What To Do When Your RV Is Not LevelElijah White
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What happens if your RV is not level? Your floor and counter could be uneven, or important functions like and drains and hoses may function improperly.
An unlevel RV might not seem like a big deal to new RV goers, but even a slight angle can make your RV uncomfortable to walk around in. More serious discrepancies can also affect waste tank drainage or the ability to fill your fresh water storage tank. Issues with door alignment and frame sealant can also arise.
If you have parked your RV where you want it to be but are not leveled out evenly you may need to adjust built in leveling features on your RV or use external leveling blocks under the wheels to compensate for bad terrain. If a parked RV later becomes unlevel the ground could be displaced under it.
Leveling issues when parking a mobile home usually have an obvious culprit: uneven ground. Travel trailers and 5th wheel style mobile homes typically have more options to help level out your rig, while motorhomes may be equipped with a leveling system but often rely on under-wheel leveling blocks. Floor and frame damage are less likely reasons and usually have early warning signs. It is also possible that the ground under your RV is unstable.
My RV has no method of leveling itself so I have learned to be extra aware of the terrain I park on and come prepared with leveling blocks. During restoration on our vintage rig several rotten spots in the subfloor kept my wife and I busy for an extra two weeks worth of research and repair.
How to Park an RV on Uneven Ground
How to Use an Auto Leveler
Large RVs and higher end models are more likely to have auto levelers installed. These are operated from inside the RV with a control panel and do most of the work for you, both stabilizing your RV and leveling out the floor space.
Auto levelers use a controller to operate powered jacks mounted on the RV frame. Some controllers will allow the user to manually raise or lower each leg individually, while others have sensors and level everything automatically.
How to Use Stabilizing Jacks
If you plan on driving a travel trailer you will need to learn how to use stabilizing jacks. These are extending legs that hold your trailer up while not being towed. Manual jacks will have a hand crank to extend them to the ground, while automatic ones do so at the push of a button. Generally pull-behind mobile homes and truck campers feature this method.
Whether you unhook your pull-behind camper before or after deploying your stabilizing jacks will depend on the model. Most have one jack at each corner that are simply unlocked and lengthened until pressed firmly against the ground.
How to Use RV Leveling Blocks
Leveling blocks can be made from wood or plastic and go directly on the ground for the RV wheels to rest over top of. These are a simple and affordable solution with less likelihood of breaking compared to built-in leveling systems, but require manual installation and a place to store them.
Leveling blocks are straightforward to use. After visually identifying which wheels need to be raised, simply place your blocks down and drive over them. Because these blocks are so simple some RV goers make their own sets out of wood shaped to work well with specific RVs or terrain.
Is The Ground Stable Enough For an RV
If your RV was initially level when parked but has since become unlevel the ground beneath your rig could be too soft for prolonged use. Because even the smallest trailers usually weigh between 2000 and 5000 pounds, some spots don’t have the durability to be used for camping.
It is good practice to always park in an evenly paved or gravel area. Well packed dirt can also be found more commonly at rural campgrounds and is fine for short term use (two weeks or less) but you should avoid taking your RV off road into soft grass or sandy areas.
Some terrain may seem fine to park on only for your wheels to sink into the ground after sitting for a while. Most RVs, though designed for outdoor recreation, are not designed for offroad use.
Avoid expensive tow bills, damage to your vehicle, and most importantly damage to the Earth by driving and parking only in properly designated areas.
Checking An RV For Floor and Frame Damage
How to Know if Your RV’s Floor Needs Replaced
Floor damage is usually the result of a water leak. When the sealant between walls wears down rainwater leaks down the wall and pools under your main floor. This can be hard to detect and go on long enough that the subfloor of your RV rots from water damage.
Check your RV’s floor for soft spots by stepping or pressing firmly and feeling for areas that are overly weak. Replacing the subfloor is something you want to avoid, but preventing leaks typically means preventing floor damage as well.
This can be an expensive repair and render your RV unusable while in progress, but can be avoided with self inspection and regularly scheduled maintenance. Take preventive measures to insure your floor lasts longer.
Spotting Damage To An RV Frame
It is unlikely for the metal frame of your RV to be damaged severely enough to make a portion of the walls, floor, or slideouts sink or slump without you being aware of the event that caused it. Still, severe rust damage, a collision, or road debris all have a small possibility of this.
If the frame of your RV is damaged enough to cause it to be unlevel then the vehicle is not in safe driving condition and needs to be inspected by a professional. Visually inspecting the undercarriage of your RV every one to three months for rust buildup or other damage should be part of your regular maintenance routine.