Leveling a camper is vital to living inside of it and keeping it from becoming damaged. Being inside a crooked camper feels unstable and can even induce nausea because of its unlevel floor and walls. Leaving a camper unlevel for even a short period of time can cause severe damage to the trailer’s chassis. To be safe, you should always make sure your camper is level. In this article, we will discuss exactly how to level your camper.
List of Items You Will Need
Each one of these items is essential to leveling a trailer and will ensure that you are getting the job done in the right way. Using the wrong tools can damage a trailer and can lead to injuries. Buying an RV is expensive and it is vital that you take care of this large lifestyle investment. Purchase these items to level your trailer correctly.
1. Leveling blocks or wedges
Leveling blocks and wedges are essential when leveling a camper because they go right under the camper’s wheels and stop movement. All you need to do is place one under each wheel. They are inexpensive, easy to use and will make leveling your trailer quite easy.
2. Blocks or a stand for the tongue jack
Both blocks or a stand will be able to support the tongue jack and will minimize the amount of cranking needed to position the jack. This can save you time and effort and will ultimately make leveling your trailer a lot easier.
3. Bubble levels on your RV
Just like a bubble level used in construction, bubble levels on your RV will tell you that the camper is level. You can purchase them from a hardware store or online. Most of them have adhesives on them so you can easily stick them to your camper and watch to make sure it is level. Lots of people think they can just “eyeball” to make sure it is level, but it will be a whole lot easier to do this with a bubble level.
4. Tire chocks
Tire chocks are made to keep your rig from rolling away. They are essential to leveling a camper because they will be sure to keep the RV in place at all times. Campers are very large and heavy and without tire chocks, an RV can easily start rolling away and you won’t have control over it. This can be a major safety hazard and will also cause severe damage to any camper. Be sure to purchase tire chocks to keep your trailer in place and also to use when leveling it.
Step by Step Guide
First, pick a spot that is as level as possible. If you place a simple level on any surface in your trailer and the bubble goes either all the way to the left or the right, then you should just pick another spot. Your trailer is positioned at such an extreme angle that any attempts at leveling the trailer will only be in vain.
Clear the area as much as possible. Before you start to level your trailer, you should clear out the immediate vicinity. Throw away any large stones, branches, dead logs and other debris that will make leveling your trailer that much more difficult. If you are camping with other people, ask them to steer clear of the trailer while you are figuring out how to make the whole thing stable and level.
Next, check the trailer using a level. You should always bring an RV level with you whenever you go camping. You will use this to check how level your trailer is on the ground. Use the level to measure the camper’s doorway. Place the level flat on the doorway. The side of the trailer that shows that it is lower is the side that you need to raise.
Place your leveling blocks near the trailer’s tires. Modern leveling blocks look like large and sturdy Lego blocks. To use them, you just snap them on together to form a simple ramp for your trailer’s tires. Place them in front of the tires of the side of the trailer that you need to raise. You can find leveling blocks in most big box stores or in camper specialty stores.
Now, you can drive your trailer onto the blocks. Slowly tow your trailer so that it rests on top of the leveling blocks. You just need to keep your steering wheel straight and go easy on the gas. The tires must be completely within the width of the leveling blocks.
If there are overhanging parts of the tires, you need to back up and reset the position of the blocks. If you let your tires overhang, it can seriously damage the steel belt ply of the tires.
Place wheel chocks to keep your trailer in place. Chocks are required safety measures. Place your RV wheel chocks behind the tires if the ground slopes towards the back of the trailer and in front if the slope goes that way. If you are unsure then just place them in front and at the back of the wheels.
Now, lower the tongue jack. Before you start lowering the tongue jack, which is located in front of the trailer, you should lay down a couple of pieces of 2-inch by 10-inch planks. This is so the jack has a solid footing, preventing it from sinking into the ground. Lower the jack, making sure that the foot is dead center of the wood planks. If you want to use something that will last longer than wood and is much lighter, use a wheel dock, which you can find in most big box retail stores and in RV specialty shops.
Unhitch the tow vehicle. Once you are happy with how the camper trailer is secured, lower the tongue jack and unhitch the vehicle. Move the towing vehicle out of the way so that it will be easier for you to continue leveling your trailer.
Check the level again but this time, it should be from front to back. Grab your level again and then orient it so that you can measure if the front or back of the trailer needs to level. If the reading says that the rear is lower, adjust the tongue jack. Either lower or raise the front using the tongue jack of the trailer to make it level.
Use the trailer’s stabilizing jacks. These jacks are found in the four corners of the trailer. Although you can use these for leveling, their primary purpose is to prevent the trailer from rocking from side to side and falling out of its level. Before you lower the jacks, place a 2-inch by 10-inch plank of wood underneath their feet. This will give them a solid surface to stand on and prevent them from sinking into the ground.
If your trailer does not come standard with stabilizing jacks, you can use jack stands that you can purchase in all automotive supply stores in their place. One thing that you need to remember when using jack stands is that you cannot use them to lift up the trailer. You can only use them to prop it up once raised.
Now, your trailer should be all leveled and stabilized. You can now enjoy living in your new small home for as long as you like. Now, you can move about inside the trailer without feeling like you are always ready to tumble forward or back!
Tips and Warnings
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.
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.
You should never let your trailer stay crooked, especially if you will be parked in one location for an indefinite amount of time. Not only is living inside an uneven trailer nausea-inducing, but it can also cause severe damage to the chassis of the trailer. If you want to continue using your trailer for more camping trips in the future, you need to learn how to level a travel trailer on a permanent site.