Why You Need to Level an RV
By: The Getaway Couple Rae and Jason
It is very important to ensure your RV is level for multiple reasons. It not only increases your comfort during your stay but can help you prevent disaster or long term damage. Proper leveling will increase the lifespan of your RV and protect against additional repair costs. Making sure you are level ensures your fridge is running safely, your tank readings are accurate, and your slide outs don’t have any unnecessary stress on them. Not to mention overall comfort levels are much better in a level RV. Now that we’ve covered some of the reasons to have a level RV, let’s review how to properly level your RV at campgrounds.
Scout the Site
Whether you get to choose your campsite or not, you should scout the site before pulling into it. It will save you time and frustration to get a quick lay of the land beforehand.
First you should check the ground type. Concrete and asphalt sites tend to be more level than gravel, however we have seen some fairly unlevel cement pads so it’s still important to check no matter the material. Look at the site, can you see a noticeable slope? Are there any ruts, grooves, or holes? Look at your neighbor’s RV. Do they have their jacks extended further on one side of the coach than the other? Is the front lower to the ground than the rear? You will also want to consider weather conditions, are you expecting rain during your trip? How will this impact the site?
These are all important questions but thankfully do not take much time to answer. Once you are familiar with your site, pull your RV into it and begin leveling.
Level Side to Side
The first thing you want to get level is side to side. No matter the size of your RV, you will use your axles to get level side to side. This can be accomplished by moving your RV forward or back or adding blocks under your wheels.
Pull into the site where you want to set the RV and check your side to side level. This can be done manually with a bubble level close to the rear axle or using the display of an automatic leveling system. If you are not level you can start to adjust by moving the trailer forward or backward in the site. Different areas of a site normally have different slope conditions and a foot forward could be the difference to get you level.
If you are not able to get level by moving forward or backward then you can level by placing levelers under the lower side tires and driving up on them. Once you are level side to side, it's time to unhitch your RV and move on to leveling front to back.
Level Front to Back
Leveling front to back is controlled by raising or lowering the front of your RV with the pivot point being the rear axles. How you raise or lower the front depends on whether you have a travel trailer, fifth wheel, or motorhome.
Check your front to back leveling manually using a bubble level or using the display of automatic leveling system. If you are not level then raise or lower the front of your RV. If you have a travel trailer this can be done with a tongue jack. If you have a fifth wheel, use your front stabilizers. If you are in a motorhome, you will need to place levelers under your front tires and drive onto them.If you are unable to get level front to back at first, don’t be afraid to move your RV forward or back in the site but don’t forget to level side to side again!
Once you are level in your site, you can now move forward with opening your slide outs and setting up water, electric and sewer hookups.
Scout the site for any ruts, grooves, or holes and be sure to pay attention to any sloping.
Check your side to side leveling to determine if you will need levelers.
You can use a bubble level to determine if your RV is straight or not.
Completely level and ready to start the camping trip off right!
For the ultimate leveling convenience and comfort, check out our line-up of RV SnapPads. They allow you to quickly and easily engage and level using your auto-levelers without ever having to put boards or blocks down again. For more information on SnapPads for your rig, visit our Submit Your Rig page.
(Rae and Jason are the Getaway Couple, who gave up their day jobs to RV full time. Be sure to check out their other tips, tricks, and adventures on their Youtube channel).