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Getting comfortable in a campground is much easier when you know how to level your RV right the first time. No one wants to stumble around their motorhome or Happier Camper, sleep off-kilter, or catch a swinging door to the face.
In addition to helping you get a good night’s sleep, some appliances like a propane refrigerator may not function if your RV isn’t properly level. So in this simple guide to leveling your RV, you’ll learn how to level your RV manually and with an auto-leveling system (if your RV is equipped).
Then you’ll be ready to kick off a relaxing camping trip!
Tools Needed To Manually Level Your RV
Many RVs will not be equipped with an auto-leveling system. So, before you arrive at your campsite, you must know how to manually level your rig.
What You Need To Level a Towable RV
- A bubble level
- RV Leveling blocks (or 2 x 6 pieces of wood, if you prefer)
- Wheel chocks (Very important because towables don’t have transmissions or parking brakes of their own!)
- Jack crank handle or scissor jack drill attachment
What You Need To Level a Motorized RV
- A bubble level
- Leveling blocks (or a few 2-inch by 6-inch pieces of wood if you prefer)
With those items packed, you’ll be ready to level your RV when you set up camp.
How To Level Your Towable RV Manually
You will need to level your RV both left to right and front to back. Here are the steps to leveling a travel trailer or fifth wheel manually.
How to Level Your RV Left to Right
Step 1: Position your RV
When backing a trailer into a campsite, try to get as close as possible to being level left to right. Rolling forward or backward as you’re pulling can help you get close to level left to right. Use a handheld bubble level (or a built-in level inside your RV) to check your level side to side.
TIP: Place that handheld bubble level on the RV floor, the RV’s rear bumper, or a countertop to check the level.
Step 2: Set your Leveling Blocks
Decide if you need to raise the right tires or the left tires to become level left to right. If you’re close to level, try going up on just one block. If you’re off by a bit, try going up onto two blocks. It’s not recommended to go up more than three blocks.
TIP: Make it easier to drive up (or roll back) on the blocks by building a platform––for example, use five blocks to make a kind of ramp or slope to go up the height of two blocks.
Step 3: Pull Onto Leveling Blocks
Look at the angle of your campsite and trailer. Decide if it will be easier to roll back onto blocks or to pull the RV forward up onto blocks. If you’re going to roll back, place your blocks behind the wheel. For pulling forward, lay the blocks in front of the wheel.
Pull your towable onto leveling blocks slowly. It’s best to have someone who knows how to guide an RV to help you with this process. If you’re alone, go slow and check your placement several times.
TIP: Set your parking brake each time you need to leave your tow vehicle.
Check to see if you are now level. If you’re not yet level, you may need to pull off the blocks, add another level, and repeat the process.
Step 4: Chock Your Wheels
Now that you are level from left to right, do NOT unhitch yet. Instead, grab your wheel chocks and chock the wheel that you did not raise up blocks. Place a wheel chock on both sides of the tire so that your camper can’t roll.
Step 5: Unhitch
With both wheel chocks firmly in place, you can now go ahead and disconnect your tow hitch. If you’re towing a 5th wheel, make sure you don’t make the most common mistake that new fifth wheel owners make.
How to Level Your RV Front to Back
Step 1: Use Your Bubble Level
Grab your bubble level one more time, but this time check the level of your RV front to back. Place the level on the floor inside your towable RV to check the front-to-back level.
Step 2: Adjust the Jack
Level your trailer by raising or lowering your fifth wheel’s landing jack or your travel trailer’s tongue jack. Some jacks are power jacks and some are manual hand-crank jacks.
Step 3: Stabilize
Now that your RV is level, lower (or place) your stabilizing jacks onto jack pads. Extend just until they make solid contact with the pad and be sure there is equal pressure on all of them. These jacks are for stabilizing only and should NOT be used to lift your towable RV to adjust the level.
TIP: Don’t extend your RV slideouts until your RV is level and stable.
How To Manually Level Your Motorhome
The process is mainly the same. Check your level, set leveling blocks, pull onto the blocks, and re-check your level. But here are a few additional considerations for motorized RVs:
- Check your level left to right and front to back. You want to start out as levelly as possible. It’s easier to reposition your RV before you start driving up onto blocks.
- To adjust the level front to back, place blocks under the front or back wheels.
- To adjust the level left to right, place blocks under both driver or passenger wheels.
TIP: If you need to drive onto a stack of more than three leveling blocks, you need to reposition your RV or, in the worst case, choose another campsite.
Slowly back your RV onto blocks until you are centered on the highest block. Having a spotter is really helpful here. Otherwise, you’ll have to stop, set your parking brake, and check your position several times before you get it right.
How to Level Your RV With an Auto-Leveling System
Most Class A’s and some towable RVs are equipped with an auto-leveling or hydraulic leveling system that makes leveling as easy as pushing a button. They make leveling and stabilizing your RV easy by utilizing hydraulic jacks to raise the low corners of your RV.
Step 1: Parking your RV
Auto-leveling systems are great, but you still need to start fairly level. So get your bubble level out and make sure you’re as level as possible before you begin.
Park the front end of the RV on the downhill side of an uneven campsite or parking space. You want your low corners in the front so that you’ll be leveling by raising the front end of the RV rather than the rear.
This is a must because when you’re in Park only your rear wheels are locked. Your RV could roll off the jacks if one or both of the rear wheels is raised off the ground. If you have any doubts, place chocks in front and back of your front wheels and use the parking brake if applicable.
Step 2: Placing Jack Pads
Place blocks or jack pads under your jacks. Make sure you’re not about to place your jacks down on an icy or slick surface that could allow the foot pads to slip.
TIP: Jack pads prevent your jacks from sinking in and protect the campsite’s parking pad. Remember that jacks can sink on asphalt if it’s hot.
Step 3: Using your Leveling System
Use your control panel to level your RV using your auto-leveling system. Your control panel will have lights telling you which corners are low. Use the corresponding buttons to automatically level your camper.
TIP: No matter which auto-leveling system you have, never lift your RV wheels beyond the ground when extending your rear stabilizers.
Leveling your RV isn’t complicated, but it’s much easier if you do it right the first time. That way, you can get on with enjoying all the benefits of living in an RV!
Now that you know how to level your RV, where will you take your RV first? Leave a comment below!
Tucker Ballister is our Technical Content Writer. He’s a lover of the open road and the proud owner of a 2021 Sunlite Classic travel trailer (his 3rd RV to date). Check out more of his RV adventures, gear reviews, and outdoor advice at thebackpackguide.com.