Save the rock and roll for the party.
Confused about the difference between leveling and stabilizing an RV? We’re going to clear up that confusion here by looking at how to stabilize your RV—or eliminate its bounce and sway—after it’s been leveled.
Get on the level, then stabilize.
Stabilize your RV only after you’re done leveling. If you stabilize first, you may find yourself in an RV where eggs like to roll off the counter and your fridge won’t run.
Most modern RVs come with stabilizing jacks already attached. If yours didn’t, you can pick them up from your RV dealer or find them online. Stabilizing jacks vary in price. You can find sets of four for around $90 or individual jacks up to $70.
As you’d expect, prices vary based on quality and how much weight the jacks can support. If you need to buy jacks separately from your RV, know the weight of your RV and an estimated weight of your gear. This will help you find the right jacks.
Also, while your RV may have come with its own stabilizing jacks, you may want to pick up a few extra to get that rock-solid feel. There are jacks designed to be placed right by the side door to limit movement when someone steps into the RV. You can also put them right by the bumper of the RV to limit sway when you’re in the bedroom.
Don’t get all jacked up just yet
Before you put the jacks down, stabilize the RV by putting chocks on the wheels. Some people feel that one chock is enough, but we recommend putting them at the front and back of each wheel. Obviously, if one of the wheels is up on a set of leveling blocks, then you’re not going to be able to put a wheel chock on it—but the point here is the more the merrier.
They also make chocks that fit between the wheels. You place this type of chock between two wheels on your RV and tighten it, like a vice, so the wheels can no longer roll.
Jacks be nimble.
Putting your stabilizing jacks in place is pretty straightforward. All jacks come with a winch. Simply put the end of the winch in the jack and start turning. If you’re turning in the correct direction, the jack will begin to lower to the ground.
You can place a leveling block under the foot of the jack before it reaches the ground, but it’s not necessary. Once the jack reaches the ground and makes solid contact, stop lowering it. You don’t want to keep going and put too much weight on the jack or unlevel your RV.
You can save time by buying sockets to put on your power drill. The drill will lower the jacks in the blink of an eye.
Jack too short?
If you level your RV and find that your jack isn’t long enough to reach the ground, simply put leveling blocks under the jack to make up the difference. Even if you don’t normally use blocks to level your RV, make sure you always bring some in case the ground is uneven.
Some RVers prefer triangulation jacks for rock-solid stability. Instead of just a single pole touching the ground, these jacks have two poles that attach to two separate parts of your RV frame and create a triangle. Some RVers swear by these, but others swear at them, saying they’re not worth the added cost and effort.
Not all jacks require a winch. With power jacks, you just push a button—a nice little upgrade you may want to consider. These jacks have two feet that touch the ground at two different points. They work independently of each other and apply only a certain amount of pressure before they stop. It doesn’t matter if the other foot has touched the ground or not.
What’s your stability number?
How stable you want your RV is up to you. If you’re on a long-haul trip and don’t want to go through the inconvenience of setting up multiple stabilizing jacks every night, then don’t. Sometimes the fun of RVing is getting away from the comforts of home.
On a final note, whether you have power or manual jacks, they all require maintenance to keep them working properly. Be sure to grease them at the beginning and end of each RV season.
Now rock on! (Or don’t.)
Now that your jacks are nimble, check out the Parking an RV guide for more on safely parking, leveling, and stabilizing your rig.