Storing Your RV: Should You Keep the Leveling Jacks Down?

Getting ready to store your RV for the winter or for an extended period of time. You’ve winterized the water system, cleaned out the fridge, and packed up all your belongings. But what about the leveling jacks? Should you keep them down while the RV is in storage?

This is a debated topic among RVers. Some swear by keeping the jacks down, while others see no benefit to it. Here we’ll walk through the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision for your specific situation.

The Case For Keeping Jacks Down

Those who advocate keeping the leveling jacks down during storage make some valid points.

1. Reduces Pressure and Stress

Having the jacks extended helps take pressure off the tires and suspension system. This can be especially beneficial if storing on concrete or another hard surface. Keeping the weight off the tires over months of non-use can help prevent flat spots.

The same goes for the suspension system. Taking pressure off the springs and shocks over an extended period can help reduce wear and tear.

2. Minimizes Rocking and Swaying

Leveling jacks help stabilize the RV by preventing rocking and swaying while in storage. This reduces stress on attachments and fittings that aren’t designed for motion. Swaying back and forth over months of storage can loosen parts over time.

3. Makes Leveling Easier

One admittedly minor benefit is that having the jacks already down makes leveling easier when taking the RV back out of storage. Rather than fully extending the jacks from the start, you simply need to adjust them slightly to dial in the proper level point.

Reasons You May Not Want Jacks Down

On the other side of the argument, there are a few reasons some RVers don’t bother keeping jacks down for storage:

1. No Mechanical Necessity

Some claim there is no actual mechanical or structural benefit to keeping the jacks down. The suspension system and jacks are designed to handle the RV’s weight whether extended or not.

Unless you’re dealing with an unlevel storage surface, the weight distribution and stress on components is essentially the same jacked up or down. The exception would be if one side of the RV were significantly lower, putting more pressure on the tires or springs.

2. Increased Corrosion Risk

Extending the jacks can increase exposure to moisture, road grime, rodents, etc. This can lead to increased corrosion, which is the last thing you want for your leveling system.

However, as long as you take preventative measures like spraying off dirt, covering the jacks, and using corrosion inhibitors, this may not be a major concern.

3. Storage Surface May Not Matter

If storing in a paved lot or gravel pad, the surface is likely level enough that it won’t put undue strain on tires or suspension. The rigid base negates the need for stabilizing with extended jacks.

However, on softer ground like grass or dirt, keeping the jacks down helps prevent settling into uneven spots. So surface type plays a role in the decision.

Tips for Storing with Jacks Down

If you do choose to keep your RV’s leveling jacks down for storage, keep these tips in mind:

  • Make sure the RV is as level as possible before extending jacks. You don’t want it lopsided.
  • Inspect the jack pads and mounting plates. Clean off any dirt or debris to prevent corrosion.
  • Lubricate the jack mechanisms with a water-displacing lubricant.
  • Place a pad, block, or wood under the extended jack foot for support.
  • Cover the jacks with a tarp, bag, or sheath for protection.
  • Spray exposed metal parts with a corrosion inhibitor. WD-40 works in a pinch.
  • Check the jacks periodically for any signs of rust or malfunction.
  • Fully retract the jacks before taking the RV out of storage.

Alternatives to Keeping Jacks Down

If you’d rather not keep the jacks down, consider these alternatives:

Use Leveling Blocks Under Tires

Placing solid leveling blocks under the tires can serve a similar purpose of getting weight off the suspension. This also alleviates tire flat spotting.

Extend Stabilizing Jacks Only

Many RVs have separate stabilizer jacks that aren’t designed for lifting weight but reduce rocking. Extending just these minimizes corrosion exposure while still adding stability.

Park on a Rigid Surface

Concrete or asphalt pads provide a uniform base that won’t shift or sink under the RV’s weight. No need to space the weight with jacks.

Check Tire Pressure

Ensure tires are properly inflated before storage. This prevents flat spots from forming even with weight on the tires.

Use Wheel Chocks

Chocking the wheels provides a backup to keep the RV from rolling. Especially important on uneven ground.

The Verdict

At the end of the day, whether or not to keep your RV’s leveling jacks down in storage comes down to personal preference. If your storage situation calls for added stabilization and weight distribution, having the jacks extended can certainly provide peace of mind. But it’s by no means required for proper storage.

If you do choose to keep the jacks down, take precautions against corrosion as it can lead to expensive damage down the road. And as always, check with your owner’s manual for any specific guidance on off-season storage procedures.

Follow these jack storage best practices, and your RV will be ready to roll when adventure calls once again! Safe travels!

About Author