How To Get Your RV Level
One of the first things you need to do when you get to a campsite is make sure your RV is level. Or make sure it can be leveled with the RV gear you have with you.
It’s often easier to level a travel trailer or 5th-wheel than a motorhome since the front jack can go up or down easily and level from front to back.
With most motorhomes or camper vans you need to drive up on blocks to level in any direction.
Some larger motorhomes and 5th-wheels have what is called leveling jacks.
These types of jacks are made to take the entire weight of the RV and lift it. Usually, it’s done with just the press of a button and it’s an awesome feature to have.
A few travel trailers are coming out with these types of jacks as well but for the most part, they have what’s called stabilizer jacks.
Stabilizer jacks are not made to take the entire weight of an RV and you should only use them to steady and not lift.
Sometimes leveling an RV is a huge pain, and can take time, but it’s always worth it in the end. Here are some of the main reasons why you should always level your RV.
6 Reasons To Level Your RV
The RV fridge is the number one reason leveling your RV is important.
It doesn’t matter if the fridge is being run on electricity or propane, if your RV is unlevel while it’s on you may start having issues with your fridge not properly cooling and eventually needing some work done on it.
Note that this is only a big deal when the fridge is on. If it’s turned off you don’t need to worry as much. That’s why it’s ok to have your RV a little unlevel or leaned back while in storage.
An RV fridge uses a system of pipes in the back that’s usually filled with ammonia and hydrogen.
They use a method called absorption to draw heat from inside the refrigerator.
For this process, there needs to be a heat source and a way for the liquid inside the pipes to move freely to make everything work.
When unlevel, the chemicals inside the RV fridge pipes are unable to move as easily but the propane or electrical element is still heating and trying to make everything run smoothly.
Another chemical that’s inside the pipes of an RV fridge is a rust inhibitor that prevents them from getting rusty from the inside.
This rust inhibitor works great when everything is running as it should but when the liquid flow is slowed down by gravity it starts to overheat.
Overheating causes it to crystalize, which means a buildup of crystals will start to form in the pipes.
It’s more common than you would think for a complete blockage to happen. Once the crystals have fully built up it’s almost impossible to fix and the cooling unit will need to be replaced.
We thought we had this issue with a used RV we had bought because our fridge wasn’t getting cold enough. We found out it was actually something else causing it.
If your RV fridge isn’t cooling it might be a build up but try this trick first (click here to see post) because it might just be a weak flame.
If you keep your RV level when running none of this should be an issue. It will save you a lot of money in the long run and keep your food stored at safe temperature levels because your RV fridge will be able to run correctly.
Sleeping with your legs elevated can be a good thing but you don’t want to have your entire body to be at a decline all night.
Getting your RV level right from the get go means you won’t wake up in the middle of the night because you’re sleeping in an uncomfortable position.
The same concept also goes for the left to right leveling because you could spend all night smashed against the wall of your RV or rolling off the bunk.
On that same note walking around inside an unlevel RV can be disorienting and generally uncomfortable.
If you are planning on staying at a campsite for more than a few days getting the floor level can make RV camping more enjoyable.
3. Tank Sensors
In every RV there are at least 3 tanks with sensors on them. The freshwater, grey, and black water tanks. Knowing the correct levels of each tank is important, especially when boondocking.
RV tank sensors are notoriously inaccurate but an unlevel RV will make them even worse.
You might think you have more freshwater than you actually have or less.
If your RV is level you will have more accurate information which will make boondocking much easier because you’ll know what’s going on inside the tanks.
4. Slide Outs & Doors
If you’ve ever struggled to open the door to your RV that’s a sign that it’s unlevel.
The same thing goes for slide outs. If it’s super unlevel they often won’t seal around the edges correctly.
It can cause leaks and push the gears on the motor out of alignment.
Re-aligning slide outs is one of the most common RV fixes, and it’s usually the result of them being put out when unlevel.
5. Frame & Suspension System Health
The frames of motorhomes and camper trailers are built to handle a lot of weight but it’s still possible to damage them.
The weight of cargo combined with people moving around inside can cause uneven stress on an unlevel camper.
In serious cases, you could potentially twist the frame permanently which causes towing issues.
6. Jack Stress
Both 5th-wheels and travel trailers have front leveling jacks. They are what make the front go up and down for hitching and front to back leveling.
If your RV is unlevel it could make getting off the hitch much more difficult, especially with a 5th-wheel hitch.
On top of that, an unlevel trailer could start moving slightly even with wheel chocks in place. Too much pressure from the side on any RV jack isn’t good and they can bend and break pretty easily.
I’ve seen front leveling jacks on 5th-wheels needing to be replaced from the pipes being bent forward and I’ve even seen the front tongue jack on a travel trailer break off and make the entire trailer fall forward.
If a front leveling jack fails at a campsite you could end up with a costly repair and having to spend a lot of time waiting for help to make it to where you’re camping.
Conclusion About RV Leveling
When you finally get to your campsite you might be feeling pretty tired or stressed and ready to unhitch and set up your camper so you can get to relaxing right away.
But forgetting to level your RV right from the get go will pretty much always make things more difficult in the long run.
It’s hard to sleep comfortably in an unlevel camper and for the reasons listed above, it’s always worth it to put in the time to get your RV as level as possible before setting up.
To help make the process quicker we use the LevelMate Pro Wireless RV Leveling System (click to view on Amaz0n).
It’s permanently installed inside our RV and we can connect our phones to it to see how level the RV is even when we’re standing outside it.
It makes it easier to find a level spot while you’re still hitched up because you can check how level it is from the driver’s seat.
The bubble level method works as well but smart levelers are a great way to speed up the process so you can get camping faster.
Have any questions about leveling RVs? Leave a comment below.