If you’ve ever tried sleeping in a crooked travel trailer, you know how important is is to get your travel trailer just right. Not only does a un-leveled trailer mess with your sleep, but it can cause other mechanical problems that will definitely turn your camping trip in to a disaster. When I first started my travel trailer adventures, I didn’t care too much about a flat camping experience. But as more and more trips went by, I discovered that a level travel trailer is an absolute must. Level
Reason you want to level your travel trailer or RV
- Poor Sleep: If you’ve ever sleep on an angle then you know how uncomfortable this can be. If your travel trailer is tilted in such a way that your head is lower than your legs, then you might wake up with a serious headache. Not to mention, you’ll probably wake up numerous times through the night.
- Refrigerator Not Staying Cold: It’s a major bummer when you wake up to find all your food went bad because the refrigerator didn’t stay cold. RV refrigerators work very differently than the one’s at home. RV refrigerators use liquid ammonia to flow through portions of the evaporator coils to keep the temperature cool. If the liquids cannot flow properly, the system will not function. And since liquids do not flow uphill, it’s very important to keep your travel trailer on an even surface while the refrigerator is running. Older RV refrigerators are more sensitive to an incline than the newer models. Check your owner’s manual for specific incline information.
- Improper Tank Readings: You already know how important it is to keep an eye on your black and grey water tanks. There’s nothing that spoils a trip more than an overflowing pooper tank. If your rig is not leveled correctly, you could be relying on improper readings. This can be true with the fresh water tanks and propane!
- Slide-outs: If your travel trailer has a slide out, it is very important for the rig to be leveled with using this feature. Failure to do so could result in the track mechanism to bind up causing very expensive damage to the slide out system. Operating your slide outs on an incline can put unwanted weight on the tracks.
Pick a Good Camping Spot
If you are staying at a developed campsite or an RV park, this will be a breeze. Most spots at campsites are pretty level, however, there are some that will have a slight slant. What I try to look for are spots that are flat as possible. If you cannot find a level spot, try looking for one that is at least level on both the front and back side. It is easy to get the tires leveled. It is harder to level a trailer if the rear of the trailer is slanted downhill. I always look for a spot that is fairly level on both sides of the tires and if there is a downhill slant, I want the slant to be facing the front of the trailer. So as you can see, finding a spot to park is probably the most important part because it will make the rest of the steps a whole lot easier.
Checking your Travel Trailer Level
So now you’ve picked a spot and backed the trailer in. This is what I call the assessment phase. You are going to need a level checker. I got a cheap bubble leveler from Walmart and it does the trick. Some trailers have them built in. You want to check your side to side angles first. Do not unhook the trailer until your side to side levels are even. If your trailer is tilted to one side, then that is the side where you are going to want to raise up. There are many different types of leveling blocks you can use but I like to keep it simple.
I have always used LYNX LEVELERS because they are cheap, strong and stackable. depending on how much your trailer needs to be raised will depend on how many blocks you need to use. Just place the blocks in font of the tires. Hop back in the truck and pull the trailer on top of the blocks. You may need a spotter to tell you when to stop. Once the trailer is on the block, set the parking brake. Get out and check the levels again. Hopefully your tires are now level. If not, back the trailer up and place a few more blocks under the tire. With stackable blocks, try not to stack them one on one.
Try to stack them as if you are building stairs. It’s like adult Legos! This makes them a lot stronger and able to hold more weight. Now check the level of the front and back of the trailer. If the back of the trailer is lower than the front, it’s wither because you have a high profile vehicle or your spot is inclined. You can raise the trailer accordingly by adding more blocks underneath the tires. Once you have the trailer tires leveled (and raised if needed), put your tire chocks on. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. Tire chocks are every important. They will keep your trailer from rolling once you are unhooked from the truck. Even if you are not on an incline, you still need chocks under the tires. I have learned this the hard way and now I pass my knowledge on to you. Here are the chocks I use for my trailer (links to Amazon). They are cheap and very durable and best of all, they attach to the Lynx levelers.
Disconnect Trailer from Truck
Before disconnecting, I always do a quick walk around and check the tires and chocks just in case. After a quick check, you can lift the trailer from the ball hitch. Once you are disconnected from the truck, you can begin to level the front and back of the trailer. This is the easiest part if you found a spot without an incline because the tongue jack will do all the work. Just adjust the jack according to the bubble leveler. If you don’t already know, the bubble should be right in the middle of the tube. That’s the sweet spot. Don’t get too hung up if you can’t get in exactly in the middle. As long as you are within the lines, you won’t really notice any difference.
Once everything is where you want it to be, you can then drop down the stabilizers. Make sure you are at the correct levels because once you drop the stabilizers, you cannot make anymore adjustments. You can cause damage to the stabilizers if you raise or lower your tongue jack. The stabilizers are meant to stabilize the trailer (go figure) not hold the weight of the trailer. Pro tip: If you have manual scissor jacks, consider purchasing an attachment for your drill that uses the torque from the power drill to raise and lower the jacks. Sometimes the stabilizers will not be able to touch a level surface, this could be due to mud or uneven dirt. It is preferred to have them drop down on a flat surface if possible. I have two packs of Lynx levelers so what I do is just drop a few underneath. Next step, drop the stairs and pull out the awning then enjoy.
I know the headline said 60 seconds, and the truth is, after some practice you could probably do it. It all depends on how much adjusting is needed and how good your spotter is. If your alone, you might have to jump in and out a few times. But we all need the exercise, right? If this is your fist time, take it slow. It’s better to be slow and make sure everything is done correctly the first time. You might make a few mistakes but it’s part of the learning curve. Don’t let it be too intimidating. And don’t be afraid to ask your neighbors for help! RV’ers are some of the nicest and most helpful people you will ever encounter.