No one likes an off-kilter adventure.
RV leveling is one of the first things you need to do after pulling into your campsite. It’s a fairly simple task, but there are still a few things you need to know to do it properly. Read on to see why it’s important, how it’s different from stabilizing, and, of course, exactly how to do it.
Let’s level set.
First, it’s important to be perfectly clear that leveling and stabilizing your RV are two very different things. Yes, they’re related, but you don’t stabilize until after you’ve leveled your RV. Stabilizing jacks should never be used to level your RV because the stress of the weight can bend and break the jacks, or they themselves can bend and twist your RV’s frame.
Three reasons why leveling is important
#1: Open Door Policy
Leveling helps keep your doors from getting hung up or swinging open when they shouldn’t be. The last thing you want to do is invite some lonely critter into your RV when you’re not looking.
#2: Finicky Fridge
Refrigerators in RVs need a level surface in order to run at their peak efficiency level. In some cases, they won’t run at all if they’re not level.
#3: Eggs Over Easy
If your RV isn’t level, then no smooth surface inside will be. That means if you’re preparing breakfast and you put an egg on the counter, it’s not going to stay put. Also, glasses can slide on wet surfaces and spill their contents onto your floor.
First, you’re going to need to know just how unlevel your RV is. You can do this in several different ways. And no, you don’t just eyeball it with a glass of water. Bubble levels are available and sometimes come attached to the outside of the RV. If your RV didn’t come with bubble levels and you’re purchasing them separately, make sure when they’re installed that your RV is on a level surface to begin with.
You can also use electronic levelers. Just place them on the floor of your RV and they’ll tell you which side of your unit needs to be lowered or raised.
Once you’ve determined how unlevel your RV is side to side, you need to use blocks to level the RV. You’ll do this by placing the blocks at the front of your RV’s tires and driving up on them. This means that when you pull into your site, you’ll want to put your RV towards the back of the site, so you can then pull forward and not be sticking out.
How many leveling blocks do you need? It’s a trial-and-error process that you’ll get better at judging in time. Blocks are sold in packages of about 10, and you can just snap one on top of the other like Lego blocks. The most popular brand is Lynx.
Other block levelers come as a sort of pre-built block ramp. The further you pull up (or back up) onto the block ramp, the higher that side of the RV goes. However, these can be a little tricky to work with.
Hydraulic auto leveler
The easiest way to level your RV is with a hydraulic automatic RV leveling system that makes leveling as simple as pushing a button. Not all RVs come with these; they’re typically on the larger units.
Got a slide-out RV?
If you have a slide-out, you’re going to want to put the slide-out in its “out” position before you level the RV. If you don’t, when you extend it, your RV may tilt toward the slide-out side.
Front-to-back leveling is a whole heck of a lot easier than side-to-side leveling. You simply use your tongue jack to either raise or lower the front end of your RV. You do this after you have leveled your RV side to side.
Get on the level.
Once you’re level, the next important thing you need to do is ensure that your RV doesn’t roll off the blocks. This can be done with wheel chocks that are placed at the front and back of the RV’s tires. You could also try using a wheel stop, which you put between the two wheels on the back of your RV and then tighten between them to lock the wheels in place.
Winch it real good
Once you’ve successfully leveled your RV, you’re ready to stabilize it with stabilizer jacks. You can do this manually with a winch, which really isn’t too hard at all. You just winch the jacks to the ground until they make solid contact. Don’t winch them down too much, though, or you’ll throw off the stabilization.
If you’re looking to save a little time, find a ratchet the same size as the ratchet on your winch, and put it on a power drill. You’ll be amazed at how quickly that lets you stabilize your RV.
That’s it! Now you’re all set for a relaxing vacation.
Now that you’re up to speed on leveling, you’ll want to check out our Guide to Parking for everything you could want to know about getting your rig perfectly parked without so much as a scratch.