The Best Way to Level an RV: Tips and Techniques

Before you can kick back and crack open a cold one, there’s an important step you need to take – leveling your RV. A level RV is crucial for comfort and safety, and prevents issues like doors not shutting properly or appliances not operating correctly.

Leveling seems simple enough – just drive in, put down some blocks under the tires and jacks, and you’re good to go. Well, not quite. There’s actually an art and a science to leveling an RV properly.

Start by Understanding the Different Leveling Systems

Before we get into the step-by-step process, it’s helpful to understand the different leveling systems available on RVs. This will determine the equipment you need and process you’ll follow. There are three main types:


Many motorhomes and some trailers are equipped with hydraulic or electric jacks that are permanently attached and wired into the RV’s electrical system. These are typically controlled from a panel inside the RV.

Leveling Blocks

Leveling blocks (also called lynx levelers) are square or pyramid-shaped plastic or laminated blocks that are placed under the tires to raise the RV. These are manually placed and removed.


High-end RVs often have an auto-leveling system that requires the push of a button to automatically deploy the jacks and level the RV.

Knowing which system you have will determine the steps you’ll take. I’ll go through the process for both jacks and leveling blocks since those are the most common.

Pick a Site with a Reasonably Level Surface

Your first step is choosing an RV site that is as level as possible to start with. Scope it out before pulling in. Avoid sites with a major side-to-side slope or front-to-back rake. While leveling blocks can accommodate uneven terrain, you don’t want to start with extremes.

  • Try to pick a pad that’s flat and appears fairly level visually.
  • If boondocking, look for a spot that’s relatively flat without major dips and rises.

This will make getting your RV perfectly level much easier.

Position the RV Straight on the Site

Once you’ve pulled onto your site, ensure you’ve parked the RV straight and have enough room on all sides to access the jacks and tires.

  • Pull in straight and center the RV on the pad as much as possible.
  • Make sure you aren’t at an angle or crooked on the site.

It’s very difficult to level an RV that isn’t positioned straight.

Use Wheel Chocks for Safety

Before leveling, place wheel chocks or blocks in front and behind the RV’s tires to prevent any rolling or shifting during the process.

  • Chocks help stabilize the RV and keep the tires from moving once lifted off the ground.
  • Make sure the chocks fit snugly against the tires – they do no good if they can slide out!

These are an important safety measure, so don’t skip this vital step.

Time to Start Leveling!

Now comes the fun part – actually leveling your home on wheels. I’ll go through the process for both jacks and leveling blocks.

If Using Jacks

Follow this sequence if your RV is equipped with built-in hydraulic or electric jacks:

  1. Lower the stabilizing jacks. These are located along the frame and should touch down lightly on the ground. They stabilize the RV once it’s level.
  2. Extend the tongue jack at the front hitch if leveling a trailer. Lower it until it just lifts the weight off the hitch.
  3. Extend the rear jacks to lift the back end slightly higher than level. This will allow some drop once the front jacks are down.
  4. Extend the front jacks and adjust the rear jacks until the RV is level front-to-back.
  5. Check the side-to-side levelness and adjust the side jacks accordingly.
  6. Adjust all jacks in small increments until the RV is perfectly level.

Make sure you extend jacks fully for stability and retract before driving away!

If Using Leveling Blocks

If your RV doesn’t have built-in jacks, follow this process to use leveling blocks:

  1. Choose a reference point. This is where you’ll place the level to check for levelness. The floor is a good spot.
  2. Place blocks under the front tires until the front is slightly higher than level. This will allow the RV to settle once the back is lifted.
  3. Stack blocks under the rear tires until the reference point is level front-to-back when checked with a bubble level.
  4. Check side-to-side and adjust with stacked blocks under the low side tires until level.
  5. Make final small adjustments with smaller blocks to fine-tune level.

Always pull off blocks carefully when leaving to avoid damaging your RV.

Use a Bubble Level to Confirm

Regardless of which method you use to level your RV, confirm it’s perfectly level by placing a small bubble level on a flat surface like the floor or counter top. Check the readings on the level in multiple spots to ensure the RV didn’t settle and is still level after any adjustments.

  • Place the level in the center of the RV near the front, back, and sides.
  • Verify the bubble rests evenly between the lines on all sides.

Keep a bubble level handy and check the RV occasionally for any shifting while occupied.

Consider a Digital Leveling System

For next-level convenience, I highly recommend investing in an automatic digital leveling system like the Lippert Level Up. This uses a control pad, sensors, and electric motors to level the RV at the touch of a button.

While pricier, it eliminates the guesswork and makes leveling fast and foolproof. Other advantages:

  • Levels front-to-back and side-to-side automatically
  • Works much faster than manual leveling
  • Can self-store at pre-set ride height
  • Features an auto re-hitch function
  • Levels even on unlevel sites by independently adjusting jacks

If you hate leveling your RV manually, this type of system is a game-changer!

Level Both Side-to-Side and Front-to-Back

Leveling an RV isn’t only about getting it flat front-to-back. The side-to-side level is equally important for comfort and appliance operation.

  • A slope side-to-side will cause uneven floors and discomfort sleeping.
  • Appliances like refrigerators require being as close to level as possible to function properly.

So make sure to check both the front-to-back and side-to-side orientation when leveling. Get it as close to perfectly level in all directions as you can.

Allow the RV to Settle Before Checking Level

Here’s a rookie mistake to avoid – assuming your RV is perfectly level immediately after lifting and adjusting the jacks or blocks. What happens is, as the weight settles, the RV will likely drop slightly, throwing off the level.

  • After lifting on the jacks or blocks, let the RV settle for 5-10 minutes.
  • The suspension will compress and the RV will drop down a bit in most cases.

Once it’s done settling, then recheck and adjust the level if needed. This prevents you from having to re-level later.

Use Leveling Block Add-Ons for Stability

Standard leveling blocks work well to lift the RV, but they can shift or topple over if you aren’t careful getting in and out of the RV. To add stability, I recommend adding accessories like the Camco Stack Jacks or Lynx Levelers Jack Pads.

These are designed to clip or strap onto the top of leveling blocks and have a wide, flat pad that extends under the jack or tire. This prevents any wobbling or shifting of the blocks that could lead to an unlevel RV. Definitely add them to your tool kit.

Use Your Tongue Jack Properly on Trailers

If leveling a trailer, proper use of the tongue jack is important for stability and preventing damage.

  • Lower the tongue jack until it begins lifting the trailer coupler.
  • Do NOT lift the trailer completely off the hitch with the jack.
  • Just raise it enough to take the weight off the vehicle.

Over-extending the tongue jack can bend or damage it and create safety issues. Knowing its proper use will prevent headaches.

Keep All Tires on the Ground If Possible

You’ll get the most stable base when leveling if you can get all tires or jacks planted on the ground, even if on blocks. This provides the most contact points and minimizes shifting.

  • Avoid lifting any single tire completely off the ground if possible.
  • Stack blocks to maximize tire contact and NEVER fully lift both tires on one side.

Think about the RV’s center of gravity and stability as you lift and support it. Keeping all tires grounded is ideal.

Use Blocks or Jack Pads Under Jacks

When extending landing jacks or stabilizing jacks, avoid just setting them right on the bare ground which can cause them to sink or lean over time.

  • Place a solid jack pad or stack of leveling blocks under jacks for support.
  • This prevents jacks from twisting or digging into soft ground.

It also gives jacks a wider, more stable base as their weight pushes down. Properly support those jacks!

Check Your Work Before Enjoying Camp

You just got your RV perfectly level, pulled in the slides, and are ready to kick back… but not so fast! Before relaxing, take these final steps:

  • Verify all jacks or blocks are placed safely away from tires and on solid bases.
  • Confirm the RV is still level in all directions after settling.
  • Make sure slide-outs, doors, and bay compartments open and close easily with the RV level.
  • Ensure appliances are functioning properly now that the RV is level.

Only once you’ve double-checked everything is good to go can you comfortably enjoy your camp. But it’s worth the extra diligence to ensure your RV stays secure.

Take it slow, be meticulous, and avoid rookie mistakes like lifting too high or forgetting to settle. Investing in quality equipment like automatic levels or stabilizing jack pads can make the job even easier.

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