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Mastering Mobility: A Comprehensive Guide on How to Level an RV

Leveling an RV is an essential aspect of ensuring a comfortable and safe camping experience. When an RV is not positioned evenly, you might encounter issues with appliances, doors, and slide-outs, making your outdoor adventure less enjoyable.

And while the process of leveling an RV may seem daunting at first, with the right knowledge, tools, and techniques, it can be done efficiently and accurately. Read on to learn how to level an RV.

How to Level an RV

Types of RVs and Their Specific Leveling Needs

Class A Motorhome

Class A motorhomes are the largest and most luxurious RVs available. They typically require a different approach to leveling than other types of RVs due to their size and weight.

Class B Motorhome

Class B motorhomes are smaller, van-sized RVs that offer a more compact and easy-to-drive experience. Leveling a Class B motorhome can be done using leveling blocks, which are placed under the wheels.

Class C Motorhome

Class C motorhomes are a mid-size option, usually built on a truck or van chassis. They often come with a built-in leveling system for convenience. If your Class C does not have an automatic leveling system, follow the same process as with the Class B motorhome.

Towable Travel Trailer

Towable travel trailers are a popular option for those who want an RV that can be detached from their vehicle. Leveling a travel trailer is a slightly different process than leveling a motorhome.

Class C Motorhome

Start by unhitching the trailer from the tow vehicle and adjusting the trailer’s tongue jack so that the trailer is level from front to back. Then, use a hand level on a flat surface inside the trailer to measure side-to-side leveling.

Chock the wheels to secure the trailer, and place leveling blocks under the low side of the trailer as needed. Ensure that the blocks are secure and the trailer is stable before using any appliances or amenities inside.

Selecting a Suitable Parking Spot

Selecting the right parking spot for your RV is crucial in ensuring a level and secure campsite. A level surface helps maintain the proper functioning of your RV systems and enhances comfort during your stay. Follow these guidelines to choose an ideal spot for your RV.

First, aim for a level campsite. A level surface minimizes the need for leveling adjustments and saves time during the setup process. Assess potential sites by visually inspecting the ground conditions. Look for areas with minimal slope, and avoid areas with uneven terrain or deep depressions that may cause your vehicle to become unstable.

Park near solid ground. Parking on solid ground ensures that your RV’s stabilizer jacks and footwear have a sturdy base to rest upon. Avoid soft or muddy terrain, as it can make leveling your RV more challenging. In such conditions, your RV could sink or shift, causing potential damage.

Choose a site with ample space. Ensure that the parking spot offers enough space to maneuver your RV comfortably. Additionally, having enough room allows for easy access to your RV’s utilities and features, such as slide-outs and awnings.

By following these guidelines, you can choose a parking spot that is level, secure, and comfortable for your RV camping experience.

RV Leveling Systems

Manual Leveling Systems

Manual leveling systems are the simplest and most affordable way to level an RV. They typically involve using leveling blocks or ramps, which are placed under the RV’s wheels to achieve a level position. To use manual leveling systems, follow these steps:

  1. Find a suitable parking spot for your RV.
  2. Use a bubble level or other level indicator to determine the necessary adjustments.
  3. Place leveling blocks or ramps under the appropriate wheels.
  4. Adjust your RV until it is level, rechecking the level throughout the process.

Hydraulic Leveling Systems

Hydraulic leveling systems are a more advanced option that uses hydraulics to lift and level the RV. These systems generally come as a built-in feature on more expensive RV models or can be added as an aftermarket upgrade. Here are the main features of a hydraulic leveling system:

  • Works with hydraulic jacks installed at each corner of the RV
  • Typically controlled by a panel or remote control
  • Offers greater precision and ease of use compared to manual systems

To use a hydraulic leveling system, follow these steps:

  1. Park your RV in a suitable location.
  2. Engage the hydraulic system using the control panel or remote.
  3. Allow the hydraulic jacks to lift and level the RV as needed.
RV Leveling

Automatic Leveling Systems

Automatic leveling systems are the most advanced and convenient option for leveling an RV. They typically combine hydraulic or electric jacks with sensors and an onboard computer to automatically adjust the RV’s position. Some key features of automatic leveling systems include:

  • Fully automated leveling process
  • Minimal user input required
  • Offers the highest level of precision and convenience

To use an automatic RV leveling system, follow these steps:

  1. Park your RV in a suitable location.
  2. Activate the auto-leveling system using the control panel or remote.
  3. Allow the system to automatically level the RV, making any necessary adjustments.

By understanding the different types of RV leveling systems and their respective features, RV owners can choose the system that best suits their needs and preferences.

Using Leveling Blocks and Chocks

Choosing the Right Blocks and Chocks

When leveling your RV, it’s crucial to select the appropriate leveling blocks and chocks to ensure a stable and secure setup.

There are various types of leveling blocks available, such as Lynx Levelers, which resemble children’s building blocks and feature a popped-up circle on the top for better traction during wet weather

RV Leveling Chock

Additionally, wheel chocks and X-chocks are used to secure the wheels and prevent them from rolling. Here are some factors to consider when choosing blocks and chocks:

  • Weight capacity: Ensure that the leveling blocks and chocks can support the weight of your RV.
  • Size and compatibility: Check that the blocks and chocks are the right size for your RV’s wheels and fit snugly.
  • Material: Select durable and weather-resistant materials for long-lasting use.

How to Properly Utilize Blocks and Chocks

  1. Determine the levelness of your RV: Before making any adjustments, use a bubble level or a wireless leveling system to identify which areas of your RV need to be raised.
  2. Position the leveling blocks: Place the leveling blocks beneath the wheels of the RV that require raising. Stack the blocks if necessary, ensuring they are secure and stable. Ramps can also be used for a gradual incline, especially for large RVs.
  3. Drive the RV onto the blocks: Slowly drive or back your RV onto the blocks or ramps until the desired level is reached. Stop the engine and put the RV in “Park” once it is level.
  4. Secure the wheels with chocks: Place wheel chocks, X-chocks, or other chocking devices snugly against the wheels on both sides to prevent rolling and to provide additional stability.
  5. Deploy stabilizer jacks (if available): After leveling and securing your RV, deploy the stabilizer jacks to enhance stability and prevent rocking.

By using the appropriate leveling blocks and chocks, you can achieve a comfortable and secure RV camping experience.

Stabilizing and Adjusting Jacks

The process of leveling and stabilizing your RV involves working with various jacks in order to provide stability and an even platform for you to enjoy your RV experience. This section covers Stabilizing Jacks, Landing Jacks, and Tongue Jacks.

Stabilizing Jacks

Stabilizing jacks are used to prevent rocking and swaying when the RV is parked. These jacks are typically scissor or telescopic jacks, mounted on each corner of the RV. To use them:

  1. Park your RV on a relatively level surface.
  2. Place a bubble level on an interior surface, such as a countertop.
  3. Place jack pads under the stabilizer jacks to provide a solid base.
  4. Lower the jacks until they make contact with the ground and apply light pressure.

Remember, stabilizing jacks are not meant for lifting the RV; their purpose is to provide stability.

Landing Jacks

Landing jacks are commonly found on fifth-wheel trailers and typically work in pairs on the front of the RV. They are designed to lift and level the RV’s front end, as well as provide support during setup and takedown. When using landing jacks:

  1. Park your RV on level ground or use leveling blocks.
  2. Chock your wheels to prevent rolling.
  3. Lower the landing jacks and adjust them to achieve the desired leveling.

Keep in mind that overextending the landing jacks may cause damage, so ensure they have a stable footing with jack pads.

Tongue Jacks

Tongue jacks are used on travel trailers and are located at the front of the RV, just below the hitch. Their purpose is to raise and lower the front end of the RV for hitching and unhitching, as well as to help level the RV. To properly use a tongue jack:

  1. Park on level ground or use leveling blocks.
  2. Chock the wheels to prevent rolling.
  3. Lower the tongue jack and adjust it accordingly to achieve level front to back.

For added stability and to prevent sinking, place a jack pad under the tongue jack’s foot.

Maintaining RV Tires and Suspension

Proper maintenance of RV tires and suspension is essential to ensure a smooth and stable ride while leveling your vehicle. To keep your RV tires in optimal condition, follow these steps:

  • Inspect tires regularly: Check your RV tires every morning during travel, as well as before and after trips. After driving across rocky or rough terrain, inspect the sidewalls, treads, valves, and caps for damage or debris.
  • Know your tire pressure: Use an accurate tire pressure gauge to ensure proper inflation of each tire, including any spares, before every trip. Improperly inflated and overloaded tires are the two leading causes of tire failure.
  • Rotate tires: Regularly rotating your RV tires can help ensure even wear and prolong their lifespan. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for tire rotation intervals.
Maintaining RV Tires

For the suspension system, there are general maintenance tips to keep in mind:

  • Regularly inspect the suspension: Check for any signs of wear, damage, or corrosion on the suspension components. This includes the springs, bushings, shock absorbers, and other hardware.
  • Lubricate moving parts: Keep suspension parts well-lubricated by applying a high-quality lubricant to the necessary components. Consult your RV’s manual for specific lubrication points and intervals.
  • Adjust and align as needed: Over time, an RV’s suspension can become unaligned or require adjustments. Regularly perform a visual inspection to ensure that the components are level and functioning properly. Bring your RV to a professional service center if you suspect misalignment or the need for adjustments.

By taking care of your RV’s tires and suspension components, you can enhance the stability of your vehicle during leveling and improve overall driving performance. Remember to follow the recommendations specified in your RV manual and safely enjoy your travels.

Understanding Slide-Outs and Doors

Leveling with Slide-Outs

Slide-outs are a key component of many RVs, as they help create extra space for you and your family. However, when leveling your RV, it is important to consider the impact of these slide-outs.

Some people suggest leveling with their slides out is better. This is because the slides have different weights and depths, which can cause auto-levelers to experience issues when attempting to level the RV accurately.

RV Slideouts

To ensure proper leveling, it’s recommended to first park your RV with the front wheels on the lower end of the incline. Next, check how level your RV is and make any necessary adjustments. Once your RV is level, deploy the slide-outs.

Ensuring Proper Door Function

In addition to considering slide-outs when leveling your RV, it’s crucial to pay attention to the functionality of the doors as well.

When leveling your RV, double-check that the doors for both the entry and the compartments of the RV open and close smoothly. If you find any difficulties in door function after leveling, adjust the leveling process accordingly.

When deploying slide-outs, always examine your environment to make sure you are not going to hit anything or anyone. By being aware of your surroundings and taking the necessary steps to level your RV accurately, you can ultimately prevent damage to both the slide-outs and your RV doors.

Additional Considerations

When leveling your RV, there are some additional factors to consider aside from finding the perfect spot and using leveling blocks or systems.

One factor is the proper operation of your RV’s appliances, such as the propane refrigerator. The ammonia and freon within the refrigerator rely on gravity to circulate properly. An unlevel RV can disrupt this process, possibly causing the refrigerator to overheat or malfunction.

While leveling your RV, also think about the views from your windows. Being mindful of how your RV sits in relation to the surrounding scenery can enhance your campsite experience. Aim for a position that offers the best view while ensuring your RV remains level.

Be aware of your vehicle’s transmission when selecting a campsite. Parking on a steep incline or decline could strain the transmission, leading to potential damage. Opting for a location with more even terrain can help prevent unnecessary stress on your RV’s transmission.

Lastly, keep your propane appliances, like the propane fridge, well-maintained and in good working order. This ensures that they operate correctly when your RV is level. Regularly inspect the refrigeration unit and its components to avoid potential problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I level my RV on uneven ground?

When leveling an RV on uneven ground, it’s essential to identify the lowest points first. Place leveling blocks or boards under the tires on the lowest side until the RV is level. Ensure that the parking brake is engaged and the tires are well-chocked to prevent any movement during the process.

What tools are needed to level an RV?

The tools needed for leveling an RV include a bubble level, leveling blocks or boards, a jack or hydraulic leveling system for motorhomes, wheel chocks, and jack pads. These tools help ensure a smooth and safe leveling process for RVers.

What are the most effective methods for leveling an RV?

There are different leveling methods depending on the type of RV. For motorhomes, using a hydraulic leveling system is the most efficient method.

For towable RVs, utilizing leveling blocks or boards in combination with a bubble level works effectively. Always refer to the RV owner’s manual for specific guidelines and best practices.

Can I level an RV without using leveling blocks?

Yes, it’s possible to level an RV without leveling blocks by using alternative items such as specially designed wedge-shaped ramps or wooden boards.

Make sure the materials used provide a stable and non-slippery surface for the tires. However, leveling blocks are recommended as they are specifically designed for RV leveling purposes.

How do I use a bubble level for leveling an RV?

To use a bubble level on an RV, place the level on a flat surface inside the RV, such as the floor or countertop. Check the bubble positioning in both side-to-side and front-to-back directions.

Adjust the RV accordingly by raising the lowest side with leveling blocks or boards or using the hydraulic leveling system until the bubble is centered within the level’s markings, indicating a level position.

What are the safety precautions to follow while leveling an RV?

When leveling an RV, follow these safety precautions:

  1. Ensure the parking brake is engaged and the wheels are chocked to prevent any movement during the leveling process.
  2. Use caution when placing leveling blocks or boards under the tires and avoid placing hands or fingers in pinch points.
  3. Regularly inspect leveling equipment for signs of wear or damage, and replace any components as needed.
  4. Follow the RV manufacturer’s guidelines for leveling methods and weight restrictions.
  5. Always double-check the levelness and stability of the RV before entering or moving around inside.

Wrapping up how to Level an RV

The importance of leveling the RV cannot be overstated not only for comfort but also for the well-being of your RV and its components. Various types of RVs, such as motorhomes, travel trailers, and campervans, might require specific leveling needs, so it’s crucial to understand these distinctions.

Key factors like choosing the right parking spot, using leveling blocks, chocks, and RV leveling systems contribute to the process and determine the overall success of leveling your rig. Next, check out our Comprehensive Guide to Full-Time RV Living!