which play a key role after leveling) can be blocked when the slides are extended, so it’s probably easier to level before extending the slides.
| Why do you have to level an RV?
Many components in the typical RV work best when the rig is level, just like in your house. RV refrigerators depend on a level state for best efficiency. Cabinet doors and drawers work smoothest when they are level. Interior and exterior doors can behave unpredictably when their mounting platform is out of level.
And there’s the small matter when sitting or walking through your rig when it’s out of level – you might feel you’re moving uphill or downhill; not the most comforting feeling.
| How do you level an RV side to side?
The best way to start is making sure when the rig is parked, it’s reasonably level side to side. Adjust your spot if you can if way out of level. If still not optimal, address by adjusting the height at which the wheels sit. Use leveling blocks – simple pieces of wood (I suggest using 2″ x 10″ or wider pieces, with a total length that extends beyond the size your wheels span front to back) or commercially purchased block sets of adequate size for that span.
If your rig is out of level side to side, the FIRST thing to do is pull it forward the length of your wheel span, add your levelers, back it on them, and check level state. If still too low, repeat the process until a level state is reached.
| What are the best RV leveling blocks?
The cheapest approach to leveling is to use scrap lumber, of adequate dimension to fit the width of your wheels along with the wheel span front to rear. We recommend using treated lumber for longevity. The downsides to using lumber are increased weight and limited flexibility, not to mention perhaps consuming an inordinate amount of storage space to carry them.
Commercially available leveling blocks are typically made of strong, high impact plastic. Their advantages include best flexibility for level configuration, lightweight and eating up less of your precious storage space. Solutions from brands like Camco, Campn’, Anderson and Valterra are available either at retailers like Walmart or your local RV dealer.
| How do I stabilize my RV?
Most RVs are equipped with built in stabilizing jacks at each corner. If yours does not have those, they are available from your RV dealer at a reasonable cost. Once the rig is level, adjust the stabilizer at each corner so it touches the ground and perhaps sinks in a small amount.
Do NOT try to jack the rig using the stabilizers! They aren’t designed for that type of load; you may end up damaging them or the rig frame if you overdo it. The exception here is a 5th wheel rig – the legs in the front must be used for unhitching and leveling front to back, and they are certainly designed for that.
| Can you use stabilizer jacks to level a trailer?
This is not recommended, as explained under the stabilizing question response. Stabilizers are not designed to raise the rig, only to help hold it at the already adjusted level state and minimize rocking in your rig.
Depending on the size of the ground pad on the leg, it might be a good idea to add a block under each one to minimize sinking.
| How do I level a trailer on a slope?
The simplest response to this is don’t try it! In all seriousness, if the slope is pretty acute, this will be difficult at best and possibly dangerous at worst… Depending on whether the slope is from side to side, or front to back, determines the technique to use – the directions provided above can serve as a guide.
Be absolutely certain to firmly chock the rig, ALL WHEELS, once you’ve reached a reasonably level state (start with the wheel or set that did not require leveling blocks). One issue you may run into is you don’t have sufficient leveling equipment to cope with a large out of the level slope. If that’s the case, it’s best to punt and find another site or attempt a better orientation on the one you selected. Safety first!
More From Our RV Basics Series:
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RV Hacks: How To Level Your RV! Helpful tips & tricks for the best ways to get that RV level. An unlevel RV can cause all kinds of problems – don’t forget this important step! Did you know that leveling your RV helps your refrigerator cool properly, keeps cabinet and doors closed, and helps to stabilize your rig? What do you need to level your RV? #RVhacks #rvliving #campsite #RVhowto #rvcamping #RVbasics #RVtipsandtricks #seekingthervlife