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RV On The Level

Have you ever found that perfectly level campsite? I haven't. Some are close, but I have had to always adjust the RV level to some degree.

Why must the RV be level? For several reasons:

  1. Comfort. Walking, sitting, and sleeping on a level plane is far more comfortable than being off kilter.

  2. Cooking. I hate it when objects in the frying pan move to one side or the other.

  3. Plumbing Flow: Being level keeps waste water flowing in the right direction.

  4. Absorption Refrigerator Performance. According to Norcold:

"If you have a gas absorption refrigerator, normal leveling of the vehicle is sufficient. The refrigerator is made to operate within 3 degrees off level side-to-side and 6 degrees off level front-to-back (looking at the front of the refrigerator)."

Gas absorption refrigerators use gravity instead of a pump to circulate coolant back to the heat chamber. Operating the refrigerator while stationary and off level can cause the coolant to pool and not return to the heat chamber which can ultimately lead to refrigerator failure. Operating while in motion provides sufficient agitation to prevent pooling of coolant.

Types of leveling.

There are three main types of RV leveling: Manual, Electric, & Hydraulic.

Manual: People use manual scissor jacks, interlocking leveling blocks, and leveling wedges to level their RV at the campsite.

These are the Anderson leveling wedges with chocks. The Anderson system is very easy and convenient to drive up on to achieve the desired height,

These "lego like" interlocking blocks can be configured for the desired height and driven upon to achieve level. Although not as convenient as the Anderson, they are effective. They also serve a dual purpose in that they can be used to raise the "ground level" under the Leveling jacks to prevent them from being overextended. I recommend keeping both the Anderson and the Leveling blocks on hand in the RV.

This the Correct way to use leveling blocks.

This NOT the correct way to use leveling blocks.

Electric and Hydraulic Jack Systems are powerful and can lift the RV off of the ground which is unsafe and can damage the jacks and their mounting to the frame of the RV. Under NO circumstances should the rear axle drive wheels be lifted off the ground. The drive wheels are your parking brake and must remain on the ground.

Wheels off the ground to achieve level creates an unstable RV and increases the stresses on the leveling jacks and should be AVOIDED.

Stabilizers vs Leveling Jacks. It is important to note that Leveling jacks are not stabilizers. Stabilizers should never be used to achieve a level condition - they are simply not designed to handle that stress. They are only there to serve the purpose of minimizing the rocking of your RV as you move around the interior. Level your RV first and if it is equipped with stabilizing jacks, extend them out to make solid ground contact without lifting the RV. You have now achieved a level, stable condition.

HWH and Lippert Leveling System Control Panels

Auto Level and Manual Adjustment. HWH and Lippert are two of the major suppliers of automatic leveling systems for RV's. Both have an Auto Level feature that when calibrated, can achieve an optimum level condition very quickly with just the push of a button. That being said, it is not advisable to place a lot of trust in the auto level feature. They have been known to overextend jacks, lift wheels off the ground, & twist the RV body to the point that damage could occur to the slide out alignment or even pop out a windshield.

We have ceased using the auto level feature in our motorhome after the auto level went berserk at a campsite in Mississippi. We first achieve a close level condition using leveling blocks under the tires that require it. We use more level blocks to raise the ground level under jacks that would otherwise be greatly extended to reach the ground. Then using a two foot level on the floor of the RV, we manually lower the jacks front to back to achieve level followed by side to side adjustments. This has proven to be a quick and effective method to achieve a level condition with all the tires on a solid surface while protecting the jacks from overextending and keeping the stresses to a minimum on the RV body.

Maintenance of Leveling Jacks. The following is a link to an NRVTA video on maintaining your leveling jacks and slide out mechanisms.

If your jacks have been extended for some time, it is likely that dirt and grime has accumulated on the exposed jack posts. It is a good practice to clean and lubricate them before retracting. Retracting dirty posts can damage the seals and cause hydraulic fluid leaks.

I spray the leveling jack tubes with a Silicone spray and then wipe them clean. I then follow up with a Dry Lube spray before retracting the jacks.

Silicone Spray:

Level Condition and Slideout Operation. Always refer to your RV Owner's manual regarding operation of the slideouts. As a general rule, you should be in a level condition before extending and retracting your slideouts to assure optimum performance.


I trust that this BLOG Post has provided you with some useful information.

As a side note, If you are looking to buy or sell an RV, be sure to hire a Nationally Certified NRVIA RV Inspector. You can find one near you at

NRVIA Certified Inspectors subscribe to a strict code of ethics to assure you of the highest integrity and professionalism in the inspection work. The RV tells its story, and the unbiased facts are provided to you in a comprehensively detailed and easy to understand report.

Having the knowledge of the true condition of the RV at the time of the inspection gives you the power to make an informed purchase decision. Check out our web site for more information.

Safe Travels!

Ron Francoeur

Sherlock RV Inspection Service, LLC

Office: 352 – 224 – 9477

Text: 678 – 360 - 6883

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