Level Your RV - How and Why

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Level Your RV - How and Why

Monday, January 27, 2020

The first time we parked our RV on our new parking pad at home and were level, I couldn't believe the difference this made!


Our home is not the ideal spot to park an RV.  There are no Home Owner Association rules that prohibit us from doing this.  We have plenty of space on our property, but our yard has a slope going downward.  There is literally no level space to park our RV at our home.  Over time, this is a bad plan.  So, we addressed this problem recently.  However, having a level RV is important when in storage at home and at the campground.  Even if your campsite or parking space is not sloped, there could be a need to level your RV.  And, it can be less complicated than you think.


Level Your RV - How to Do It and Why


Why You Need to Ensure Your RV is Level

It is important to level your trailer for both camping and storage.  An unlevel camper can weaken the structure and can cause damage to the frame over time.  This has a negative impact on the undercarriage.  Being unlevel can affect the performance of the refrigerator.  Unlevel positions put stress on the door jams as well as cabinets.  It is not great for your tires.  Your windows and slides will not operate properly if you are unlevel.  Finally, an unlevel camper is not comfortable and could be a safety hazard for you inside.  Essentially, you are asking for structural or functional problems if you are not leveling your RV every time you park it.

In a pop-up camper, steps to level your RV are equally important.  When you raise the roof and put the door into place, being level will make all the difference.  If you are not level, the door will not fit into the frame and close properly.  I also think it is very dangerous to sleep in the bunk ends on an unlevel pop-up camper.  This process applies to every recreational vehicle.

The parking pad we had built at our home is constructed with gravel, crush and run and landscaping ties.

The structure blends in with our yard and is the right size for our RV.

Begin with a Level Surface


Our yard is at a slope, and we didn't have a level spot for parking and storage.  We tried to put large pavers under our tires,  but we really needed about an 18-inch build up to make a spot for parking.  We talked about how and what to do.  And, we ended up hiring a landscaping company to come in and build a parking pad.

Heavy dirt was brought in to start the bottom layer of our parking pad.  It is encased with large landscaping ties.  These are secured and will keep the dirt and gravel from washing away.  On top, there is a layer of crush and run that will pack in hard and provide a stable surface for parking.

Sure, it would be possible to do this as a DIY project.  But, I have been recovering from knee surgery, and we just wanted it done.  It cost us $1,325 to have this project done professionally.  They had all of the equipment and brought everything in on big trucks.  The landscaping company was done in about 3 hours.  It was well worth the money to just have it done quickly as opposed to tying up an entire Saturday or weekend.

If you build a parking pad, you should think about a space wider than your RV.  Our parking pad is 16 feet across.  This is double the size of our RV.  Therefore, we can park with about 4 feet on each side if we park in the middle.  This gives us room to park easily and be able to step in and out of the door as needed without such a large drop off from the steps.

How to Level Your RV the Easy Way


Once you get to your campsite or parking pad, you will need to size up the best spot to park.  Get your levelers ready.  I recommend Andersen Levelers.  You can add additional leveling features to some RVs at the dealer or manufacturer.  But these options can be costly and add a lot of weight to your RV.  I think Andersen Levelers are both effective and cost-efficient.  You will need one Andersen Leveler per axel.  Our RV has a double axel and requires two.  Our pop up camper only had one axel, so we only needed one.

The Andersen Levelers are the perfect tool to help you get to level the first time, every time.


Begin by leveling your RV left to right.  Place a typical household level on the bumper of your RV.  Determine which side needs to come up, and place your levelers on that side to raise your RV to level.   You can drive onto the Andersen Levers or back onto them to give you the correct height on the side that needs it.

The level is placed on the bumper of the RV to get level from side to side or left to right.


After leveling from left to right, place your wheel chocks behind your wheels on the opposite side.  When you unhitch your RV from your tow vehicle, you can level your RV from front to back by the height on the tongue jack.  Raise or lower as needed to achieve a level position.  I usually place my level on the floor in the door of my RV to determine the level position from front to back.  When the bubble in the level is in the middle position, you are level and ready to set up.

Place the level in the doorway to level from front to back.

Lower the tongue jack until the RV is level from front to back.

One thing that I have noticed with my level is that the bubble sometimes gets stuck on one end.  The tongue jack will be at a position that seems level or nearly level, but the level still shows that it is several inches off.  If I pick up one end of the level and place it back down, the bubble releases and shows an accurate reading.  So, beware of this issue with some levels.

Finally, place pads underneath your stabilizer jack positions and lower your stabilizer jacks.  Your stabilizer jacks should never be used to level your RV.  They are used to secure your RV and keep it from moving around and shaking so much when you are walking inside.  You should only have enough tension in your stabilizer jacks to give it a good connection to the ground below.

These Camco Pads give the stabilizer jack s place to establish a secure ground connection.

Additional Equipment

If you still feel like leveling your RV is a problem, you can add tools like Level Mate Pro to make leveling a little easier.  This system may be the most cost-effective electronic solution.  You can mount the system inside of your RV to determine front to back and left to right level positions.  The systems connect with an app on your phone to determine if your RV is level.  The app will give you this information as it communicates with the device in your RV as you drive onto your levelers for the left to right leveling.  It will also tell you when you have reached a level position as you lower your tongue jack for front to back options.  You can save the correct position of your tongue jack when you unhitch from your RV.  You can use the saved position to tell you when you have reached it to reconnect and tow home at the end of your camping trip.

We don't currently own this piece of equipment, but it is definitely on our radar for the next year.  While we can certainly level the old fashioned way, this system would great for solo travel and set up and takedown in the rain.  It would make things go faster, and virtually eliminate the need to make this a two-person job.



Conclusion

  1. Locate the best place to park your RV and position yourself into that spot for leveling and unhitching.
  2. Place a level on the bumper and check the side to side (left to right) level position.  
  3. Adjust your RV with a leveling system such as Andersen Levelers as needed.  Drive on or back onto them to the right height to level your RV.
  4. Place your wheel chocks in place on the opposite side and unhitch.
  5. Place a level in the door of your RV and lower your tongue jack to the proper level to provide a front to back level position.  Now you can lower your stabilizer jacks and set up!

How do you level your RV?  Do you have a good spot for your RV at home or do you have to pay to store your RV at another location?  I'm happier with our set up process at home than I have been since our purchase.  I also feel like our leveling process at the campground is fairly simple because we have learned the steps to do it with a few pieces of equipment that work well every time.  As with anything, it takes practice, but you can do it.

Until next time...

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