There’s a lot of things to learn when you start RVing. From what RV is right for you to towing safely on the road, you’ll learn something new before, during, and after each adventure no matter where it takes you. When it comes to parking an RV, leveling it if you’re on uneven ground is essential to keeping your rig in working condition.
An unlevel RV can wreak havoc on your chassis, tires, and could even lead to your rig tipping over or sliding down an uneven surface. Many RV parks and campgrounds have invested in concrete pads and level places to park but if you’re boondocking or reach a place that hasn’t made a level surface available – you’ll need to level your RV manually.
Here’s your beginner’s guide to leveling an RV and what you need to be aware of when parking your motorhome, trailer, or camper during a trip.
Why You Have to Level an RV
You’d like to remain level for personal comfort. No one likes sleeping on a leaning bed or watching your food slide off the table. Parking on an uneven surface will put more pressure on your tires and potentially your undercarriage or chassis. This pressure could cause your tires to wear down more quickly or need repairs that will be costly.
Another reason to keep an RV level is to maintain a vital appliance: Your refrigerator.
The RV refrigerator - an absorption refrigerator - needs to be level to allow chemicals inside the refrigerator to flow. Not only will operating an RV refrigerator on an uneven surface cause it to malfunction, but it may also cause permanent damage. This will force you will find yourself shopping for a new one. We recommend keeping a circular bubble level on top of your refrigerator to make sure that the fridge is level while operating.
Pro Tip: If you have a built-in leveling system, have it checked during your annual maintenance inspection. Make sure your leveling system works, and if not, have it repaired before you hit the road.
Now that we know the importance of staying level, we need an easy way to achieve it. If you’re lucky, your RV will have built-in hydraulic or electric levelers with stabilizers, but for the rest of us, we’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way with blocks.
Leveling an RV with Blocks
The number of leveling blocks you will need will depend on the ground you’re parking on. Most RV parks do their best job to keep the sites level, but if you’re into dry camping chances are that you may have some uneven ground to deal with.
What you use to level is your choice. Some RVers carry simple pieces of lumber along with them, but we recommend getting something more stable, such as RV leveling blocks which are available at many camping, outdoors, and even some big box stores. The advantage of using RV blocks is that they’re built for the job. Using planks or lumber may cause stress on the tires if the entirety of the weight is not distributed over the whole tire.
Take a walk around the RV park before you start the leveling process to give you an idea of where your RV might need some help. Pull the RV into the spot a few feet from where you intend on parking. Place the blocks underneath the wheels with your best guesstimate on what will level everything out. Try to leave at least one tire on the ground at all times to keep the RV stable.
Relax the brakes and try to let the idle of your engine roll your vehicle up onto the blocks. Keeping a bubble level on your RV dashboard is an easy way to gauge how far off you are. If you’re off a little, don’t worry, back up and try again, and before you know it, you’ll be able to get your RV level first try. Check the bubble level on your refrigerator to make sure everything looks good, too.
Pro Tip: Even if you have a leveling system, keep a few RV leveling blocks on hand in case you need them. They will come in handy if your system malfunctions during a trip or if you need a little extra lift to stay level at an RV park or campground.
Now you have a level RV, so you can sleep and not worry about having to buy a new fridge or sliding from where you parked during your trip.