The Complete Guide to Leveling Your RV Correctly

One of the biggest draws of RVs is they allow you to travel and camp almost anywhere, whether it be on a campground or out in the wilderness, bringing the convenience of amenities along with you. Because you can go anywhere, though, you may find yourself set up on less than even ground. When that situation arises, it's essential to know how to level an RV.

Why Should You Level Your RV?

You may feel tempted to not bother with leveling your RV, but it's essential to get the most use out of your mobile home or travel trailer. Even the simplest of activities can become a hassle with an uneven RV, and items are likely to slip off counters or tables (not pleasant to deal with when you want to sit down and eat, either). Sleep can likely be difficult, too, if you regularly need to adjust for the RV's angle.

Aside from the comfort factor, you can also have some appliance difficulties with an uneven RV. In particular, refrigerators have an absorption factor that can't run uphill, and they can stall out when sitting at an angle—especially older models. If you don't want your food to spoil (and you don't want the risk of an expensive repair bill), you'll need to level your RV.

Additionally, an uneven RV can throw off your water tank sensors. Since you likely want to have an accurate idea of how much water you have at your disposal (especially when full-timing and camping off the grid), keeping your RV level is helpful.

How to Level an RV

While the core concept for leveling both motorhomes and travel trailers is roughly the same, but there are some differences since a motorhome is one cohesive unit on its own, while you'll likely disconnect your travel trailer from your vehicle as you level it. Either way, you'll need to have a bubble level and blocks to prop up your wheels. Overall, you’ll see differences between types—a class A motorhome needs a different approach than a travel trailer.

With that out of the way, let's get into the details of how to level an RV!

Leveling a Motorhome (Class B or C RV)

Once you've settled into your parking location and you've made sure to park with the front wheels on the lower end of the incline (see our best practices section for more info!), you'll want to check how leveled-out your RV is. Using your bubble level, place it on a countertop, floor, or table in the home section, preferably close to the center for a more accurate measurement.

With a motorhome, you want to measure both the level left to right and front to back at once. In some cases, you may be able to set your RV to level by only lifting one corner onto blocks. Once you've determined how much off balance you are, you can work on setting up your blocks and then driving your RV up onto them before rechecking the balance.

Some guidelines to where to add blocks:

  • If you're only off on front to back balance, you'll need to raise both ends on the front or back (preferably the former)
  • If you're only off on the left to right balance, you will need to raise both right-side or left-side wheels, whichever is lower
  • If you're off on both front-back and left-right balance, you may be able to adjust the wheel that is low on both measurements.

Leveling a Travel Trailer (Towable RVs)

While you can usually handle measuring a motorhome's levelness in one fell swoop, towable RVs tend to require that you take the process in stages. You'll still measure in the same way as mentioned above, but you'll start by checking out your left-right balance before needing to make adjustments.

If you need to adjust left-right, you want to set up your blocks. Generally, it's easier to pull the travel trailer forward and onto the blocks, but don't be afraid to back up onto them if that's easier at your angle. Once you've confirmed that you're okay left to right, set up your wheel chocks on both sides of your tire. You must do this before unhitching your RV; otherwise, it'll likely roll away.

With your travel trailer secured in place, you can then take the front-back level measurements. Instead of rolling your RV onto blocks, you'll adjust the A-frame or fifth-wheel landing jack down onto the blocks to obtain balance.

Once that's done with, you're free to lower your stabilizers, checking that they have even pressure. After this point, you can also extend your slide outs and get to setting up the rest of your campsite!

Using the Auto Leveling System

If your RV has an auto-leveling system, then you don't need to worry about as many factors of leveling an RV, as the system will do it for you. Generally, once you park, you can press the auto-leveling button, and everything will adjust as necessary. The instructions in your RV owner's manual will let you know how to do it and whether you need to extend the sides out or not.

If you don’t want to stress about appropriately leveling your RV on its own, consider looking for this feature when shopping for RVs for sale.

Best Practices for Leveling an RV

When it comes to effective leveling, here are some tips that you can follow to make the process easier:

  • Park as close to level as possible – The more evenly you start, the less work it will take to get everything in place—and the sooner you can settle down and enjoy camping
  • Park with the front end of the RV facing downward – Your rear wheels are the ones that lock when you're in park, so you want to keep them on the ground. If the front end of the RV is on the lower end of the slope, you'll be able to lift them instead as you level
  • Always use blocks or jack pads – Using these items will help prevent your jacks from sinking into the ground and keep away damage from the parking pad. And, yes, your jacks can even descend into asphalt if the weather is hot enough.
  • Avoid slick and icy surfaces – No matter how evenly you level out your RV, slippery surfaces are prone to making your RV jacks slip out of place. This setup will be harmful to your balance (and for the longevity of your jacks). Avoid these areas as much as possible.
  • Always follow your manufacturer recommendations – RV manufacturers give us owner's manuals so that we know how to handle our travel trailers and motor homes, so make use of them! We've outlined a common approach to how to level an RV, but what's in your owner's manual always takes precedence. Be sure to ask for best practices when renting an RV as well

Leveling an RV FAQ

Have questions about how to level an RV? Let us help.

Can You Level an RV with the Slides Out?

In most cases, you're not going to want to extend your slide-outs until you've secured the RV in place, whether it's a motorhome or a travel trailer. Save that part of your setup until you've confirmed that your balance is on point, your blocks and wheels are secure, and your stabilizers are ready to go.

That said, there are exceptions to this—namely automatic leveling systems. On some models, the auto system may be able to calibrate even with slides out. You should confirm your RV's capabilities in your owner's manual before attempting to do so.

How Many Blocks Do You Need to Level Your RV?

When you're new to your RV, it can be tricky to determine how many blocks you need to set in place to level your RV back out. While there's no hard and fast guide to this, smaller imbalances tend to need one block, while more significant imbalances require two. If you need more than that, you might want to consider parking on a more level surface.

The good news is that once you go through the process a few times, you'll start to understand better how much adjustment your RV needs when it's unlevel.